Sunday, July 5, 2009

Final entry of: A Picnic Became A Lifetime

Little did we know what owning a cottage meant, I should mention that this all took place in mid August, ours was rented for the month so that meant we were unable to take ownership until right after Labor Day as a result we spent our time along with everyone else at Bobs place. Then it finally happened Labor Day was on Sept. seventh that year, and on the eighth we were able to go in and check out our cottage. Realizing that September brings on cooler weather and with an unheated cottage plus its being unfinished and unfurnished, this meant mighty cold nights. Believe me, we got cold nights and a short stay, it seemed that no sooner had we gotten inside to find out what we would need for the next summer season, and this season was nearly over and the water would soon be turned off. When Betty and her sister spent their first night there; I was unable to go for some reason.  They said their night was sort of mysterious and creepy, the fog horn blew and the buoy bells rang all night long. The cottage made all kinds of creaking sounds, and during the evening all of a sudden two eyes peered through the living room window, first one window and then another. Betty’s sister was really freaked out, they later found out it was a neighbors dog which they had not seen before, it had made it’s way up the hill and onto the porch and kept looking in the windows, it was a white dog with one black eye. When the light of day came Betty’s sister was ready to get out of here, she has never been back since for an overnight.  Then around four A.M. the black crows welcomed in the dawn.  It is strange how different the sounds can be on an island.  By the way the crows are still cawing their heads off.

The next weekend proved to be a disaster of a different kind, the first time we flushed the john water hit the ceiling, fortunately there was a card pinned on the wall above it with the name of a local handyman, he proved to be an all around do it yourself guy, plumber, electrician, carpenter, what ever, you name it,   he considered himself, “a professorial” what ever the problem was, he could fix it, plus he was a real nice guy.   Hey! This is an island remember, what could you expect.  

I went across the street to my neighbors, introduced myself and asked if I might use their phone.  They were, more than obliging, and over the years they proved to be our closest friends and we spent many nights with them before our cottage became a year round house.  The repair man arrived by taxi carrying what looked like a doctors bag, it proved to have a variety of things in it, and I’m sure a prayer that he would find among his treasures, something that would remedy the problem.  He or we, which ever way you want to look at it, this proved to be a lucky day.  He took out a ball of cotton twine and explained that he would wrap it around the joint and nut which was a little worn and that it would swell.   He then explained that the worn part was called a ball cock, nothing to worry about.   Well it took more then several flushes I can assure you before we saw results.  The next weekend water hit the ceiling again.  One more call and the taxi arrived with Jack, that was his name, this time he came with a larger bag and out from it came this long rod with a big round ball attached to it.   Now remember we are new at this ownership stuff, so we were all eyes and ears as this kind old gent proceeded to fix the problem.  All the time explaining how he could not believe the twine hadn’t solved the problem.  This he said as he proceeded to replace the part is “a ball cock,” glory be, at last a new repair job.  This old gent by the way turned out to be a very good friend.  Always willing to show up when needed, never upset when it was necessary to make return trips, which was often, but like I said this is an island, right?

The long winter ahead gave us time to get some things together to help furnish the place, thank heavens for the dump, thrift shops, family and friends.  We were not as lucky as Bob.  Our cottage did not come with all the furniture; however the four bedrooms did have high oak beds with designs carved on them, without mattresses. They were an odd size, and proved to be good for nothing except a great source of heat on a chilly night.  We wish we had them today; they would be worth a fortune.  There was a large flat grand piano

in the living room which was really out of tune, I’m sure that because of its weight it was one of the very few things left behind.

Spring finally came; after a long, long, winter. Now  

  for a cottage of its size the bathroom was so small it felt as though one needed to put a leg in the tub in order to sit on the john, and after our spending time here we realized that the under pinning was in need of some repair, not only did you feel like you needed to put a leg in the tub in order to sit on the john, but when the wind blew you felt like you were on a boat. The cottage sets on a hill and really it was not safe to just neglect the under pinning so we decided that before we could ever live there year round we would have a basement built. Little did we realize the expense and the time involved in a job like that, so we decided to take a chance and put it on the back burner for a later date, keeping our fingers crossed that it would be ok, three years down the road we got the job done, a major accomplishment.

