MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography.. life in general and this and that…


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Illumination Night On The Vineyard…

Illumination Night this year is Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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It has always been my favorite event of the summer… going to Illumination Night is a thrill for me no matter what my age.

 

I think I was 2 and 1/2 the first time I went to Illumination Night.  I’m embarrassed to say that even with my annoyingly good memory, I don’t remember it. My first memory of Illumination Night involves wearing a particularly pretty dress so I’m thinking I was around three or four, which would have been around 1946.

My dad, mom, god-mother and I would have an early supper and then walk to the Campground. My dad and I would stroll around looking at all the beautifully decorated gingerbread houses while my mother and god-mother would chat with friends and relatives.

 

 

At 8 o’clock the Vineyard Haven Band would begin playing and the always fun community sing would start. Patriotic songs like, America The Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, Battle Hymn of the Republic are always stirring and emotional. It took me a couple of years to learn the words to all the songs and I still get messed up on a couple of the rounds like John Brown’s Baby. The band playing the Star Spangled Banner and the rousing Stars and Stripes Forever are always a crowd pleaser.

But as much fun as that was it was only a precursor to the main event. The Tabernacle and Campground go dark… the crowd cheers. The lighting of the first lantern and then all the gingerbread houses are simultaneously aglow with Japanese lanterns.

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Everyone oohs and ahhs and stream out of the Tabernacle to walk through the magical fairyland the Campground has become. My dad would carry me on his shoulders so I could see everything… I felt like I could touch the stars.

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After seeing all there was to see we’d head out onto Circuit Ave to either the Frosty Cottage for ice cream or Darling’s for popcorn, a tasty ending to a perfectly enchanting night.

No matter your age, Illumination Night is fun for everyone, I myself morph into an 8 year old.

  Illumination Night as described in the Vineyard Gazette:

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If you’re on the Vineyard this Wed, Aug 16, 2017 you should go and experience Illumination Night.  101_3011

 

 


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction…

This week, share a photo of something that brings you satisfaction.

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I thought about this for awhile and although there are quite a few things that bring me satisfaction on a regular basis I decided to post on something I did that brought me extreme satisfaction because I only did it once… and probably won’t do it again.  It wasn’t anything exciting or daring, like skydiving, no, it was simply baking a cake for my daughter’s birthday a few years ago FROM SCRATCH.  I’m not a baker even in the loosest sense of the word so this was to me a big accomplishment.   Just so I had proof that I did it I took pictures along the way and turned them into a blog post.

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I Can Bake ! …

November 7, 2014

It took me 51 years but I finally made a cake from scratch.  Why did it take this long?  I’m not sure… laziness, thought it was too hard or time consuming… I could think of a lot of excuses.. and did.

For my daughter Deb’s recent birthday and I wanted to surprise her with something she would not expect… and a homemade cake would definitely be that.

So, I gathered my stuff together and began my new experience.

This ‘new picture’ Betty Crocker Cook Book by the way isn’t all that new.  It was given to me by my dad 51 years ago.  You can tell by the loose binding that it has been used, even by me from time to time.

 

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I decided to make a pound cake in a bundt pan.

I mixed all ingredients, well, except for one which I couldn’t find in the pantry and figured it wasn’t all that important … how much of a difference could a tsp of baking powder make anyway.   Whirr, whirr, scrape, pour… it was actually looking pretty good… I felt encouraged.

 I even melted some chocolate to add to the pound cake…  thought it would give it some oomph and who doesn’t like at least of dash of chocolate in a cake.

Got the cake in the pan and polished off what was left of my coffee…by then I was exhausted.

My creation

I only peeked at the cake once during the hour it was in the oven.  It was rising and browning so I was encouraged.    Tah dah… it was done… now to see if it would come out of the cake pan in one piece !  Tah dah again… yay… it did.   Applause, applause.

Look at that, isn’t it beautiful…. see how happy and pleased I am with myself.

My creation

It was another hour or so until Debbie came home… it was hard for me to control my anxiety.  I knew she’d be surprised but would she like it ?  Time would tell.

She did look surprised.   A beautiful cake yet to be tasted but certainly making a good impression.  Looks like a birthday cake now that it had candles on it.   And finally, the taste test !  The consensus was that it was good… maybe could have been a little taller but I like to think of it as a petite pound cake.

My creationIt was a success and, don’t tell anyone, but I might even do it again.  I said might 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/satisfaction/

 

 

 


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Vineyard Friendships…

Vineyard stories about friends…

Let’s begin with the two friends who pretty much started the Vineyard connection in my family.  My mother Maude Freeman (on right) and her best friend Bertha Carter Jones (on left).

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Childhood friends on the Vineyard, they graduated in 1926 from Oak Bluffs High School (pre-regional high school).  After graduation they moved to Newark, NJ and it was there that they met their future husbands.. who were also childhood friends.

My dad Al Freeman on the left, Bill Jones on the right.

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They grew up together in Newark, NJ and remained friends their entire lives.  The best times they had were on the Vineyard when both of our families were there for the entire summer.

For many years Bertha & Bill Jones owned a bowling alley in Oak Bluffs across from the Flying Horses.  They did not have automated pin setters so the pins had to be set by hand, I even did it from time to time myself.

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Then along came Will Jones and me… not only best friends because our parents were but because we knew each other from early childhood.  How early you wonder ?  We were only a few months old when we met,  Will is a month older than me by the way and I never let him forget it… even now 🙂

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The above picture has to be around 1947 or 48, it was during the month or so that I was taller than Will.

 

Will and I were always looking for things to keep us busy and out of trouble.  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 minutes 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 ow to get the yarn off the forks to make the little flowers.Oopsie.

