MV Obsession

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


3 Comments

My One Vineyard Christmas…

101_1235 (2)

I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard around Christmastime many times but to my recollection there is only one time in my life that I actually spent Christmas on the Vineyard. I was probably around 5 or 6 and my mother and I went to MV to be with my godparents.

101_1243

 

101_1244  101_1245

 

Edward and Gertrude Norris (Nana and Pop) were my godparents. They lived part of the year in their house in Oak Bluffs which is where I spent my childhood summers. The other part of the year they lived in Newark, NJ downstairs in the same house we lived in. They were the most important people in my life besides my parents. They never had children of their own and they thought of us as their family. When my mother graduated from high school on MV she moved to Newark, NJ to live with them and to find work.

One Christmas, in the early 1950’s, when Nana and Pop were elderly, having health problems and living year round on the Vineyard and missing us, my mother decided she and I should go and spend Christmas with them. I was too young to realize this might be the last Christmas for one or both of them, all I knew was that I was going to wake up Christmas morning ON THE VINEYARD. How great would that be. The only glitch was that my dad couldn’t get off work to come with us but he insisted we go. Talk about being torn.

DSC_0204

I seem to remember there was a dusting of snow on Christmas morning… even if there wasn’t I like to think there was.  There were presents… one in particular I remember because I asked for it every year. A nurses kit. It was a white square box with a red cross on the side. Inside were band-aids, gauze bandages, a wooden thermomenter and a stethescope, a name tag… and the most important article.. a nurses cap. I spent the most of the morning bandaging people up whether they wanted to be or not.

All of a sudden I heard a faint knock on the front door !! I ran to open it and let out a shriek… it was my dad standing there with a big smile and a shirt box. A shirt box !! Yes indeed that’s all he had with him. No suitcase. No duffle bag. Just a shirt box with a couple of clean shirts and other essentials inside it. He liked to travel light.

It turned out to be one of the most wonderful Christmases of my childhood.

I am blessed to have the memories of that one Christmas on Martha’s Vineyard and of Nana and Pop, two people who were such an important part of my life.

100_7377

….and happy holiday memories to all. ❤


6 Comments

Our Santa…

 

imageedit_49_4674214433

My dad was a police officer in Newark, NJ.  For many of his years on the force he worked in the Emergency Squad division.  During the long hours between calls the guys would keep themselves busy in various ways like cooking.  Near the Christmas holidays they always came up with a special project, like candle making for instance.

In 1956 they made Santas.  I still have ours.  Santa stands about 3 and 1/2 feet tall and is made from press board. After the outline was drawn the guys cut out the Santas and my dad set to work drawing the features, clothing and bag of toys.  At that point our Santa came home and my mother and I painted him.  I’m not sure how many coats of paint we used but Santa was spread out on our kitchen table for about a week before he was completely dry.  I don’t know what kind of paint we used either but here it is 61 years later and he’s not chipped or faded.  This was the only time I ever remember the three of us doing a family project together.

I love everything about this Santa, even the buttons being on the wrong side… but the thing I love the most is that he looks like my dad… a self portrait so to speak.

My creation

Below is my daughter Patty age 2 and 1/2 in 1966…

101_3819

… and then her daughter (my granddaughter) Tiffany age 2 and 1/2 in 1991.

101_3817

Here’s to Christmas memories ❤


10 Comments

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).

100_0668

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.

100_0675100_0673

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.

100_4910

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 🙂

100_0670

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.

 

DSC_0203

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)

IMG_3785

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.

100_4391

Out for fancy dinner one night.

100_4392

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2 Comments

Remembering My Great-Grandfather…

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

imageedit_8_8909398224

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.


3 Comments

Mothers and Grandmothers…

Happy Mother’s Day

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

pizap.com14624038098161

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

100_5838

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

100_8377

100_1286

101_4467

Raised on Martha’s Vineyard

100_1280 100_1287

my mother and grandmother – Oak Bluffs 1924

100_1293

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

867a4442074a2ebf4e670ea806af99c98eb8a57b

and had a Jersey girl (me)…

100_9407

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.

100_1300100_1301

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.

101_4722101_4723

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 !!