Foundation material


Foundation being  put in

In progress

Foundation finished


Hosta 6-5-07


We did however decide on the last week of that first summer that we would have some friends of ours remove the big claw footed tub and during the winter we would look for a smaller one to replace it. Our two friends Ron and Ron did just that. It took a heck of a lot of work trying to pick the claw footed cast iron tub up and over the John and out, but after sweating, swearing and damn near passing out from exhaustion, they finally got it out and put it into a back bedroom which was right next to the bathroom, at that time we were using it as a storage room. Like I said we planned to buy a new tub during the winter and have it shipped to the island in order to have it installed during the spring.  I called our old handy man and asked him to replace all the old galvanized piping with new copper sometime during the winter, no hurry.  Two weeks later he called to say the work was all done, and that he sure was glad he and his helper had opened the door to the back bedroom and found the tub, but not to worry, that it was all piped in and ready to use.  I damn near fainted after all we had gone through to have it removed.  After telling him this, he assured us that we would be thanking him down the road. Well it’s been over forty years and I cannot tell you how many times  we have thanked the old guy for saving that tub, oh we have remodeled the  bathroom and even moved it to a knew location but the old tub got moved as well.

Bath rm. w tub 1 (4-09) The Tub that was

Right up until this very day when our plumber removed it, he said “you’re not going to get rid of this are you, you should keep it” so we had him put it in the basement.  You see the years have taken their toll, as a result our poor old backs and knees make it impossible for us to use it, but we just couldn’t part with it.  Perhaps someday someone else will find it in the basement and decide to put it back in again and enjoy the pleasures that we once had.

Bob has been gone for years.   His job with Delta airlines took him to Arizona and his wicker furniture and gold leaf frames became a part of our home.

Fred and I were still working together in the department store.  I was still in display and Fred had become assistant manger he was great at his job, he liked every one. On his lunch hour when he didn’t join Betty and I he would go to the hot dog counter in the back of W.T. Grants, it seemed that every kid from the poor side of town would follow him there; needless to say each one got a hot dog. Fred was that kind of guy he had a heart bigger then his chest and as a result he was always broke.

  He and I worked together for about three years before the store went into receivership. All the other stores that belonged to that company  sent their inventory to our store. Truck load after truck load would arrive daily and the merchandise would just be unloaded into bins, our store looked like a warehouse, no rhyme nor reason as to its method of display, nothing ever got checked in. Women’s dresses would come packed with men’s shoes, men’s jackets would come with pots and pans, toys with towels etc. The Toys were put into a large net like pen right in the middle of the first floor and every one of Fred’s hot dog friends would come in to review the new stock that arrived daily, it goes without saying this tugged at Fred’s heart strings. As time went by and the store got closer to closing its doors for good Fred started bagging up the toys, you can be sure there was a bunch of happy kids before the doors were closed for good.

Now it seemed that for at least two years before the closing of our store every month without fail, this older couple would get off the bus right in front of our store.   They would with out fail always enter the store and the old man would look at the same mackinaw month after month, it never got sold and each time they would look at it and he would try it on,  his wife would say “ it will go on sale and maybe we’ll be able to buy it”. Fred hated to see them coming he would tell us about it and how he felt sorry for them, he said they were well into their late seventies, if not eighties. He said month after month they would come in and he would try on that damn jacket.   After the store went into receivership he said to me one day “if you see them getting off the bus let me know”, he knew the chances were that I would be in one of the windows and see the bus when it stopped. Sure enough one day I saw them getting off the bus so I yelled to Fred,  I saw him running out side with two coat box's, I heard him say  “just take it and don’t ask questions”, the poor old man was shocked he didn’t know what was happening. That noon when we went to lunch he said “Gees I thought the old guy was going to faint when I told him to take it and leave” Oh he said “I gave his wife a couple of dresses, and some other things I thought she might like, what the heck they would only job lot them out to some crook”. But that was Fred, always broke, always giving his money away. A week or so later he was down where they had put the baby furnishings, one day this young mother came in carrying her baby, she looked like she wasn’t able to buy much, after looking around for quite a while she put the baby in a stroller, perhaps wishing she was able to buy it, well crazy Fred propped the back doors open, he grabbed the stroller and pushed it out onto the sidewalk with the mother running after him, he stopped and said “get going, it’s yours”.

