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Making History Again

Fifty-five days on a ship that measures approximately 25 feet wide by 106 feet long may not sound like a luxury cruise, but for 17-year-old Joe Meany, it was the trip of a lifetime. One that bore repeating. Meany, a 1961 graduate of the Department of Electrical Engineering, was part of the original crew when the Mayflower II began its voyage from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Mass., in 1957. In July 2007, he joined seven of the eight surviving members of that crew — Fred Edwards, Michael Ford, Joe Meany, Peter Padfield, Joseph Powell, Adrian Small, David Thorpe, and John Winslow — in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower II in Plymouth Harbor.

Meany was a high school student when he first served aboard the ship. He had never sailed before, but earned the position of cabin boy by winning the top prize for citizenry from the Boys Club of America earlier that year. His duties included working the rigging, manning the wheel, and making sure that senior crew members were fed ... on time.

The trip was a life-changing event for him in more than one way. In addition to making the historic voyage, he “graduated” on board, celebrating his commencement with the crew in a makeshift cap and gown. He met then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon and appeared on the television show “I’ve Got a Secret.” He also received a full scholarship offer from the University of Notre Dame, which he accepted. Today, he is a retired product manager for Digital Corporation and lives in Marlborough, Mass.


Joe Meany, now 67, was a guest aboard the Mayflower II when she sailed into Cape Cod Bay as part of the ship’s golden anniversary celebration in July 2007.

Photos courtsey of Wesley Ennis, The Daily News Tribune, and Plimoth Plantation.