MV Obsession

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


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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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I love this picture…

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and this one 12 years later in 2013.

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


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Chappaquiddick Lullaby Revisited…

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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.

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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.

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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:)


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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

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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.

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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.


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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Beloved Chappy …

Chappy

July 7, 2001 – April 14, 2016

Boykin Spaniel

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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…

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

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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.

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


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Maude Louise …

My mother, Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman was born in Waterville, Maine on March 11, 1907.

(my mother and her mother Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Grant Baird)

The picture below is one of my most favorite pictures of all time…

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard…

 

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my mother and grandmother at their house on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs, 1924

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After graduating from Oak Bluffs High School in 1926 she moved to Newark, NJ where she met, and married a Jersey boy… Joseph Albert Freeman

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and had a Jersey girl (me)…

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I have posted the above pictures etc several times here on my blog either on my mother’s birthday or on Mother’s Day so why am I doing it again this year ?   During the past several months my daughter Deb and I (90% Deb) have been digging into the ancestry of our family.  I posted back in October 2015 how my mother’s ancestors did indeed come on the first voyage of the Mayflower …. but since then Deb has discovered ancestors on mom’s side all over the place and going back many generations.  She’s also discovered facts about my grandparents on my dad’s side which has been amazing since we didn’t know anything about them at all.  But that’s a post for another time. Today it’s all about my mom, Maude Louise.

A friend asked me the other day to describe my mother…what was she like, what did she like to do.  I pondered this question and found it was sort of a hard one to answer.  To me my mother was funny and a little nutsy at times, a trait I’ve happily inherited by the way… she was kind and loving,  a hard worker, she adored my dad, and me. She liked to crochet, she made tablecloths and doilies,  and also made lace on handkerchiefs.  She made one for my best friend to carry on her wedding day… when I got married I carried it as my ‘something borrowed’.. as did my daughter Patty when she got married.

She had her problems as well though, she went through a period of over a year when I was around 11 when she wouldn’t leave the house… at all… ever.  She would wait for me to get home from school and then send me to the corner store for her cigarettes or milk or whatever.  We didn’t know what to do about this but then the solution presented itself one morning when my dad was home and he took advantage of it.   Mom was doing the wash in one of those machines that had wringers where you’d put the clothes through to get excess water off of them.  Somehow my mother’s arm went half way through the wringer…she screamed.. my dad went running to see what was wrong.  He quickly took the wringer apart and freed mom’s arm.  She claimed she was okay but my dad being a policeman who had worked in the emergency squad division thought otherwise.  And here’s where his genius solution to mom’s not wanting to leave the house came in.  He said he was taking her to the hospital, she started up the stairs to get dressed (she was in her robe) and he said no, there wasn’t time for that.  And then he took her to the worst, most crowded hospital in the city and left her there.  He left her because I was due home for lunch break and someone had to be there.  Of course when I got home I wondered why Mom wasn’t there and he said she’d gone shopping !  Shopping, really !  The woman hadn’t left the house in months and months and now she suddenly went downtown to go shopping.  I was skeptical.  When I came home from school later in the day there sat my mother all dressed up like she really had gone shopping.  I, of course asked if she’d bought me anything.. hey I was 11 and very self involved.

But what my dad did was just what was needed to snap her back to herself.  She had been so embarrassed sitting in the hospital in her night clothes with so many people around that I guess she vowed to take her life back and do something other than sitting and crocheting all the time.

And she did…. a week later she went to the personnel office in the bank she had worked for before I was born, applied for a job as a bookkeeper and was hired on the spot.

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But there was a lot more to my mother than that episode above… the fact that she had the spirit in her to get herself back on track, I find myself calling on that spirit at times too.

She was a kook in her younger years and I’ve got the photo album that proves it.

The first page says ‘taken during the year 1926’.. most of the photos are of mom and her friends on Martha’s Vineyard…there are a few from NJ as well.   I love how she wrote in white ink on the black pages…and wow, what typical 1926 sayings she wrote.  My mother it seems was turning into a flapper… I love it.

For instance, the picture on the lower left says ‘The Oak Bluffs Sheik “oh daddy” “He’s a hound with the ladies.”  I’m 80% sure I know who that hound was but I’m not telling 🙂

It would have been fun to have known my mother when she was that age, to have hung out with her and her friends on the Vineyard, to be in on their inside jokes and what really went on in with the sheik of Oak Bluffs ! Okay, maybe not. Does one really want to know THAT much about their parents, some things are better left unknown 🙂

pizap.com14576305662362Yes indeed, my mother was one of my favorite people to spend time with.  Some nights when my dad was working the night shift my mom and I would have our favorite supper and speak our ‘silly language’, which was to put ‘S’ in front of every word… not as easy as you think and certainly made for gales of laughter from both of us.

I feel that maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much time on the above story about her bout with, depression, and I was tempted to go back and delete it…but no, it goes to show that she was a strong woman, who lost herself for awhile and then found and reinvented herself…and I’m proud of her for that and like to think that I got some of that fortitude or spunk from her… I definitely got my quirkiness from her and I thank her for that.

