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West Chop Lighthouse.
Please CLICK HERE to read about my friend Seamond Roberts whose father was the last lighthousekeeper at West Chop.
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
This is the house of my childhood summers.
Awhile back I wrote about the house in a short, very short story (Click here to read it)
They say you can’t go home again. I say, pish tosh, you can but you won’t always find things have stayed the same as you remember. Unless… you do !!
Years ago when I was driving past I saw a young woman on the porch. Something made me stop the car and get out to speak with her. She was pleasant and seemed interested when I said that more than 50 years ago I had spent all my summers there with my family. We chatted for a bit and then she asked me if I’d like to come inside !
Would I ever. But, was I prepared to step back into my childhood … would I be disappointed or pleased ! Even though the rooms had somehow become smaller the house was a lot like I had remembered it.
Memories came rushing back like mini-tidal waves… it must have been the familiar smell of the house that evoked them. They say the sense of smell is the strongest memory inducer and I agree. The kitchen was pretty much the same, the original sink was still there. The screen door out to the yard still creaked… I wonder if they’re deliberately ‘built in’ to screen doors!
I felt my heart quicken as I started up the stairs to the second floor where the bedrooms all were. You know how sometimes you just know something great is going to happen. It did.
The same exact wrought iron beds were STILL in the same bedrooms. A-maz-ing, just really blew me away. Wow. As I headed down the hall to the room that had been mine I glanced into the bathroom… yup, clawfoot tub, slanted floor, low ceiling that my 6’2 father bumped his head on every single morning.
My room was at the back of the house just off the upstairs back porch. It was small, only room for a twin size bed, a small dresser and a chair but lots of room for dreaming and thinking about the future.
On this porch my girl friend Jackie Robinson and I used to put on shows and play dress up. ( By the way, I didn’t know until I was much older that there was ANOTHER Jackie Robinson). On this porch was a glider where I spent many hours reading, watching hummingbirds and gliding back and forth. On this porch we played board games and drank lemonade. On this porch we watched the sky darken and the stars come out. On this porch and in this house…summer happened.
My friend Will Jones and I were always looking for things to keep us busy and out of trouble during our summers on MV. Someone showed me how to make little flowers by using yarn and forks… I immediately showed Will. We set about our tasks, me at my house, he at his.
The next morning Will’s mom called my mom asking if he was at my house ? Seems she went looking for a fork and couldn’t find any !!! A few moment later Will was at my door, and yes, he had all his mother’s forks with him and they were filled with yarn. Seems I had neglected to show him how to get the yarn off the forks to make the little flowers…
Will had carried those forks from his house way on the other side of Oak Bluffs …
up Circuit Ave …
(Will’s mom – my mom)
Our moms were childhood friends, as were Will and I. Our moms graduated from Oak Bluffs High School together (long before the regional high school was built). Our moms moved to Newark, NJ after graduation and it was there that they met their future husbands, our dads, who were also childhood friends. ( In 1907 Will’s mom, Bertha Carter, was the first child born in Oak Bluffs after its name change from Cottage City.)
(my dad – Will’s dad)
Will and I spent every day of the summer together. We went swimming, rode the Flying Horses, read, drove our parents crazy and were inseparable. For many years his parents owned a bowling alley in Oak Bluffs across from the Flying Horses. Long before automation the pins had to be set by hand, I even did it from time to time myself.
Being a summer kid on the Vineyard was the best thing in the world… it still is.
Will is older than I am by 18 days and I never let him forget it. We still see each other from time to time and talk a lot about our childhoods on the Vineyard.
A smattering of pictures from 1993, 2001 and 2005, the three times I’ve been to the Christmas In Edgartown weekends.
1984 Ocean Park 2010
1990′s Oak Bluffs wharf 2010
1980′s Old Sculpin Gallery 2005
1980′s Trinity Methodist Church – Campground 2010
1984 Oak Bluffs 2010
And then there’s this picture of Ocean Park in 1987… look closely at the house in the background to the right of the Bandstand…
…below is a close up although it’s a bit fuzzy. That is the CORBIN-NORTON house before it was lovingly restored to…
…its original splendor by Peter Norton. Twice !
The original restoration was finished in the 1990′s and then in Februay of 2001 it burned to the ground.
Like the Phoenix, it rose from the ashes and is again the grand dame of Ocean Park.
Do you know which picture is NOT on the Vineyard?