Will had carried those forks from his house on the other side of Oak Bluffs by the harbor.. up Circuit Ave to my house where we freed his mother’s forks of their yarn.  I have no recollection of what we did with the yarn flowers.

 

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Last but not least, my daughter Deb and her best friend of 42 years, Dawn Green.

 Dawn & Deb, July 1984 (Falmouth, Ma)

                                         Dawn and Deb, May 2017 (Cape May, NJ)

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In July 1984 I took the girls to Martha’s Vineyard, just the three of us.  The trip was a new experience in that I’d never been away alone with two teenagers and I had never driven to MV by myself.

We did a lot of things together but the girls also spent time doing their own things while I did mine.  It was a nice mix to togetherness and apartness (is that even a word)!

 

Aquinnah to see the cliffs.

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Out for fancy dinner one night.

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One incident that sticks out in my mind is dinner one night at the Wharf Pub & Restaurant in Edgartown.  We ate early and the restaurant was almost empty.  We were in the middle of our meal when our waitress came over and said…”you might want to eat slowly as Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley are on their way in and I thought the girls might get a kick out of seeing them!”  THE GIRLS… forget the girls, I was the one getting all excited. So we nibbled and waited and waited and waited and then THEY walked past the window next to our table and entered the restaurant.  As we left the restaurant and walked past their table Billy Joel smiled and waved at us.  We giggled all the way back to the hotel.

Whether with family or friends, Vineyard memories are always extra special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Remembering My Great-Grandfather…

On this Memorial Day I am remembering my great grandfather, Joseph P Littlefield

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The following is copied from post my daughter Deb wrote … I couldn’t have said it better.

“Remembering: JOSEPH P. LITTLEFIELD of Rome, Maine. 40-years-old and father of eight children, my great-great-grandfather joined the Union army in the summer of 1864, just as the Civil War was grinding to its bitter, violent end. He was in Company C of the 9th Maine Regt, and badly wounded in the battle of Cold Harbor, shot through his left hand into his lower back. He was sent back home to Maine where he died two months later on 30 Sep 1864. According to his 24-year-old doctor, he died of “Typhoidal Pneumonia induced by wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness, VA … the deceased soldier came to this death by reason of disease induced by a wound through the hand, contusion in his back, and subsequent exposure and fatigue in the field of battle, causing fever or “Typhoidal Pneumonia” from which he never recovered.” The pain must have been horrible.

Worse, adding insult to grievous injury, within a month of Joseph’s death, his wife and three oldest children also died, presumably from Typhoid or some other contagious fever. This left my 10-year-old great-grandfather Charles Littlefield the oldest of the five remaining children. I know how desperate both sides of the Civil War were by 1864 for men, but the idea that a 40-year old father of eight would sign up is appalling. And the fact that he not only died—horrible, but not unexpected for a soldier–but that he took his wife and three of his children with him?”

On this Memorial Day, remembering all who gave their lives for our country.


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Memorial Day 2017…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

On my mother’s side of the family, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield  fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds.  He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864.  He was sent home to Maine to die.  He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine.  Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.

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Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey,  where, on my father’s side of the family my great great paternal grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried.  Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862.  He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.

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Civil War monument in Fairmont Cemetery…

Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.

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Mothers and Grandmothers…

Happy Mother’s Day

       My mother & grandmother.   Me and my mother.    Me and my girls

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Me with my girls now… Patty and Debbie

Along came grandmahood via Patty with my two grands… Tiffany and Tyler

Tiffany 1989                                 Tyler 1993

Now

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But let’s back track just a bit to my mother who I am remembering on this Mother’s Day, Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman.

Born in Waterville, Maine

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard

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my mother and grandmother – Oak Bluffs 1924

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After high school she moved to New Jersey and married a Jersey boy…

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and had a Jersey girl (me)…

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The next to the last Mother’s Day I spent with my mom was May 1975. My parents were vacationing on the Cape and she was unaware that we were driving there to surprise her for the weekend. I gave her the book ‘Mostly On Martha’s Vineyard, A Personal Record’ by Henry Beetle Hough, as I knew she’d know some of the people mentioned in the book. I am so glad I did that because after reading the book she decided she wanted to sail over to the Vineyard to visit her mother’s grave. It turned out be her last trip to her beloved Vineyard.

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I never knew my grandmother, my mother’s mother, she died before my parents were married and I was born, but I’ve always felt a closeness to her through stories my mom would tell me about her and also the essence of her I feel when I’m on the Vineyard. She is buried on the Vineyard and I visit her every time I’m there.

Chances are she might have visited me a few years ago !!!!  Read on…

Here’s an excerpt from a post I did about the ‘spirits’ of my mother and grandmother.

100_0175    On the very haunted island of Martha’s Vineyard.. in the town of Oak Bluffs.. in a restored Victorian home was a restaurant called The Sweet Life Cafe.   In this house in the 1930′s lived a daughter and her mother.   In this house the mother passed away.   That woman was my grandmother and the daughter was my mother.

 A few years ago my daughter Deb and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Sweet Life Cafe… we’d never eaten there but felt the time was right.   It was around 5 o’clock on a beautiful cloudless and breezeless May evening so we opted to sit on the patio in the garden as it was empty and peaceful.   We had a glass of wine and settled back to talk about our day and enjoy the pretty surroundings.   The tables were beautifully laid out and each had on it a small hurricane lamp with a candle in it.  We looked around and noticed that the candles on all the tables but ours were lit!   Our waitress re-lit ours.   The candle went out.   Again she lit it.  Again it went out.   She came back with a new candle.  Again out it went.   Again she re-lit it to no avail.  My daughter and I joked that our grandmothers were joining us and were definitely in a playful mood.

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Later that evening as my daughter and I were passing by the restaurant we looked in at the patio……   the candle on the table we had been sitting at was burning brightly !!

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