After the store closed Fred got the wander lust and found himself in Florida.   Betty and I decided that the island was the closest thing to heaven that we would ever find or could afford, so we're still here.   

Like I have stated before with determination and persistence we made it, we held on for dear life , and so with a great deal of hard work and lots of money,  that did not come easy, it has been our home for forty plus years, how quickly the years come and go. There never have been any regrets. So let me warn you, be aware if you visit an island, be prepared to either like it enough to stay or walk away without looking back.  And yes I do think that after forty plus years we have made the grade and that the real old-timers consider us inlanders, it takes a long time for a title like that. Right now there are a lot of cottages for sale, but not ours,

Tref. Home

no I would say we are here for the long haul, and now you know how a picnic became a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Continuation of ….. A Picnic Became A Lifetime

Saturday morning came we packed a picnic lunch and we were off on our adventure, we took my mother with us, she was excited to see parts of the island that she had not seen before and she was anxious to see the cottage.  We took Bob over to see the former owners; he needed to go over some things with them.  We said we would be back to get him later. Then  we were off to tour the island which consisted of one paved road that went around the perimeter of the island and many unpaved side roads and streets.  The scenery was really beautiful and the cottages were of all shapes and sizes.  We located two churches, Methodist and Catholic, three grocery stores, a few little gift shops, a bowling alley, a gas station, a laundry mat, a fire/Police barn, a Post Office plus two dinning places, and that pretty much sums it up. 

We were very much impressed and thought this must really be a great place to live.  Riding around while we waited for Bob we saw many houses and cottages for sale. After riding around for quite sometime we picked him up and listened to his excitement of just having become the owner of a cottage.  He could hardly wait for the next weekend, when he was to actually move in, finding it hard to believe that all the furniture was to go with it, and just knowing that it now was his. 

While driving around we found a place on the back shore to park and had our picnic on the rocks.

Back shore 1966

Back shore  1964

Then we rode around the island again to show Bob what it was all about, he was excited and impressed.   We rode around the island at least a dozen times, this was not hard to do the island is only three and a half miles long and one and a half miles wide. We stopped along the way to watch the ocean and marveled as the sea gulls performed their incredible maneuvers, and we were amazed at all the boats going by. The lobster boats were busy hauling in their catch, it seemed so different from the mainland, even though it was only three miles from the city. Everyone seemed so friendly and the children were either carrying buckets with fish or fishing poles, it seemed everyone’s life and interests were somehow connected to the water. There just was a different feeling about it.  It was sort of a laidback slow moving way of life.

Then the inevitable happened, we saw a cottage with a sign that read “For Sale by Owner.”  It was a rather large cottage with a wrap around porch, on a corner lot with a nice lawn.  We all said “gee’s this is a great place” but we all knew the price would be too much for us, yet Fred insisted we go in just to see it.  No one else felt it right, just to go in, knowing we had no intentions of buying.  However, he kept insisting and after driving by several more times, he finally won me over.  He and I went in while the others waited in the car.  We knocked on the door and a woman greeted us with a rather gruff voice saying “it’s already rented” Fred said “we saw the For Sale sign and are here to look at it,” with a change in the tone of her voice, she said “come on in.”  I remember the fireplace impressing me as we entered and the room being very large, the whole cottage seemed to be very spacious.  After she finished showing us the rest of the cottage, I asked her how much she was asking for it, she told me four thousand dollars, I thanked her and asked if my friends might come in to see it, she was willing, so Fred went to get the others.  At this point in time there was no interest in buying, although I really did think it would be great. 

Then we thanked her for showing us the cottage and told her we would call her tomorrow, you see I had in the back of my mind that I could get my father to co-sign for me and that it would be a great buy.  My mother was as impressed as I was, and envisioned herself spending time here. 

