Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

May 18, 2008

My Childhood Home

This is the home in which I grew up, on Old County Road in East Sandwich, Massachusetts. The house was built in approximately 1888, by William "Willie" Jones. My parents were only the 3rd owners of the house, when they bought it in 1952. I don't know much about Willie Jones, except that whenever something weird or unusual happened in the house, my dad would say, "Must've been Willie Jones". He didn't believe in ghosts but I do, yet the thought of Willie didn't scare me at all. Whatever presence is in the house is benign. Willie & his wife had several kids, most of whom were deaf. One of the girls was killed when her buggy was crossing the railroad tracks because she couldn't hear the train. That's all I know about the family.
My parents bought it from the Thomases, and it was in great disrepair. Throughout the 1950's, my dad tore it apart and renovated the entire thing. There was no plumbing when they moved in and they used an outhouse till my dad got the new well dug and plumbed the house. I grew up on well water, so there was no such thing as a luxurious "bath" because the water would turn to rust and minerals if you tried to fill the tub past a certain point. But my dentist tells me my teeth are rock hard from the well water. That's my old room, the single window on the second floor.
This is why I love beautiful coloured glass so much. My mom's had this pretty collection of glass in the porch windows time out of mind. On cold days, I'd stand and look out this window till my school bus passed (it turned around up the street) and then I'd walk down the driveway so it could pick me up on the way back.
And I always stared at this glass while eating my breakfast. This is the view from "my" chair.

Front lawn. This piece of property was a bitch to cut in the summer. Yours truly started doing it in the summer of '78. I used a gas powered push mower and it would take at least 2 hours. I could never quite get it under 2, no matter how fast I tried to go. And of course it had to be done "right", which also meant raking the grass into piles, then putting the clipping piles into a wheelbarrow and dumping them in the compost pile. After that, I'd get out the weed wacker and all of my dad's heavy duty extension cords, and weed wack around all the trees. And you wonder why I hate yardwork? Granted, dad paid me a good wage to do it, and I needed cash to feed my record album habit.

That's the "coop". The Thomas Family had a small farm with a few chickens and they resided in this chicken coop. Dad tore it apart and renovated it into a wicked awesome party house. There was a wet bar and half bathroom. Heat for winter, air con in summer. Stereo. Picnic table where we'd do crafts all summer long while listening to the stereo. There were a couple of twin beds and I had sleep overs in the summer w/ Di & Sha, and sometimes my friends. When my mother was my troup's Campfire Girls leader, meetings were held in the coop. Dad would host Lions Club meetings there as well. My parents LOVED to entertain, and my dad loved to cook for their friends. I know that Liz & Holly both have fond memories of hanging out in the coop, too. If those walls could talk, they would fondly remember how much laughter was shared over grub and grog in that building, by children and adults alike. And what is sad is that so many of the people who enjoyed themselves partying w/ my folks, have passed on.

That's the barn, even though no livestock was kept in there. Just all dad's plumbing supplies and tools, gardening equipment, etc. The thing that is really sad to me is that dad's truck is gone. She sold it a few months after he died; I mean, there was no reason to keep it. But dad's bright red truck was his trademark. He did no advertising at all, and didn't even have his name on his truck, but EVERYONE knew who was driving the only bright red Ford Econoline in Sandwich.
Looking down the driveway. Can't tell you how many times that poor tree in the center of the driveway got killed by the snow plow in winter. That's a new tree. The old one finally couldn't take any more abuse and died.

Looking at the kitchen. That window on the upper right is the upstairs bathroom window. For a couple of summers I would climb out of the window and sit on the flat roof above the downstairs bath (above that oil tank) and stargaze for hours, or until the mosquitos started biting. My room was sweltering all summer because for some reason, it was not insulated. In the winter it would be freezing and the summer was hot and humid, no matter how many fans I used (again, another fact both Holly & Liz could attest to). Getting out on the roof was one way to beat the heat.

Looking down the dirt road at the cranberry bog and train tracks in the distance. I used to play at the bog a lot, sometimes skate on it in winter. I loved the sound of the trains too, and Di & I used to walk the tracks all the time. Always being extra careful by turning around frequently or feeling the rails.

Looking at the front of the house.

Looking up the driveway from the street.

I made this cross stitch for my mom a few years ago.



    love the glass in the window; how beautiful.

    and i woulda loved the coop; what a cool place to have as you grew up.

  2. I too have slept in the coop, and I can attest it was pretty cool.

  3. It look awesome and a place like the coop?I would love it.

    I don't like yard work myself but not because I had to do it.My Dad considered that my brother's job or his.I wish Michael the same idea BUT if he is waiting for me to do it...well we will need landscapers.

  4. oh, and how do you swim in a cranberry bog??

  5. It must have been a magical place to grow up.

  6. Anonymous2:43 PM

    A welcome return to Jojo's Travelog!

  7. Only one trip to Cape Cod over 30 years ago, but I enjoyed it. The only bad thing that happened is that Elvis died while I was there!

    Lovely colored glass!!!!! (((swoons)))

  8. Val - it really was a fantastic place to grow up, with all the woods behind their house in which to explore.

    Daisy - you are a coloured glass lover too eh?

  9. luv it when you get your pics o/! looks like a beautiful place to grow up. can't say i'd like to cut that lawn tho..

  10. What a beautiful home! I would love to live there, but I'm not sure I could handle the climate. But a lovely place to visit, no?

  11. DP - It is a nice place to visit, as long as it's spring or fall. The humidity in the summer is awful.

  12. Lizzzard7:10 PM

    Oh Jojo...memory lane is so sweet.
    I am honesick for the days gone by. I loved growing up on the Cape but now it's so spoiled by development.
    Thanks for the pictures and the memories.