101_3103


7 Comments

Chappy 2001…

It’s only been 4 months since we lost Chappy in April 2016 but today, Aug 25 of 2001 is fresh in our memories.

101_2838

15 years ago today, Aug 25, 2001, Chappy came home to NJ to live with us.

It was a dark and stormy night… no wait, that’s another story.   It was actually a beautiful sunny, white puffy cloud, mild August day when Deb (his mom), and I traveled to Kittanning, PA to pick him up.   We had been there two weeks prior to look over the litter of new Boykin Spaniel puppies and to sort of reserve the one that would be coming home with us today.    We thought it went well, Deb chose the future Chappy and the breeder put a red mark inside his ear… he has since been referred to by us as… yes, red ear.

In the two week interim preparations were made for Chappy’s arrival… bedding, toys, food & water dishes, toys, crate, pillows, toys… you get the picture.

So off Deb and I went on Friday, Aug 24th to drive the 6 hours to Kittanning, spend the night and then pick red ear, oops, Chappy up in the morning.   Deb had spent the day at work  being anxious to get the day over with and get on the road.  Deb didn’t feel well that night, stress, the long drive, the anxiety of picking up Chappy, it all took a toll.   Soon morning rolled around and after a quick breakfast off to the breeder’s we headed.

The puppies were awake and adorable, they were playing and yipping and being all sorts of cute.

100_6770

Except one…. he was off to the side looking all unsure of everything… yes… it was indeed ‘red ear’…. oh dear.

100_6769

The breeder told Deb she was not under any obligation to take him as he wasn’t sure this puppy was adoptable at the time.    And that’s when I saw my daughter fall apart.    We thought we had it all worked out and would walk in, pick up the future Chappy and leave, well it wasn’t going to be that easy.

In the meantime other folks were coming in to pick out puppies and to be honest it was quite annoying that they would pick one up… look at it… say yes or no and be off.  How were they doing that… was there some kind of pup-telepathy that we didn’t have ?

As we stood there and mulled over the situation two of the puppies scampered over to us and pretty much wore themselves out vying to be Deb’s choice.

100_6772

I knew pretty much right off the bat which one I would choose and I really tried to hide my choice from Deb and let her make her own decision.   She says she could read on my face which one I liked best and I’m sure she could.   She was so distraught that at one point I blurted out that she could bring both of them home !!!

And so the competition continued… Mr Personality vs Mr Adorable.  Mr Personality was sleek and energetic and was quite lovable.  Mr Adorable was fuzzier faced and a little smooshed nosed and also energetic and lovable.

Which one did Deb choose, or rather who chose her.  Why it was Chappy of course, or formerly known as… Mr Adorable.  By the way, he was my choice from the very beginning… just saying.

100_6773

Chappy saying good-by to his parents Buddy & Tawny.  He looks a lot like his mom and has her sweet personality.

100_6774

With the traumatic morning behind us we headed on our 6 hour trip home.  Chappy slept in Deb’s lap for most of the ride only awakening when big scary trucks rumbled past or when we stopped for food or gas.  We also stopped at McDonald’s where he caused quite a commotion with his cuteness.

100_6777

100_6776

At long last we were home and settling in very nicely with family and toys.

100_6780

100_6782

I love this picture…

100_6781

and this one 12 years later in 2013.

100_5285

Thank you Chappy for being in our lives, we miss you and love you ❤


Leave a comment

Chappaquiddick Lullaby Revisited…

101_0005

I think one of the nicest children’s books about MV is “Chappaquiddick Lullaby – a song of Martha’s Vineyard” by Stacy Elizabeth Hall and illustrated by Judith Pfeiffer.

The book also includes a CD by Kate Taylor and Taylor Brown.

101_0006

The book is basically about the activities and daydreams that children have during the summer. The illustrations are abundant with Island landmarks and places… you need to read the book several times before you’ve picked out everything included in this rich and lovely book.

101_0007

One of the things that drew us to this book is that we had our own Chappaquiddick in the family and when we found out that there was a Chappy song, sung no less by Kate who we, and Chappy, have had the pleasure of meeting… well, we had to have the book.

(P.S… Chappy passed away a few months ago but these precious memories linger on and I’m always happy to share them).

I want to mention Stacy’s first book also…

“The Legend of Katama” is a beautifully told story of Katama, a brave young Wampanoag woman and how she changed her world.