Margaret's mother

     Margaret’s mother on the back shore that first day

Before leaving I boldly asked if she might consider thirty five hundred and she said she would think about it and let me know. So we left with my promise to call her the next day.

Fred had just gotten a divorce and had no money, I wasn’t making didly squat, my only hope was that Betty might be willing to go along with the idea that we buy it together, I hit it lucky, she was willing, so we approached my dad and asked if he would co-sign. He was willing so now we were going to own a cottage on the island as well.  After calling her the next day as promised, within two weeks we had bought the cottage.

Our cottage 1964

             The Inevitable cottage

Bob was excited to hear we were going to buy the cottage. Things were really starting to look up! We envisioned great times just summering on an island.

The following week when Bob moved into his cottage he got an unexpected surprise. When he inspected his buy more closely, it seemed that sometime in the past years the fireplace had gotten out of hand and burned the underneath floor quite badly. It had been covered with a heavy brown construction paper that camouflaged the damage, but with his love for the place and the price he paid he was not too disappointed.

He called home to Illinois and before long his brother and brother in law were up here and things got put back into shape.  So for the next month they kept his cottage hopping.  His whole family came from Illinois and they all really enjoyed the ocean, having lobster bakes and cookouts down at the oceans edge, that summer was really something.

Edmund, Olive, Joe & George

   Cookout Fun, Yum, Yum!

Youth has a way of making things happen, it seemed as though we were meeting every boat, friends and relatives came from far and wide to enjoy what the island had to offer. We really made the most of that last month of summer, fishing became a new adventure for us all, and hiking through the woods took on a new meaning with new found explorations of old forts built for the soldiers during the Second World War.  Entrance to Battery Steele

            Entrance to Battery Steele

On top of Battery Steele

       On top of Battery Steele

The under ground ammunition forts were still accessible at that time and easy to explore although somewhat on the scary side, very dark and they gave off a hollow sound that made ones voice

echo back sending chills up your spine. Over the years they had become dumps for anything and everything not a pleasant site, Adventure on the island was never dull, it seems everyday brought new experiences.

to be continued……

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Continuation of…. A Picnic Became A Lifetime

When he arrived on Friday night  he was  looking very downhearted, it seemed that very day he had received a phone call telling him the owner had changed his mind about selling, even with all the problems, he had become so attached to the cottage he felt he could not part with it. The next day we all felt sort of down in the dumps, our excitement had been short lived and remained that way until, Sunday morning when Bob again started reading the Sunday paper and shouted "this is it I'm sure, can you believe a six room cottage completely furnished for only sixteen hundred dollars, it's on an island approximately three miles off  Portland, can this be right, do any of you know where this is?"

Fred said he had been there years ago on a school picnic and Betty said her aunt had taken her sisters there when they were just kids.  I had never been there but knew something about it, my mother  used to go there with the senior citizens for lobster bakes,  she told us it was  lovely and verified that it was not very far from Portland , and  took only a few minutes to get there.  That was all it took for Bob to once again make a call to the people who owned it.  He was told that he could come anytime, and for him, anytime meant right then and now. 

I must admit everyone except myself was excited, my hesitation was due to my having vertigo which still haunts me to this day.  However after all their pleading I gave in and we were soon on our way, the trip proved to be an adventure that not only upset my stomach but also frightened me because of all the motion in the bay.  The water was rather rough and for a person with vertigo this is a no-no, I can only say I was very happy when the ferry landed.  Although the trip only took fifteen minutes, with a sick stomach, it felt like an eternity.  We found our way to a small  eating place  called “The Coffee Cup,”  we had tea and muffins then inquired as to where the people we were looking for might live, we were given directions and once again we were on our way.  Needless to say I was worried about the return trip.

