MV Obsession

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


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Friends and the Vineyard …

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, 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 their 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 40 years, Dawn Green

 Dawn & Deb, July 1984

Deb and Dawn, April 2015

100_8117In 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)!

Breakfast by the pool at the Kelley House.

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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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My Dad …

Joseph Albert Freeman, better known to all as Al… except to me he was…

my Dad

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 This is me with my dad on Martha’s Vineyard.  Notice how with most dads he’s letting his daughter crawl all over him.  And notice too what a great seat a dads lap is.

He was born in 1910 in Newark, NJ, one of 7 children.  Some kids had ponies but in his neighborhood there was a man with a mule and for a nickel you could have your picture taken on it.
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He left school in the 6th grade and took any kind of job he could get.  One of his favorites was driving a candy delivery truck… the neighborhood kids loved him because if there was any candy left over in the truck at night he’d bring it home and hand it out to them.

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After he and my mother got married my dad  became a police officer in Newark.  One of the memories of my dad is how handsome and proud he looked in his uniform.  Part of his time in the police force he worked in the emergency squad, he loved helping people and was always good at it.

 

Proud Officer Freeman.

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My dad, at 6’2 was literally and figuratively someone I  looked up to.

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His last job as a police officer was working in night court… when things would get slow he would sketch on computer cards… these are the only drawings of my dad’s that I have.

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My mother grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and after his first trip to the Island my dad was hooked.  Every summer my mom and I would head to MV the beginning of June and my dad would join us for the month of August.  He seemed so happy and at home there… he did yard work, painted the house, cooked, read, went clamming and crabbing,  relaxed, went to the beach… just simply enjoyed himself.  After I came along I was always eager to help him…  here we are admiring whatever it is we’ve done to the lawn !

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My parents made their last trip together to the Vineyard in 1975.  My dad went back to MV a couple of times after my mother died but of course it wasn’t the same.  Funny thing is that every time I’m on Martha’s Vineyard I feel the closest to my dad and mom…  I guess the spirit resides where it was the happiest.

I love this picture of my dad… movie star handsome, like he stepped out of a 1940’s movie… love the hat dad… ❤

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Coffee, Records, Yarn and Elvis …

As I mentioned a few posts ago every Saturday my daughter Deb and I, often accompanied by her best friend Dawn, go out for coffee and whatever else occurs.    This past Saturday was chock full.

First up is coffee…  almost always the first stop.  We were in the charming town of Summit, New Jersey and stopped in at Boxwood Coffee which I have to say was a great choice.

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Second up was Record Store Saturday.  We hadn’t had plans to seek out a record store but lo and behold there was one right around the corner so of course we checked it out…

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Third up was the main reason for the outing… The New Jersey Wool Walk.  You  may be wondering what a wool walk is, here’s the description from the website…  ”The New Jersey Wool Walk is an event to give passionate knitters, crocheters and fiber artists the opportunity to visit, experience and enjoy the wide array of yarn shops throughout Central, South and North Jersey.  Our diverse stores have a variety of yarns, notions, classes and styles.  The Wool Walk is a four day festive happening that is not a sale, but an adventure for all lovers of yarn and what it can become!”

The girls had visited several yarn shops the day before and did a few more when I joined them on Saturday.  Here are a few pictures from Summit.  Look at those happy faces with their bags of stash.

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As if that wasn’t a full enough day there’s still one more event to go,

Fourth up is for me, the main event…. ELVIS is in the building 🙂

My life long friend and I are also life long fans of Elvis and so when the opportunity arose to see this Elvis impersonator we jumped at the chance.  I wish I could remember his name because he was fabulous… looked, sang, sounded just like The King himself.  It was quite the climax to a full day.

 

100_8131My friend got a scarf and a kiss from Elvis… me, I got to take the picture…
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There’s a lot of pressure on next Saturday if it wants to be as exciting and fun as the past two were.


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Thomas Edison, Final Installment …

After leaving the library (last stop in installment #2) we headed upstairs to the precision machinery floor..

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Behind this wall below, in 1888, in a small room long since dismantled, Thomas Edison and W. K. L. Dickson created the first motion picture camera.