Interestingly this our first dog who was named….. Katama (Katy)… do you see a pattern here:)


1 Comment

Summers On The Vineyard, Part 1…

After arriving on the Vineyard each summer of my childhood one of the first orders of business was going to the Flying Horses the oldest carousel in the United States, they came to the Island in 1884 from Coney Island.DSC_0037

100_2174

The Flying Horses are not a carousel, or a merry-go-round, they don’t go up and down just round and round. They are flying horses, like Pegasus, and fly to wherever you can imagine . They don’t actually have wings, but as you make the first circuit you feel like you’re about to fly out the open windows.

100_2157

 

pikage-JHC37O

I flew on these beautiful horses every day when I was a little girl. The ticket taker was a young man who would never take my tickets ! We tried everything to get him to take them… we brought him candy and cookies and tried slipping the tickets in with them… nothing work. At the end of the summer I said I wanted to buy him a gift, so off my mom and I went to purchase what I thought was a novel idea .. a tie. I was 5 years old, what did I know about buying gifts for men… he, by the way was about 13 but in my eyes he was a grown up. We put the tie in the box with all of summer’s uncollected tickets. As he came around to NOT collect my ticket I handed him the box. He smiled. Ah ha, success… or so I thought. As we were leaving the Flying Horses he came over and thanked us for the tie and as we turned to leave he handed us the tickets. I won’t say who he is, just that he turned out to be an official in Oak Bluffs in later years… and someone I’ve never forgotten.


4 Comments

80 Years Ago…

80 years ago today on June 27, 1936 my parents Maude Louise Littlefield and Joseph Albert (Al) Freeman were married in Baltimore, MD.  They sort of eloped although apparently everyone knew.  Sadly there are no wedding pictures although in my minds eye I have created one.

These are my parents on their 25th anniversary in 1961 and their 30th in 1966

pizap.com14670548080201

And here, for your enjoyment (I hope) the story of my mother’s engagement ring.

This is the beach in Oak Bluffs, this is where we always went when I was growing up. I remember one time in particular when I was there with my parents when I was about three or four years old.

101_3623

101_3622 100_0197

 

101_2849

After playing in the water with my dad and digging in the sand with my mom we started gathering up our blanket and things to leave. All of a sudden my mother gasped and yelled for my father… “my diamond ring is gone” she said in alarm. My dad immediately took charge of the situation by telling me NOT to move, just stay put.  I quickly rushed over to the people nearby and told them my mother had just lost her ring in the sand and my father was going to find it. So much for listening. They, along with other beach goers who had heard me, started to get up to help my father look for the ring. “No” he said.. “don’t walk on the sand, if the sand is disturbed any further the ring will sink lower, I think I might have only one chance to find it.” We all held our breaths as he surveyed the situation and then after what seemed like an eternity (especially to me who was staying still) he scooped up a handful of sand. Miraculously there, shining out from the sand was my mothers diamond engagement ring.

101_4906

I’m still amazed that he found it, how did he know where to look, how had my running through the sand not made it sink lower. I’m sure that ring was being watched over somehow.

101_4905

 

 

 

 

 


15 Comments

Beloved Chappy …

Chappy

July 7, 2001 – April 14, 2016

Boykin Spaniel

pizap.com14606744262941

How do I even begin to write this post about our beloved granddog Chappy.  What can you say about a dog that has been part of your life for nearly 15 years and gave you nothing but love, enjoyment and devotion.  He was wonderful, pure and simple just a dear sweet soul of a dog.

I was with my daughter Deb, the day she picked him up.   He was a little ball of fuzz, not sleek and curly like some of his liter mates but he was charming and cute and determined to come home with us.  Here he is with his liter mates… and saying goodbye to his parents Buddy & Tawny…

pizap.com14606758672421

…and start his life with his mom Deb and a family who adored him.

pizap.com14606772741231

There’s so much I want to say about Chappy and so many, many hundreds of pictures of him I’d like to share but I could never fit it all into one post, or even ten for that matter.

7510099942_bc3d8637ce_z
pizap.com14609149995381

Please take a moment to CLICK HERE and read my daughter Deb’s tribute to her beautiful Chappy.  Thank you.