Not knowing anything about the island it seemed as though we walked for miles, stopping several people along the way to verify that we were still heading in the right direction.  After what seemed like forever we came to a small road, which looked more like a lane, it had a home made hand painted sign that read “Winding Way.” At last we had made it, we gave a sigh of relief, after walking a short distance we made a sharp right turn in the road, which became shadowed with over grown pine trees, it looked like an archway, we forged onward for a short distance when we came upon a clearing among all the tall trees, there we saw several small cottages and one very large farm house, a dilapidated structure that you might say was definitely out of place, and had no resemblance to any of the other cottages.  We just stood there in awe; it sort of looked like a picture one might see in a foreign travel magazine. On the opposite side of the dirt path that lead to the cottages, which I think we all noticed it at the same time, was a home made “For Sale” sign, with large red and black lettering; this had to be the place.  It was a tiny little cottage neatly kept and from what we could see, it looked inviting.  I remember remarking how the steps looked freshly painted as we went up onto the porch.  Bob knocked on the door and a cute little older lady in a crisply starched apron opened the door and waited for Bob to introduce himself, then she invited us in.

Standing in the background was her husband; he introduced himself and invited us to sit down.  The living room was very small and so very neat, it looked like one would imagine a New England cottage to look, it had wicker furniture and a small braided rug on the floor, and on the wooden walls were heavily gilded gold leaf picture frames with oil paintings and tables with oil lamps and fancy doilies,it was hard not to be overly impressed with the old furnishings that appeared to be in pristine condition.

After our normal introductions and chit chat Mrs. Mc Milan took Bob on a tour to see the rest of the cottage.  They went up a very small set of stairs that went from the living room to the second floor; we later found out from Bob that there were three tiny and very neat bedrooms with lovely antique furniture.   After he had finished his tour we resumed our chit chat and then he made his offer to buy, giving them a down payment just to make certain they would not change their minds, he promised to return during the week to sign all the necessary papers and to pay the remainder of the balance.  The  walk to and from the cottage had a beautiful view of the ocean,  in fact the road ran along  the side of the waters edge  where there were Blue Corn Flowers, Queen Anne's Lace and Wild roses etc.

Roadside B-S 1

           Views along the roadside Oceanside B- S 2 Oceanside B-s 1

Oceanside B-S 3

Our excitement was overwhelming; Bob was in a state of awe and could hardly believe this was actually going to happen.  What we got to see that day was indeed an island paradise.  The trip home was much more pleasurable, it was on a different ferry boat and the water not nearly as rough, that plus the excitement of finding this adorable cottage was all we could think about.  It seemed as though the return trip was not nearly as long as going.  We were all anxious for the next weekend to come and decided to take the car in order to see what the rest of the island was like.

During the week Bob had taken time off from work, he came to Portland to finalize his purchase, the cottage was now his. He was to take it over on the following week end.

The cottage was located on the southern side of the island; it sat high on a hill and had a grand ocean view, over looking the open ocean where the large ships came through the channel. 

View from Bob's cottage

                    View from Bob’s cottage

There was an over grown path leading through the tall bayberry bushes with a colorful growth of lupine that took you right to the waters edge, it was indeed an island paradise.

to be continued….

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Continuation of …. A Picnic Became A Lifetime

Well as you can imagine, Bob  was overly excited as he read  the ad, for sale by owner, he called the number and was told that he could see it anytime,  he asked if we might come  right away,  the owner said  that was fine,  so the  four of us left immediately.  The road that lead to the cottage was the same as I had remembered it, a dirt road, not very wide and still in need of major repair.  After a bumpy ride down a rather steep hill we came to the clearing. The cottages were the same as I had remembered them, except some had miner repairs and shown where the paint had been changed but on the whole things were very much the same.  And there it was the sign that read “For Sale.”   It was only two cottages away from where I had stayed as a child and was the cottage I had always liked the best, although I had never been inside, I really liked it.  The clearing where the cottages were located was not spacious and finding a place to park was not easy. As we made our way to the door I could not help but feel a sudden loneliness for the days I had spent here as a child.

Bob knocked on the door and we were greeted by a very nicely dressed middle aged man who invited us in.  Bob explained that he was the one interested   in buying a place near the ocean.  The view that we had seen before we entered was all that he needed to convince himself that he had found a dream come true.