Happy birthday mom… ❤


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Plymouth, MA – This and That …

Part 4 of our trip..

This is the National Monument to the Forefathers

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The monument lists the names of the Mayflower Pilgrims and also on the four buttresses are seated figures emblematical of the principles upon which the Pilgrims founded their Commonwealth; Morality, Law, Education and Liberty.

According to Wikipedia : {The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument, commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrims

 CLICK HERE

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And this is the Pilgrim Hall Museum ..CLICK HERE

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The nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum, Pilgrim Hall Museum houses an unmatched collection of Pilgrim possessions telling the story of brave and determined men and women building lives and homes for themselves and their children in a new world. See William Bradford’s Bible, Myles Standish’s sword, the only portrait of a Pilgrim (Edward Winslow) painted from life, the cradle of New England’s first–born, Peregrine White, the great chair of William Brewster, and the earliest sampler made in America, embroidered by Myles Standish’s daughter.

The only thing we were allowed to photograph were these beautiful stained glass windows

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And that….  that’s two of the most delicious, mouth watering, , heavenly New England lobster rolls… 🙂

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This concludes part 4 of our Plymouth, MA trip.. actually it may conclude this series all together, or it may not !!  Hope it’s been as enjoyable to read about as it was to have experienced it 🙂

(pictures are mine and Debs)


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Plymouth, MA – Plimouth Plantation …

Part 2 of our trip into the past to visit our ancestors..Plimouth Plantation…

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DSC_0092Our visit to Plimouth Plantation was interesting and fun, I wish history had been this alive to me when I was in school eons ago 🙂

According to Wikipedia:

{Plimoth Plantation, founded in 1947, is a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA, that shows the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in the 17th century by English colonists, some of whom later became known as Pilgrims. They were among the first people who immigrated to America to avoid religious persecution and to seek religious separation from the Church of England.

In the 1627 English Village section of the museum, interpreters have been trained to speak, act and dress appropriately for the period. At Plimoth Plantation they are called historical interpreters, and they interact with their ‘strange visitors’ (i.e. the modern general public) in the first person, answering questions, discussing their lives and viewpoints and participating in tasks such as cooking, planting, black smithing and animal husbandry.}

Let’s begin…

Before we got to the Pilgrim settlement we stopped at the re-creation of a Wampanoag home site where modern day Native People from a variety of nations, dressed in traditional dress demonstrate how their ancestors lived and interacted with the settlers.

pizap.com14452951552681Onward now to the village, founded in 1947,  where we see how the Pilgrims lived…

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and talk with some ‘historical interpreters’…

Governor William Bradford and friend

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William Brewster, Ruling Elder of the Plymouth Church

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and Myles Standish

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 We sat down to rest and two ladies walked by and smiled and said we looked so happy and would we like them to take our picture… tah dah…

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🙂 🙂 🙂

This concludes part 2 of our trip… next up… Miles Standish burial ground and the John & Priscilla Alden House…

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)

 


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Plymouth, MA – The Mayflower…

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Part 1 of our trip into the past to visit our ancestors.

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My daughter, Deb, our friend Dawn and I headed to Plymouth, MA to visit, and to learn more about our ancestors who came to America on the first voyage of the Mayflower, or as I like to call it, the mother ship 🙂

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We recently learned that we are descended from Peregrine White who was born on the Mayflower in Cape Cod Harbor, he was the first English baby born in New England.   It had always been family legend that we came on that first voyage but having documented proof made it finally seem real.  I had a teacher once who told me I was wrong, that everyone who had relatives or ancestors in New England claimed they came on the Mayflower and that they actually didn’t.  Talk about squelching a dream.  So I put the information in the back of my mind and now, many many years later it turns out my mother’s legend was right. The girls and I did so much in our 3 days away that I’m going to break it down into a few posts rather than try to get it all into one very, very, very long post… you’ll thank me for this later 🙂 So… let’s begin…. welcome aboard the Mayflower II

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 We all know that the Mayflower landed in Plymouth in 1620 and that there had originally been 102 Pilgrims on board.  But something I didn’t know is where the Mayflower II replica came from !  According to Wikipedia in 1954 Warwick Charlton from England conceived the idea to construct a reproduction of the Mayflower to commemorate the wartime cooperation between the United Kingdom and the USA as a symbol of Anglo-American friendship….

To read more of this article CLICK HERE please

Let’s start our tour…

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pizap.com14451126844141Going below deck we met some of the crew members who told us many stories of the voyage of the Mayflower… 102 passengers and a crew of 25-30  began the journey, only 51 survived it.  Two babies were born, Oceanus Hopkins while at sea and Peregrine White (our ancestor) when the ship was anchored in Cape Cod Harbor.

