By: Lorna Hard

Shirley and her husband, the late Guy Nichols, are and were New Englanders. They met at the University of Vermont (UVM), and soon after she graduated, they were married. Asked about her college focus, she chose the classics, Latin and Greek, our origins. The mind is a curious thing, we know. At UVM, Shirley began her lifelong learning that continues to this day. Now, it extends to a literature course at the Longboat Key Education Center.

In their long, busy family life they raised three daughters—Pam, Gail, and Sally—who became Girl Scouts and college graduates and have led productive careers. Now their family line extends to three grandsons, three great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter!

They moved several times within eastern Massachusetts: Worchester, Newton, Needham, Dedham, and Great Barrington, Berkshires (loved it). Her volunteer work led her to commute to Boston, often three times a week, to lead tours as a “Doric” docent. The docents were trained to guide adults and school children in a bit of history, architecture, and how the State House worked, explaining the legislative process. They visited in session and met with their representatives in groups of 10 to 20. Tours through the building lasted about an hour. Shirley tried a grassroots canvassing job for a friend’s campaign, going door to door to get signatures. That candidate was successful, so it was a good experience.

Shirley and her husband contemplated their retirement by taking to the seas, buying at first a day sailer. Gradually, the small boat traded into a bigger and bigger one until they finally could navigate and explore the Caribbean while living aboard the boat. They sailed to Antigua, Martinique, Guadeloupe (she liked French food), and on to the British Virgin Islands. They named their boat, “Song Liner,” after Bruce Chatwin’s book, “The Songlines.” They sailed for three, sometimes four, months each winter for many years! (Another career).

Reluctantly, they sold the boat and bought a house in Vermont. He loved it. She was bored. But few people love the cold winter, so they ventured south to Longboat Key. With the spirit of adventure intact, they retired from their nautical travels. So now, here’s to Shirley and her quest for learning (a fellow Economist subscriber). We are glad you have joined many like-minded land and sea worthy souls in our midst.

Welcome aboard to Plymouth Harbor!