I know I've mentioned The Cottage in passing, but there was some confusion. People are contacting me like I dropped off the face of the earth.
In the early 50s my grandparents rented a few cottages on Oak Street. They were "Dearborn" cottages. Mrs. Dearborn owned several properties including the one we ended up in. The property my grandparents eventually bought was a corner lot with five buildings. My grandparents bought it jointly with Papa Kelley's sister Kay & her family. The main building was two halves with a shared back porch. Each side had two bedrooms, an open kitchen/sitting/dining area; a bathroom and a front porch.In this pic I think my mother (left) is standing on the back porch, but I will have to ask. She is next to my Great-Aunt Kay & my second cousin Ann.
Lots of work later, only this main building remained. My recollection is that my grandfather, uncles and my Dad did most of the work. My Dad was in the Navy when my family bought the property, but he was dating my mother shortly after discharge.
After many happy years and many more happy memories, my aunt Kay decided she wanted out. Even though we were always on the Cole Street side & Kay was always on the other, the ownership was of an "undivided half". That meant we were the only possible buyers. My uncles, my cousins and my Dad worked many weekends over a few years to turn it into one cottage with two bathrooms and four bedrooms. It's funny, in my lifetime it's been one cottage longer than it was "our side" and "Kay's side"....but, I still find myself referring to parts of the cottage that way.
Now the cottage is shared between my mother and her brothers. Each of the five gets two weeks in prime summer and then they can pick additional weeks and weekends as they are available. What's left can be claimed by my generation. This year I have poached a few weekends and a week.
My mother's traditional time is the second two weeks of July. I came back for the fabulous USS Constitution events on the 20th & 22nd.
There is no Internet at the Cottage and there is no unsecured network nearby for me to sneak into. I had a plan to have Internet, but financially, I couldn't pull it off.
But there are books, and I brought books, and my mother brought books and Grace brought books......and Grace & my mother bought books during a trip to check out the Border's sell-off.
And my father loves having every channel on cable. It came with On-Demand and it may have sold itself to my Dad. I would love it if he would get On-Demand here in Charlestown.
The best part of the renovations would have to be the front porch. They never did finish the back porch, which is unfortunate, I like the back porch better. When we were young, there were two twin beds on the back porch. Mama Kelley slept in one and Grace & I vied for the other. Now there is one twin out there and I just wish it was awesomely renovated like the front porch.
But I did crazy-clean parts of the back porch so I could sleep out there. I swept & swept & mopped & hosed. My Dad was doing the master car detailing on the Buick, so we shared the hose. Isn't that the greatest part of a porch? You can hose it off! I had done that same big cleaning on the front porch back in May and it knocked me out for the day and the night. This time, two months later, I only needed an hour's rest. Progress!
So I was able to sleep out there and it was fabulous.
So this is the front porch viewed from north to south. It's where I sit when my mother isn't there. If she is.....it's her seat! The book on the table is "This Time We Win" by James Robbins. It's about the Tet Offensive. The first serious stab at non-fiction since the transplant. I am doing rather well. I would be done but for three things. First, there is no map in the book. What??? You expect me to be able to come up with the location of Hue and Khe Sanh and Da Nang off the top of my head? Come on! I was SIX in January of 1968. I need reference materials. Next there was no Internet - again, I had questions. Thankfully, my Dad could answer some and I always have My Marine and My Favorite Naval Consort.
Lastly, I always slow down near the end of a book I really enjoy. I never want a good book to end. It really is good, it's explained things I didn't get about Vietnam in general and Tet in specific. It sparked a great conversation with the FNC. It also led to a new view on Truman and Ho Chi Mihn.
This is the opposite view of the front porch with my favorite Army blanket on the table/footrest. This pic is from a less than warm day when I went swimming anyway....sitting on the porch required a little extra warmth. Most days you could come out to find some combination of my mother & sisters & I out here, reading...lounging. Most nights, my father would be out here too.
This is the view from the chair to the east. The beach is about a thousand feet down that street. My house is three hundred feet or so to the southeast. This is the back porch facing west. It's lovely to sit out here in the evening as the sun sets. On the back porch I read fun stuff like "Candles Burning" by Tabitha King & various magazines articles.
There were some not-so-sunny days and we watched movies. Some good ones, some bad ones....and "The Birds"! When I was young, I wanted to be Tippi Hedren/Melanie Daniels. So beautiful, so perfect, so elegant....and kissing Rod Taylor. My Dad knows this, so he kept walking by saying "I never liked that guy!", etc. Always the tease.
So that's where I was......having fun without the Internet.