Once inside we were lead through a short entry way into a large living area, the floors looked as though they had never been walked on.  There were several captain chairs with canvas backs and seats depicting scenes of the ocean and large framed pictures of ocean scenes covered the walls, along with maps of the bay.  The wall facing the ocean was all glass and the view was spectacular.   After the normal inquiries as to why Whites Cove and the regular chit chat that goes on among people with whom you are not familiar, he took Bob on a tour of the house.  We waited in the living room and marveled at the magnificent ocean view.  Directly below us we could see children playing in the tidal pools and men harvesting the mud flats for their take of clams.  A scene so familiar from my childhood days.

After Bob and the owner returned from touring the house  we all sat around and engaged in more conversation about Whites Cove, then Bob made a commitment to buy, promising to return the next weekend with his money.  It was at this point the owner started telling Bob all the things that needed to be repaired, right away, “the side entry steps were nearly gone completely, the under pinning on the left rear side needed attention and when it rained the water came down the hill and went directly under the cottage and as a result the cottage smelled very musty most of the time.”  Although we saw no evidence of it while we were there, perhaps it may have been that the aroma from his pipe tobacco camouflaged it. 

Bob did not seem a bit upset or discouraged knowing that the problems could be taken care of.  As we got up to leave, he explained again to the owner that he would be back on the weekend with his money and to sign the necessary papers.  The owner  thanked him and walked us to the car, at which time he said "Oh I failed to mention that there is a problem with mice, I have tried unsuccessfully to get rid of them but have not had any luck, and carpenter ants seem to be quite a problem and need to be sprayed weekly.”  Still Bob was not deterred, and was certain that this was paradise and the perfect place for him.  As we left the excitement in the car was awesome, Bob could not wait for the next weekend to arrive.  We all envisioned spending our weekends there.  Everyone mentioned however that the man sounded uncertain as to his really wanting to sell it, and seemed to only have negative things to say about it, after Bob decided he wanted to buy.  Not wanting to believe this to be a reality, we remained overly excited wanting the week to pass quickly.

to be continued ….

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Continuation of….A Picnic Became A Lifetime

It was during the war and the soldiers were stationed in camps not far from our cottage.  The Army had taken over a prestigious Inn known as Homeward Inn, at Princess Point, a place where the √©lite came to spend their summer vacations.  Along with the Inn there were small cabins located on the banks over looking the ocean, the Army was station there as lookouts and guarded the ocean passages.  After the war ended Homeward Inn got back to being a place for the elite to go, Bette Davis and Gary Merrill lived there for several years.

  At the time that the soldiers were there I had an aunt Lydia and several cousins that were of the dating age, as a result the soldiers became frequent visitors to our cottage.  They used to come on horseback on a bridle path that ran through the woods.  At night they would shine the search lights on our cottage.  I remember a bunch of giggling girls.  On weekends they joined us when my father and my uncles would dig clams and we would have big clam bakes and barbecues.  I remember one weekend when the beer was flowing quite freely and all the men were having a grand old time, when the time came for the soldiers to leave my father insisted on taking them back to their camp. This meant that he would have to go several miles; the roadway circled the point of land where Whites Cove was located.  It seemed that his driving ability was not quite what it should have been on that night, and when he came home he had a very large bouquet of garden flowers attached to the rear bumper of his car, your right, he had gone through the Inn’s flower bed.  Needless to say my mother was not pleased, even though the flowers were in fairly good condition and made her a great bouquet.

Yes, even though I had not been to Whites Cove in well over twenty five years it was still a place I fondly remembered. I remembered how my cousin Rita and I would gather hazel nuts along the roadside that lead to the cottages.  Did you know that Hazel nuts look like Hersey kisses and they have  what appears to be spun glass all over them, you have to be very careful when you gather them or you will feel like your hands  have splinters  of spun glass sticking all through them.   My dad would dig a hole in the ground and bury them in a paper bag for about three weeks, and then he would dig them up and shake the skins off.   We would have a grand time swinging in an old hammock and having a great feast on the nuts. We would swing for hours singing “Oh Give Me Land Lots of Land Neath the Starry Stars Above, Don’t Fence Me In” This was a song that was popular back in the Forties. I wonder if she remembers this. What great fun we had digging clams, playing in the tidal pools and wandering through the woods gathering wild flowers, especially lady slippers.

to be continued…..

