Sunday, April 11, 2010

indiana jon and the case of the exploding sculpture

i got to dig out my whip and play indiana jon for today's front-page herald article, 'explosion sculpture's pieces scattered.' an acquaintance invited me out for a coffee about a month ago and told me about the missing sculpture. i went from mild interest to riveted before i'd had my first sip of coffee. my acquaintance pointed me in the right directions and i spent the next month finding people who knew where the broken pieces were and arranging to go see them.

i've loaded a couple of pics here that the herald didn't have space for. the davit is in the hands of dan conlin at the maritime museum of the atlantic. i've interviewed dan a few times over the years and always enjoy it. he's very smart and has an internet-like wealth of knowledge about maritime history. i met him in the 1750s, in louisbourgh - i joined a group of reenactors there a couple of years ago and we drank wassail deep into the night.

the other pic is of the bits and pieces stored in the basement of the north-end library. the dust on the floor was deep and i left with a brown film on my shoes, knees and bags, accrued as i tried to stick my head into the pile without triggering an avalanche.

i also got to interview janet kitz for the article. i read every word she wrote about the explosion when researching black snow, but this was the first time i'd actually spoken to her.

i also interviewed david freeman, whose family originally owned the mont-blanc fragment in the sculpture. he told a great story about how his mother, then about 18, was in the barn with her pony magic when the blast hit. she and magic were blown to opposite ends of the barn, but both survived. her family had to hang curtains in their windsor-street home windows to keep the blizzard out. tommy sees that in bs, but it was quite something to hear a first-hand account.

i have ideas for follow up articles - hopefully, the pieces will be gathered together in the near future and there are a couple of possibly new homes for all or some of the piece. there are also other bonet works in the city, and i'd like to find out more about them. stay tuned.
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