Surely Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh never had to check his own oil. Yet the former airmail pilot insisted upon doing just that during a stopover at the Portland Municipal Airport in Scarborough in 1929, two years after his historic nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. Perhaps he was particularly concerned about his precious cargo on this flight, as his Loening Air Yacht was carrying his fiancee, Anne Morrow, and her family back from their summer home on North Haven Island to New York. The downpours have already created mud puddles, at lower left, at the tiny airstrip and Lindbergh's suit and leather aviator's cap seem quite out of place as he crouches in the rain on the pontoon of his amphibious biplane with a grease-gun.
This remarkable photograph was probably taken in late May, just a few days before Lindbergh and Morrow married in New Jersey and then slipped back to Maine for their honeymoon. Their cruise along the New England coast would be one of the couple's most blissful times. "Today is one of those gorgeous blue Maine days: lots of little white clouds on the horizon, the pine trees sharp and black-green against sea and sky, and between islands, far away, the soft blue of other shores," Morrow Lindbergh wrote in her diary during that trip. But just two sentences later, her tone turns dark when she discusses the paparazzi that would pursue the Lindberghs for the rest of their lives. "They found us again this morning - the terrifying drone of a plane hunting you, and boats. I don't feel angry about it any more - it is inevitable."
Indeed, the Morrow estate on Deacon Brown's Point in Penobscot Bay would prove to be a crucial retreat for the Lindberghs, as they used it to escape the media spotlight while coping with the personal tragedy of losing a son and the public outrage over the aviator's political statements prior to World War II. For whenever Lindy returned to the mainland, either at a muddy airstrip in Scarborough or the more impressive airport in Portland's Stroudwater neighborhood that replaced it a decade later, the cameras found him. The lone eagle, it seems, could be alone no more.