Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dispatches from the Cabin: Part Six

After their honeymoon at Treetop, Phil Bowditch's parents, Henry and Eleanor, dreamed of building a house on Bunker's Neck. Phil's father died tragically in 1926, and his mother carried on with five children. As money would allow, she started to build in 1929; the family first occupied the house in 1930.

Phil describes those early days: "We cooked on an old coal stove, kept spoilables in an icebox using ice from Irving Spurling's ice pond, lit the house with kerosene lamps, and hand pumped water from a well. We did not get electricity until 1935, seven years after electricity came to the island. My job in those days was to clean the lamp chimneys with newspaper every Sunday...I can recall resenting the intrusion of daily chores into my very important interests."

Phil reflected on the summer days of his youth, playing in the rock pools on the Neck: "Small wooden boats made of crudely carved shingles plied the waters of many a rock pool for hours on end. To watch the marine life that filled these pools was a never ending fascination. To think that a child can derive such rewarding satisfaction from  these simple yet terribly sophisticated facets of nature is one of the truly wonderful experiences of island life. Even to this day, in the twilight of my life, watching a spider build its web is an all consuming experience."

Last night, Sukie and I, after listening to a delightful reading by Sarah (Lord) Corson of a ballad by  local author Rachel Field (1894-1942) at the Neighborhood House, rode bikes back to the cabin through a cold, thick fog. The street lights ended at the big bend where the North Woods road turns and heads due east to Marsh Head. Fearing unseen potholes, we walked our bikes the rest of the way. As we approached the cabin, we could see lights flickering through the woods at Treetop. Just beyond, we turned into the grass driveway to the cabin. Earlier in the evening, I had made a fire in the woodstove. We opened the door to embracing warmth: Rollfast Island Cruiser at the Cabin

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