February 1989 was the first time back to the Vineyard in winter since I was a child. Following are excerpts from my travel log about that trip and also pictures taken with a non-digital camera… which does have relevance in this post. So come join me in a trip down a cold, snowy very wintry memory lane.
Picture of the Islander in dry dock in Woods Hole from aboard the ferry, Eagle.
One of my favorite places is the Campground in Oak Bluffs. I love the gingerbread cottages but most of all I really really love the Tabernacle… every time I’m on the Vineyard I take a few moments…or hour… and sit quietly there and enjoy just being. Winter is no exception and cold as it was it was warm in my heart.
Let’s wander through Oak Bluffs a little … notice Christmas tree is still in the Bandstand.
Christmas trees along the dunes at South Beach/Katama where they are brought after the holidays.
Then to Aquinnah to see the Gay Head cliffs.
excerpt from travel journal : ‘it was cold on the cliffs, maybe 26 degrees…but off I went to see them anyway. Down the road I traipsed over the dunes and onto the beach… what a sight. Thousands of rocks all shapes and sizes, and there in the distance… the cliffs… I was very excited. Took some shots and scurried back to the warm car. Noticed camera had opened a bit, closed it and didn’t think much about it. After lunch in Edgartown I rode out to the ‘bend in the road beach’ to take some pictures and noticed that the picture counter on the camera said #1 !!!! When I had gotten in the car in the morning it had said #16 !!! Something was wrong. I turned around and headed for the camera shop. Everything seems to be okay with the camera but maybe it got too cold and lost its memory and reverted to #1… or perhaps when the camera opened just that little bit it caused it to revert !! At any rate I’m having what was in the camera developed.’
The following day I picked up my photos and not only were they all fine, there was this one…. actually, these two…
shot of the cliffs taken before camera opened …
shot after I closed the camera … I’ve always kind of liked it… can’t do this with a digital camera …
After a long first day headed back to Edgartown but not before stopping at Sengekontacket Pond for the sunset…
I love the Vineyard no matter what the season but there’s a quiet, ethereal beauty in the winter.
My daughter Deb and I made a recent pilgrimage to Maine, not only to enjoy the beauty and crisp autumn weather but to visit the graves of our relatives.
Our first night was spent in Ogunquit at the beautiful Colonial Inn.
You cannot go to Maine, or Ogunquit and not do these two things… have lobster roll and maybe blueberry pie too, which we did at Barnacle Billy’s. Yum.
…and walk on Marginal Way and down on the beach.
One of the main reasons for our trip was to visit this tiny little cemetery in Rome, Maine where my great-grandfather Joseph P Littlefield, my great-grandmother Martha Jane Ellis and their 3 oldest children (they had 8), Margaret, Adison and Atwood are buried.
My great grandfather Joseph P Littlefield was injured in the Civil War at the Battle of Cold Harbor, he was sent home to Maine to die, which he did, not only of his massive injuries but also of typhoidal pneumonia. His wife and the 3 oldest of his 8 children died within months of him from it as well leaving my grandfather Charles G Littlefield at age 9 the oldest of the five remaining children. A tragic story and once we learned about it felt compelled to find their graves and honor them. Their small plot is off the beaten track in Rome, Maine but Deb found it and we traipsed through the brush to get to it. Worth the trip indeed. This was very emotional in that Joseph, Martha Jane, Margaret, Adison and Atwood have become very real to us and we feel very close to them. We weren’t able to bring them flowers but left 5 pennies to indicate we were there and remembering them.
That’s Deb’s car parked on the side of the road by the telephone sub station box, the path to the cemetery is where the flag is.
From Rome, Maine we headed to Waterville, Maine where my mother was born and where my above mentioned grandfather, Charles G Littlefield is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery. Although my grandmother’s name, Albra Mae Littlefield is on the stone she is actually buried on Martha’s Vineyard with her third husband.
Also in this plot is my mother’s sister Tessa Mae Littlefield Robertson Poulin, her husband Joseph Ezra Poulin, one of their daughers, Helen Brown and her husband Laurence Brown.
Thus ends our first full day in Maine and our cemetery visits.
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.