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Picnic Became A Lifetime … continued

As time went on  my friend  Fred, started joining us for lunch, it then became a three some.  One day he mentioned that Bob a friend of his from Boston was coming up for the weekend and  he hoped we might all get together and perhaps take a trip to Orr's Island.   His friend was from Illinois and was really in love with the ocean.  After our meeting Bob, he explained that not until he graduated from collage and had taken a job in  Boston had  he ever seen the ocean.  He explained how he had read about it and knew about the tides and etc. but he went on to say that until you see it first hand you can not really know the true meaning of such an event.  He told us that  he had written home to his brother John and said “you just have to come and see for yourself  how this really works”  and they spent 24 hours just watching the tides come and go.  It seemed that every weekend after that we four were visiting every beach from York to Wiscasset.

My family's home became our haven of rest and my parents enjoyed having all of us around.  One Sunday  morning after my mother had served breakfast, Bob started reading the Sunday paper, when all of a sudden he shouted  very loudly  from the living room, "This is it , I have found a cottage for sale on a beach right here in Yarmouth, it's at Whites Cove, do you know where  this might be ?”  Did I know where that was, you bet I knew where it was.  Back in the early forties, I'd say perhaps  in forty two or three my father rented a small cottage there for six dollars a week.  I can still hear him and my mother discussing whether or not they could afford it for two months or not , she thought they should only take it for one month, but my father won out.  It was a very small cottage, in fact as I recall  there was only one small bed room and a cot under the stairwell, no running water and a single holer outside  of the back door.  We had to get our water from a hand pump that was located half way down a steep hillside.  I remember my mother sending me down there with a  small pail to get water when my father wasn't around.  Those years were some of the best times that I can remember.

to be continued…

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Picnic Became A Lifetime

In 1955 I was working  as a window decorator  for the Lerner Shops, I had an assistant that proved to be much better at the job than I, she was  more detail oriented, so we made a great team. We had 67 mannequins and our main job was to decorate the 6 windows in such a manner that would attract the people, bringing them into the store to buy. With this job came a lot of things that anyone who has never done this type of work would ever realize.

First of all it goes without saying that no matter what the article of clothing is that  you are displaying  it’s always the one the buyer wants. There may be others just like it on the racks inside the store, but it’s the one in the window that they really want. I guess maybe they think that the one in the window is something special or of a better quality. What ever the reason it goes with out fail that you will have to replace what ever you display at lease three or four times before you do a complete new window, of course this means you will be pressing and pinning garments along with all of your other display work, which includes interior setups, nitches, plus setting up for special sales etc. Remembering at all times that the costumer comes first. Then there are the times when you have your garments on a rolling  rack all pressed and ready to go into the window when someone comes along, and starts going through them and wanting to try them on.  This causes a little upset, even when they are shown their size is on a nearby rack. They usually fail to understand that these are the very same garments as the ones they wanted to try  only the ones on our rack have been pressed and ready for our window display.

But I dare say that this is the real kicker, it happened one night. The next morning when we were approaching the store,  we could see that the island window had been broken into,  some Sick -O had taken indecent liberties will all of the mannequins, eighteen adults and seven children.  Need I say that the window was a total disaster, the police department  a detective and the criminal squad were all over the place trying to  solve the puzzle, but no one ever did.

To this day, I cannot help but wonder where the police patrol were that night while all this was going on. I guess men must have been better back then than they are today; this happened long before Viagra was ever heard of.

I stayed there for several years then moved on to a larger  department store which I found to be more interesting, while there I met a young man (Fred) who had recently worked as a buyer of children's wear  in Boston . We  became very good friends and spent much of our time together.  My assistant at Lerner's’ became head of the display department after my leaving, she and I would often meet for lunch,  we would discuss the pros and cons of displaying.

To be continued: