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

December 9, 2007

Growing up in a Winter Postcard

Although I would never move back to live in Sandwich, it was a wonderful place to grow up. Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod, being founded in 1637. It's not old by European standards, but when you picture the quintessential colonial New England coastal town, you can't beat downtown Sandwich. When I was little, the population was around 7,500, but the town is huge, comprised of several smaller villages, so the 7,500 were spread out. Sandwich Village contains the oldest of the houses. I have warm memories of the holidays in Sandwich and I am so fortunate to have been able to grow up there. Fortunately, even now, Sandwich Village has retained its charm while the rest of the town has gotten over developed. The population is nearly 20,000 now.
The following photos were shot in the winters of 1986, 1987 & 1988, before I moved away.

This is Shawme Pond, where I learned how to ice skate. It would freeze over pretty far out, and back then, we didn't have a rink that was close by, so kids skated on cranberry bogs or ponds. Before I could take lessons at the rink in Plymouth then Sagamore, I had to learn how to balance on the blades and at least get around without falling too much, and this is where I took my first tenuous steps onto ice. It was like watching Bambi learn to walk. There were no "starter skates" with the double blade for me, I learned on the single edge. So many of the older boys were skating and playing hockey that I was terrified I was gonna get creamed. I often wonder if my terrible knee pain is a result from the many, many spills I took onto the ice as a child.Sunset in Sandwich. The thin spire is at the First Church of Christ, and the second is the old Doll Museum, which was in an old church. I shot this from the salt marshes off Rte. 6 and the out of focus marsh grass in the foreground was done on purpose.
Sandwich Boardwalk. The boardwalk crosses the salt marshes so you can get to the beach. In the summer we would jump off the center part into the water channel below, at high tide.
Frozen salt marshes near my parents' house in East Sandwich. That puff of "smoke" on the horizon is steam from the power plant at the Canal.
Main Street, Sandwich.
Looking across the mill pond at a stately old home on Grove Street. Sometimes I'd drive downtown at night and then drag my tripod around shooting people's homes.
The Hoxie House, built in the 1600's. It's a museum, and since my Elementary School was literally just down the street, it was a popular place for class field trips. Note the saltbox shape. The rooms are teeny tiny. People must've been so much smaller in the 16th century!

Thornton Burgess Museum on Water Street.
1986 was the first year that the Sandwich Lions Club, to whom my dad was a Charter member, strung lights across Jarves Street. Being a typical club, the same 5 or 6 guys were the ones that did all the work all the time, and my dad of course was one of those guys.
The Corpus Christi Catholic Church on Jarves Street. I was baptized here, made communion and confirmation here as well. After that, I became a "Christmas Catholic" and only went to 4:00 mass on Crissmiss Eve. I liked that a lot; the church was always packed so that was the one time that we'd get to sit up in the choir and look down. Many of my schoolmates were also Catholic, so it was an exciting time to see them and wish them a great night and wonder what Santa might bring us. I shot this the night of the last Crissmiss Eve Mass I ever attended, 12/24/86. The church has been "decomissioned" and is a bed and breakfast. I don't mean to offend anyone by this, but I have wicked fantasies of Brian and I staying there and having massive sex so that I can say I had sex in my old church.

Another shot of Jarves Street.
Sandwich, 1986.
Sunset at Shawme Pond, December 1987.
I know I did one of these already, but it really is so picturesque. December, 1987.

This is the Sandwich Town Hall. I like it but Brian can't stand it. He always says, "What's that ugly Greco-Roman piece of shit doing in a colonial village?"

December, 1988.

December, 1988. After I went around shooting all of the beautiful old homes, I'd get extra copies, then I'd go around and leave the owners copies of the photos I'd shot of their home, anonymously, in an envelope. I have no idea if the people got them or not.

In the fall of 1988, I moved out of my studio apartment in East Sandwich, and moved into this place on Main Street, right smack in downtown Sandwich. The Doll Museum was right next door. My apartment windows are the 2 left on the second floor. The center window is the hall. There were 5 apartments in this building.

This is the First Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church, in Sandwich. It is also called "The Christopher Wren" because of the Wren-style architecture. This was also a stone's throw from my apartment. I was working swing shift at Channel 56 and I'd get home about midnight. One night it was snowing - not enough to be hazardous but enough to make things pretty - and I got home right at midnight. I got out of the car and the snow was falling softly, and the bells in this church began to chime. I stood there outside my car in the snow and listened to all 12. The sound resonated through the town and was so clear and pretty. I'll never forget that. It brought tears to my eyes. That was my last Crissmiss in Sandwich. Jarves Street, December 1988.

Grove Street, December 1988.


  1. what gorgeous winter pics! looks like a beautiful place to grow up:)

  2. Kris - it really was a wonderful place to grow up in the 60's and
    70's. At least Sandwich Village and the Rte. 6A corridor have maintained their charm, even if the rest of the town is overdeveloped.

  3. Beautiful pictures, and a lot of history.

    My mother was born and raised in a street called Grove Street - nothing like that, though, just bleak, smokey Victorian terraced houses near the docks.

  4. Beautiful beautiful pics, Jo! :-)

  5. I love places with history. For a while I lived on the Alexandria (VA) waterfront. It was so lovely and I liked riding my bike around town, checking out all the architecture.

  6. What a beautiful place Jojo. It's so cool that you put the pictures you took in the home owners mailbox..I would treasure that!

  7. Jojo, when you die, can I have your eyes?

    You have seen the most amazing places of beauty (IMO) and lived in the most picturesque settings.


  8. Axe - I'll leave my photo albums to you in my Will. lol

  9. Anonymous12:10 PM

    What a beautiful town! I envy you the history. Out here, you'd be hard pressed to find ANYTHING dated earlier than the 1840's or so. I'd love to take a trip to New England and bask in some of this stuff. Unfortunately, I don't think it's meant to be.

  10. Kristy - You should really try to make the trip to see New England, esp. in the fall. It's so worth it!

  11. Anonymous2:57 PM

    I love your pictures!

  12. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Hey Jojo,

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures of home. I won't be there for Christmas- so it's nice to see it again.

    Brian never rolled marbles on the uneven second floor of the old town hall or he'd treasure it too!