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I think the electric light is probably the thing Thomas Edison is most famous for .  Although he did not invent the first electric light, Edison made the first practical electric light bulb that could be manufactured and used in the home. He also invented other items that were needed to make the light bulb practical for use in homes including safety fuses and off/off switches for light sockets.

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Our last stop was downstairs to the heavy machinery floor.

I myself have no idea what this sign means but that doesn’t mean you all don’t 🙂

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I can’t imagine the noise level when all these machines were in use at the same time.

My creation

 I really enjoyed learning about this incredible man.

(Thomas Edison National Historic Park)


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Thomas Edison Installment #2 …

After ascending the stairs in the previous post we came to what I imagine is referred to as the archives.  Rows and rows and rows of inventions… memorabilia… anything and everything.  Way too much to look at in one visit.  Here’s a glimpse of some of what we saw.

Phonograph .. filaments .. record player .. typewriters .. calculator .. toasters .. irons .. camera .. film projector… and I have no idea what the last picture is .. lol

My creation

He also invented the first electric pen…

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By 1880 the electric pen was in decline but had a second life in the 1890’s when it was converted into the first electric tattoo needle.    CLICK HERE

You may be wondering what Dawn & Deb are looking at …

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These two bibliophiles are looking at the 3-story tall… library…

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Not only filled with books and statues…

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… but a bed as well !

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Right outside the library is the time clock and what I think is also a clock of some kind… whatever it is it’s beautiful.

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 As eyes are the windows of a persons soul I think windows are the soul of a building… here are just a few of the window pictures I took.

My creation

Join me for the next installment when we see the light ! 🙂

(Thomas Edison Nat’l Historic Park)


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Thomas Edison Nat’l Historic Park …

Headed out this past weekend to go here…

Thomas Edison Nat’l Historic Park

in West Orange, New Jersey

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to see Thomas Edison’s home, Glenmont, all decked out for Christmas.

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But it was sold out so my daughter Deb, her friend Dawn, and I decided instead to tour through  the laboratories. I don’t know why I haven’t visited this treasure before… but I’m glad I finally did.

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Got our tickets and off we went…

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All the building center around The Courtyard which was used for many purposes from motion picture set, test site, photography backdrop, greeting area and sometime parking lot.

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Off to one side of the Courtyard stands a replica of the ‘Black Maria’… the world’s first motion picture studio.

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Notice the track that runs around the building.   That was so the building could be turned to follow the sunlight.
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This was only the beginning of our afternoon of awe and delight… let’s see  what’s behind some of the doors !

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In 1887 this was one of the best equipped chemical labs in the world.

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Another door…. the music room…

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The pattern shop …

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Join me for the next installment when we climb these stairs and see what wonders await !

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See ya 🙂


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To My Mom …

Today would be my mother’s birthday.

Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman

born March 11, 1907 in Waterville, Maine

She’s the reason MV is in the lives of my family. Although born in Maine she was raised on MV and through her we’ve all come to love the Vineyard.

Her father died when she was 3 years old, her mother remarried and that husband died when my mother was around six.  At that point my grandmother, Albra Mae met and married a Vineyarder named Arthur Baird, Sr and so my grandmother and my mother Maude came to live on Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs  and thus began our connection to, and love of the Vineyard.

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After my mother graduated from high school she moved to New Jersey and..

married a Jersey boy…. and had a Jersey girl 🙂

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My first trip to the Vineyard was when I was less than a year old…  here I am on the beach in Oak Bluffs with my mother and godmother…

My entire family has been to MV with me at one time or another but never all of us at the same time. That’s okay though as the Vineyard is a different experience depending on who I’m there with.

My creation

I hope she knows how grateful we all are to her for the gift of the Vineyard she gave to us…. thank you Mom

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Although I’ve tried to say how deeply I feel about my mother and the Vineyard, no words I could find could say so beautifully what my daughter Deb wrote below about her grandmother.

Please take a moment to CLICK HERE and read Deb’s post.


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Memory Correction …

Few years ago I put up this post:

I was in New York City and visited Grand Central Station, mostly to take photos of this magnificently restored building.  I thought I had never been there before…but in looking around something clicked in my brain !

When my mother and I would go to MV every summer we would take a train from Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ to, as it turns out, Grand Central Station in NYC where we would change trains.

