Sunday, December 2, 2012

The House on Rock Harbor Road – June 1961 – February 1963

In which Wendell Everett Smith (my father) chronicles a year and a half of Cape Cod living, from in June of 61 through Feb of 63. Included are stories of moving to the Cape with his wife, Muriel, and his girls, buying a cottage colony, raising three daughters, dealing with house guests, all types of weather, painting and setting up a gallery, writing a novel, buying and selling used books, and reading. He turned 38 just after starting this journal.

He wrote the journal longhand and on the typewriter. For the typewritten pages, I’ll scan them and post them as is, graphic images which you can click on to see a larger view. I will transcribe his handwritten pages. 

Every few days or weeks I will post another entry. I may modify the real names he uses to protect the guilty and innocent alike. Let it be known that I was not even a glint in my parents' eye during this time.

June 14…Thursday

A short time ago I started a diary. Like most diaries it was neglected, this one for the reason that I left my job as a editor with the Forest Service, we packed to move, fixed up the house to rent, moved, bought a house, and now two weeks later we just about settled. Of course, it will be many weeks, months even, before we can say we are truly settled. But the house comes close to being 160 years old and although it was “settled” here that long ago, the property has reached its second stage of pioneering and we are in this later era. 

For example, this morning a shelf had to be removed to make room for…but that makes a whole story in itself and is one of the many rather unpleasant things that have taken place in the past three weeks. Nothing serious, actually the move was completed in good health and according to schedule, but the details will not be filled in here.

Our new home is on Rock Harbor Road which borders on a salt marsh between Rock Harbor and the Eastham Rotary (I almost put Traffic Circle), Orleans, Massachusetts. As to general area, we are on the bay side at the crook of the elbow of Cape Cod. So there it is. The principal reason for this record. I am a writer. I have just taken up residence on the Cape so I must write a book about it. Well, I guess if Scott Corbett did it I can too. We Chose Cape Cod is Scott’s first year’s log, and I must say that his book had some little part in our coming to the Cape.


Robin said...

I remember moving to the Cape at age 7 years old and how excited/scared I was. This journal excerpt gives a glimpse of what was happening for the adults! Thanks for sharing.

Laurie Smith Murphy said...

Thanks for sharing this, Dell. It's beautiful...

Dell Smith said...

There's more to come! Although I don't have many pictures from that time. I need to find more -- if you guys have any, let me know.

Marianne said...

How interesting! I'm looking forward to reading more.

Cynthia Sherrick said...

Minutes after we arrived at our Rock Harbor house from PA (I was five-years-old) I took a header down the very steep staircase. I still remember the sensation of tumbling all the way down and landing at the feet of a huge man who was helping move in our furniture. Perhaps that incident was one of the upsetting details of settling in. ;)

We loved that house and have many great memories of living there.