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Lewes, Delaware
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November 8, 2002     Cape Gazette
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November 8, 2002

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-1- CAPE LIFE CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Nov.8 - Nov. 14, 2002 - 27 I Lore of shipwrec]ks, treasure topic in Lewes Tankards and bottles and ship's bells and fittings. Clay shards and china and coins, jars and rigging. Finds from the deep once elonging to kings. These are a few of my favorite things... If he could put his enthusiasm for maritime history into song, Dale Clifton would probably include lyrics such as these to recite what he regards as his "favorite things." Clifton, an inveterate treasure hunter and devoted maritime his- torian, will be the featured speak- er at the Friday, Nov. 15, meeting of the Lewes Historical Society. His presentation, "'Shipwrecks of the Delaware Coast" will fi)cus on three key shipwrecks that have inspired his quest to unravel the mystery and history of shipwreck lore along the Atlantic and beyond. The meeting begins at 8 p.m. at St. Peter's Parish Hall on Mulberry Street between Second and Third streets in Lewes. According to Clifton, a Milton native, the shoaling Delaware coastline claimed hundreds of sailing vessels over a 300-year period from the early 17th century to the turn of the 20th century. From these disasters. Clifton has amassed a collection of maritime artithcts and developed a wealth of maritime history that is the tbcus of his Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick lsland. "'I became interested in the lure of discovering treasure along the one-mile stretch of beach from Indian River Inlet north known as Coin Beach. As a 14-year-old I dreamed of finding a copper coin from the ill-fated Irish ship The Faithful ServantY Eventually he did find one of those copper coins. Today he has more than 200,000 of them. Although these "ballast coins" are not highly prized or valued, Clifton gleans a lot of history from their discovery. "I once dived on a wreck and found a small leather shoe and nearby was a porcelain doll's head. You could speculate that the doll was in the clutches of a small child who per- ished when the ship met its doom. From a historic perspective it was much more valuable than finding gold or jewels." The Shipwreck Museum's exhibits include a wide array of historical artifacts from a silver coin made in 1641 to honor of King Philip of Spain (only three are known to exist) to a camera and film from the RMS Republic which wrecked in 1909. He recovered the film and salvaged three negatives from which he made prints showing the ship's exercise room, dining facilities and the interior of one of the ship's cabins. Clifton waxes enthusiastic when he talks about maritime archeology: "The thrill of discov- ery is so much different than earth-based digs because when an archeologist unearths an artifact it is usually layered by generations of activity and a diversity of cul- tures." He says that "with mar- sobmmsd photo Dale Clifton admires a display at his Shipwrecks Museum in Fenwick Island. Clifton will discuss shipwrecks that have occurred during a $00-year period and have played a signifi- cant role in Delaware's maritime history at the Friday, Nov. 15, meeting of the Lewes Historical Society. His presentation, Shipwrecks of the Delaware Coast,  will focus on three key shipwrecks that have inspired his quest to unravel the mystery and history of shipwreck lore along the Atlantic coast and beyond. The meeting will be held at St. Peter's Parish Hail, Mulberry Street, Lewes, at 8 pz. itime discovery, you often find a time capsule. A moment frozen in time, an event captured forever as it was, when it was. It speaks vol- umes of how folks lived. It reveals their accomplishments, their fail- ures, their culture." The Shipwreck Museum has won wide acclaim including the Delaware Governor's Tourism Award for bringing more than 200,000 visitors a year to the sec- ond story facility atop the Sea Shell Shop. Clifton is an active promoter of maritime history and frequently gives presentations to schools and Elderhostel groups. He spoke previously to the Lewes Historical Society prior to estab- lishing his museum and later spoke to the group about the restored Indian River Life Saving Station on Route One north of the Indian River Inlet. He will use a variety of artifacts to illustrate his talk. The public is invited to attend the presentation. Light refresh- ments will be served following the meeting. For information please contact the Lewes Historical Society at 645-7670. The younger they are the more dangerous they are With all that's going on in the world today, parents have a lot to be anxious about when it comes to thinking about tile future genera- tions of children. Every day they hear or read about ten'orists, a shaky economy, natural disasters, snipers, drugs and the worst of all, political can- didates dragged out of retirement clutching their Metamucil and being voted back into the Senate. And yet with all of this on a par- cat's mind, their biggest fear appears around this time of year, namely the dreaded parent- teacher conference at their child's school. It's not that parents are disinterested in what their chil- dren are doing, it's jr,st that they are well aware of what their chil- dren are doing. In other words, they almost know too much. To compound that with a sit down with a third AROUND TOWN Nancy Katz party, such as a teacher, is like looking forward to having railroad spikes driven through their eye- balls. One would think that the more difficult meeting between parents and teachers would be during the teen years, when the children are juniors or seniors in high school. After all, neither the teacher nor the parent could probably pick the right pupil or child out of a police line-up anyway, since this is the most elusive age group around. Again, it's not that the parents are disinterested but they have accept- ed a long time ago that teenagers are: a blur that hibernates in their room; a room that sends out sound waves loud enough for the furni- ture to levitate as in a scene from "The Exorcist." No one wants to open that door. Besides, since teenagers rarely change their underwear or clothes, it will be months before you find the notice. No, the ones you have to watch out for at a parent-teacher confer- ence are the kids that are in kindergarten or first grade age. This is the tell-all group. Whatever goes on in the privacy of your home will be sung like a canary in front of the class even if it is not true. It's a group that spawns young little girls who become future drama queens. It's an age that promotes future athletes in little boys that use casts and splints as baseball bats and school bus weapons. Trust me, if your child has reached this age and doesn't have a cast, save yourself some time and just go to the emergency room and have one put somewhere on his body. This age group wields more influence and power than the head of the United Nations. And it all spills out at a parent teacher con- ference. For instance, a child might tell his teacher that his daddy drinks a case of beer, is Chinese and beats the dog with a broom. In reality, the dad comes home has a beer, orders out for Chinese food and lets the dog out. Try to explain that to someone who has been teaching as long as the newspaper on your kitchen shelves still reads, "Dewey beat Truman." It's no wonder that the teacher asks you to sit at the small desk when you enter. She's heard first hand from your child that he or she lives in a cardboard box at the end of an alley and is forced to eat things like bark for dinner. This kind of stuff never both- ered my parents though. I went to a Catholic school and after endur- ing months of spitballs, beating each other senseless with phone books and other shenanigans, the nuns, upon hearing the tall tales of life in a box, truly understood there was a GOd. They never men- tioned a word to our parents. Amen.