The song is: ‘Never Been Gone’ by Carly Simon.
Every trip I make to Martha’s Vineyard this song plays in my head when I’m on the ferry because I truly feel like I’ve never been gone. Carly Simon actually wrote ‘Never Been Gone’ on the ferry Islander on her way home to the Vineyard 🙂
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.
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.
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.
Have a great Memorial Day and enjoy the weekend whatever you’re doing.
February 2007, exactly 10 years ago was the last time I sailed on the Islander..
Even though not sleek or graceful, for 57 years the Islander brought her own special beauty to the waters surrounding the Vineyard. The Islander will continue to exist through paintings, photographs and in the memories of those who loved her.
Early morning …
The beloved ferry the Islander plied the waters between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard for 57 years before retiring in the winter of 2007. There was just something about this tub of a boat that endeared her to all who sailed on her… she wasn’t a great beauty but she had a regalness about her.
Her blue plastic outdoor seats certainly weren’t known for their comfort, but comfort wasn’t necessarily what one was after for the 45 minute sail from America to the Vineyard, which was more of a transition from the everyday to the magicalness awaiting you. The Vineyard is many things to many people and in many hearts the Islander was the emotional connection.
I don’t know if any songs have been written about her but I do know that one in particular was written on her. Carly Simon was on the Islander late one night on her way home to the Vineyard when she penned her song “Never Been Gone.” Her words come to mind every time I go back to MV.
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
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.
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.
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.
Believe it or not, no more mansions 🙂 just a little of this and a little of that.
Sunset at Breton Point
And this and that…
This concludes my posts about the trip to Newport, RI … I think 🙂
(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)
Or rather part one as this part came before Newport !!
In October of 1995 my daughter Deb and I went to MV and Newport, Rhode Island for an autumn get-away.We were supposed to leave NJ on Saturday for Martha’s Vineyard but due to the forecast of heavy rain we left around 3 on Friday afternoon after Deb got home from work. We would stay over night in Mystic, Ct and continue to the Vineyard on Saturday morning as originally planned. Things were going smoothly for oh, at least an hour and then 7 or so miles before the dreaded Tappan Zee Bridge things came to a dead stop. We decided to get off at the next exit and wend our way through the smaller back highways and eventually rejoin good old route I-95. Sounded like a good plan. Actually a lot of motorists thought so too and before we knew it we were stuck in a worse traffic jam.
And…. that rain that we were trying to avoid…well, it came early and it was heavy and oh, it was also getting dark ! Nine hours later at 11:30pm we arrived in Mystic, Ct… a drive that should have only taken 3 or 4 hours at the most. And so our adventure had begun.
The next morning we arrived in Woods Hole and got an earlier ferry to Martha’s Vineyard… we like when that happens.
We checked into the inn and spent the day walking and relaxing. After supper it began pouring, I half kiddingly said we should take a walk in the rain and before I knew it that’s what we were doing. I never like walking in the rain, especially in the dark, but for some reason it just seemed the right thing to be doing.
The following day after breakfast we rented bikes.
Mind you it had been years since I’d been on a bike and I’d never used hand brakes… but how hard could they be !! Off we trotted to the bike shop by the harbor in Edgartown. After a few instructions … most of which I’d missed we got on our bikes and headed out of the shop. Somehow I wound up not on the road but heading for a hedge of flowers and before I knew it had made contact with them… it was all in slow motion so it seemed like an eternity until I hit the ground. I laughed and so did the rental guy, my daughter though, after showing concern for my well being was convinced I’d want to turn in the bikes and forget about our ride. But no, I was determined to carry on after we’d gone back to the inn however so I could bandage my cuts and bruises. So back on the bike I got and we headed to the inn just a block or so away. I was doing pretty well until I turned into their driveway and sort of, well, bumped into one of the cars in their lot. Finally got myself put together and once again started off on our bikes… my daughter still wasn’t convinced we’d make it out of Edgartown. I eventually got the hang of the hand brakes even though I automatically was using my feet too… sometimes dragging them on the ground as a back up maneuver. The road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs is 6 miles of scenic beauty… for most of the ride the ocean is on one side…
It’s one of the prettiest bike paths (or roads) on MV. We stopped several times to take pictures and for me to catch my breath.
At one point the bike path changes from one side of the road to the other… there are big signs telling you about this… I missed them. When I saw my daughter move across the road I figured I should follow suit… as I have a problem turning my neck I didn’t see the truck that was coming down the road. I made it to the other side still not aware how close the truck had come… I do however remember the scared and horrified look on my daughter’s face. She claims to this day that I gave her several grey hairs… I say, turn about is fair play.
It was a fun day… the company, the weather, the experience of hand brakes… I’m glad we did it ……. once.
The following day was spent driving around the Vineyard. Not too much walking was done due to the sore leg muscles one of us had… not mentioning names but I’m sure after reading about our bike trip that you can guess who it was ! Tuesday was also the most normal of our four day get away… a ploy perhaps to coax us into a false sense of security! That remained to be seen as you read in part one about Newport 🙂