Alice and George Swallow always believed in helping others. The couple from Cundy’s Harbor, a village on Maine’s rocky coast, strongly held the idea that all of God’s creatures on this earth deserved love and affection. George was the chief of the village volunteer fire department, and Alice was on the ladies auxiliary and was the village’s librarian.
One day, when Alice’s brother told them about an orphan who needed a family, the couple gladly opened their home to him. The mother had been found dead by the ocean, and no one claimed the baby. So, he came to live with the Swallows.
They named him Hoover, George later said, because he vacuumed up his food like that eponymous machine.
Hoover grew rapidly, and the couple marveled at his appetite. They loved Hoover, and, as Hoover got older, he also grew to love them. He was especially attached to George, it seemed. The pair became inseparable. George spoke with the accent peculiar to that part of the northeast, and, even as a youngster, Hoover quickly came to imitate George’s brusque, harsh tone. It delighted family and visitors alike to hear one so young speak in a thick nor’easter timbre.
When time came for Hoover to leave home, he moved south to Boston. There, he became somewhat of a celebrity. And the reason he reached celebrity status in the city was that he continued to speak with that same style of intonation that George had. It amazed people that Hoover spoke that way. There are even recordings of Hoover‘s voice, and, if you listen to them, you, too will be amazed. When Hoover passed away at a relatively young age, he was mourned by many, and his obituary appeared in the Boston Globe and in the New Yorker.
You see, it wasn’t only that Hoover spoke with George’s accent. The truly amazing thing to all who met Hoover was that he was a harbor seal.