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pizap.com14451252144451It’s hard to imagine life on board the Mayflower II no matter how vivid an imagination I have.  The cramped quarters, the noise and smells, the sickness, the lack of privacy.  But they made it and there were still more Pilgrims to come in future voyages.  I feel kind of empowered knowing somewhere deep inside of me I might have that kind of fortitude.

If you’re interested in knowing more about life on board, the history of the ship itself and about the voyage… CLICK HERE to read about the Mayflower…

The Mayflower Compact... signed by Myles Standish, John Alden, and Deb and me 🙂

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 You can’t visit the Mayflower without visiting Plymouth Rock as well….

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This concludes part 1 of our trip… next up… Plimouth Plantation.

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)


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1982 August Trip …

August 1982 was my first trip back to the Vineyard in too long a time.  I was excited, anxious and also looking forward to showing my family the place I love so much. Both my teenage daughters were supposed come, however, my older daughter Patty decided she didn’t want to, so that meant my younger daughter, Deb would have to face the vacation alone with her parents.  Not a situation a teenager really looks forward to, especially when your mother turns into a crazy woman for most of the trip. Talk about embarrassing, I was the definition of it in her eyes… and quite frankly, I was a tad embarrassing once in awhile. Deb survived the trip mainly by escaping into her books… she can tell you what she was reading and where we were at the time… she still does that.

Aug 1… We drove to Falmouth and stayed there overnight.  Why?  I don’t know.  The fact of being so close to the Vineyard and not actually on it seemed like torture.  We actually drove to Woods Hole that evening just so I could look at the ferries and see the Vineyard.

Aug 2 – 6… I awoke early, okay, not really awoke since you can be sure I didn’t sleep much at all.  After a quick breakfast, we drove to Woods Hole to await the arrival of the ferry.  I was thrilled to be landing in Oak Bluffs, the town I grew up in as a summer kid.

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 (All pictures in this post are from 1982, the originals are 3×3.. they are somewhat blurry and the colors are not vivid.  I took pictures of them with my digital camera today and have not altered them). 

We drove into Edgartown and checked into the Kelley House.  The Kelley House hasn’t changed much at all but the buildings that we saw from our window definitely have.

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Unpacked, rested maybe 10 minutes and then back to Oak Bluffs to see the sights and maybe do a little reminiscing… maybe a lot.

Lower Circuit Ave… and  Circuit Ave

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Ocean Park… the Flying Horses.. and yes, I did take a ride on them 🙂

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Then into the Campground where seeing the Tabernacle for the first time in so many years was kind of emotional for me.  Anyone who reads reads my blog or knows me knows I have a deep attachment for the Tabernacle.

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After dragging leading my little group around town for quite awhile I took pity on them and back to the hotel we went to relax.  It had been a long first day and there were still 4 more to go.  Yippee.

The next morning we headed Up-Island to see Gay Head.  Look closely at the pictures to see the difference in the cliffs from 1982 to 2010.  There’s been erosion and the colors have changed but they’re always an awesome sight to behold.

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2013

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On our excursion the next day out to Menemsha we drove past my mother’s relatives house in Indian Hill.  This is where I unknowingly at the time, embarrassed my daughter Deb.  I wanted to get a picture of the house and while doing so notice a man in the backyard I thought I knew.  To get the picture of the house I was standing half in the car and half out… I thought I was being inconspicuous. The man in the back yard didn’t see me but my daughter did and buried her nose deeper into the book she was reading.   I can safely say she laughs about it now, but back then, major mother embarrassment.

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On arriving on the Vineyard I was thrilled to find out we’d be there for Illumination Night.  It had always been my favorite event of the summer (still is) and I was beyond excited to be there for it.  (Cue another embarrassing moment or two) When the community sing began I was amazed at how quickly the words to all the songs came back to me.  I sang, clapped my hands, and was 8 years old again… and my daughter sat as far away from me as she could get… can’t say I blame her, I was a little on the excited side.    I cannot believe I only took ONE picture.

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Our four days on the Vineyard came too quickly to an end.  I was sure that I would never get back again… I still feel that way after each trip.

Was I a little on the frenzied side?  Yes.  I had dreamed about being back on the Vineyard for a long time and the reality of it was intense for me.  Quite frankly I still get a touch of it each trip.  My heart still beats quicker the closer to Woods Hole I get and try as I might I just can’t not burst into smiles.

Has my daughter Deb gotten over the embarrassment of her mothers behavior?  Yes she has.  She and I have made more than 20 trips to MV by ourselves and she smiles at, and enjoys my Vineyard persona.

Did my daughter Patty ever make it to the Vineyard?  Yes, finally in 1996 she, her husband Mike, their daughter Tiffany, and son Tyler joined me on the Vineyard.  I loved showing them everything and passing my love of the Vineyard on to my grandchildren.

I cannot believe the paltry  number of pictures I took in ’82… I mean really. ONE picture of Illumination Night.  ONE picture of the Tabernacle.  ONE picture of Gay Head.  Well, things have definitely changed and now with digital cameras I can snap up a storm… and I do… and sometimes with two cameras.