We would have to run from one end of the station to the other to board the New York/New Haven & Hartford’s train on the Old Colony line called the Day Cape Codder, which would take us all the way from New York City to Woods Hole, MA. That’s right, all the way to Woods Hole.

Day Cape Codder

100_8757The train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass in the left corner of this photograph.  It was literally only steps from train to boat.  A comfortable and luxurious way to travel in the days when lots of people didn’t have cars and the road system left a lot to be desired anyway.  The trains had dining cars with each table dressed in fancy tablecloths and crisply ironed napkins.  The waiters and conductors were always the same and seemed to remember me from year to year… made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960′s.

The ferry, the Nobska/Nantucket would take us to MV.

We’d land here in Oak Bluffs and our relatives would be there to greet us, and three glorious months on the Vineyard would begin.

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Well it turns out I was wrong !!!!  I don’t like  being wrong, even worse I don’t like admitting it… but I have to set the record straight because I know at least one person who did these trips as well and he’ll spot the mistake.

Recently I was watching the PBS program The American Experience about the ‘The Rise and Fall of Penn Station’    and I realized it wasn’t Grand Central Station we had taken the train to Woods Hole from…. it was Penn Station !!

Pennsylvania Station was built in 1910, covered nearly 8 acres, extended 2 city blocks and was one of the largest public spaces in the world.  Its 3 year demolition began in October 1963.  It was replace with another Penn Station which Madison Sq Garden sits atop.

  Functional but not beautiful 🙂

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The person I mentioned above is my life long friend Will Jones.  His parents Bill and Bertha owned the bowling alley in Oak Bluffs which was across from the Flying Horses.

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You might enjoy reading about our moms who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and our dads who grew up in Newark, NJ …

 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 …

 … 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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(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 girl baby born in Oak Bluffs after its name change from Cottage City.)

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(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 and I live near each other in NJ and when we see each other we do a lot of talking about the Vineyard.

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Ahh, memories… whether they’re right or wrong I’m not telling 🙂


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Chappy Goes To The Store …

One of Chappy’s favorite places in town.

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Heading right to the bins of biscuits – pizza flavor is one of his favs. His tail is wagging so fast that he’s a blur of fur.

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The lady who works there remembers him and offers him a treat.

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But first he has to do some tricks to earn it…

‘down’

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‘shake’

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‘okay’

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Chappy’s bag of biscuits.

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I like this sign at a restaurant right next door … 🙂

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It’s Chappy …

Hi, it’s Chappy.  I haven’t visited gram’s blog in awhile and since today is my 11th birthday she invited me to write a post.   Here goes.

This is where it all began… me with my brothers and one sister all smooshed up against our dog mom Tawny.

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This is mom and dad… Tawny and Buddy.  I’ve been told I look more like my mom and have her sweet disposition…but I’ve got some of dad’s sense of fun in me too.

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This is my mom, Deb.  Oops, I’m skipping ahead here, I wanted to tell you about our first day together.  Well , not all of it, some of it was traumatic but that’s for another post someday.

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After I said goodbye to Tawny and Buddy we began our long trek across Pennsylvania to New Jersey.  You can see I was already in the driver’s seat.

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I caused quite a ruckus when we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.  I had no idea I was so cute and I certainly had no idea what wonderful smells and tastes were out in the world.  Talk about excitement, I actually stayed awake for awhile.

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Finally after days on the road, well it seemed like days to me, what did I know about cars and roads and big noisy trucks that kept waking me up.  Mom says it was more like 6 hours… in puppy time that IS days.   Good thing I was so rested ’cause when we got home look at all the toys waiting for me… I couldn’t believe it.  The six of us siblings had one toy and one tennis ball to play with, I was in toy heaven.100_1766100_1764
Just look at me… sweet, adorable, just a hint of mischief in my eyes.  Yup, I picked the absolute  best mom and family in the world. But enough of the mushy stuff.

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The pictures below weren’t my idea…  gram snuck them on here when I wasn’t looking.  Really, I have no idea how they got here but go ahead and enjoy them… I like the ones of me with mom the best.  Okay, bye for now, Chappy signing off 🙂

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(To enjoy Chappy’s other posts click HERE and HERE )

Happy 11th birthday Chappy 🙂