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Olden days

Growing up we were raised wild in a half finished house, with a view of the River and breathtaking sunsets.

I remember my parents those first few winters using only the wood stove as our primary heat source.

I remember getting out of a bath and my mother standing me in front of the stove wrapped in a towel to get heated and dried off.

The oil burner would be turned on on very chilly mornings and I remember standing over the vents in a flannel Little House on the Prarie type nightgown - having the heat flow captured and billowed about my tiny frame and giggling at the warmth and silliness of the venture.

I remember after my father left having to stack the cord wood in the fall and using an axe to make kindling. And my mother being afraid of using the stove and not being allowed to turn the heat on when we came home alone after school.

I remember my father took most of the furniture when he left, and having a plastic trash bag as a window curtain and only a wired bulb for light in the bathroom.

I remember in the summers the house being filled with fleas from Molly the Scottie Dog and Sophie the fluffy calico cat.

Going into the basement to get jugs of water and wiping off fleas from my ankles once back in the kitchen.

We needed buy or fill water jugs for consumption. There was a tap on the causeway in front of the lodge restaurant - and that is where the majority of the islanders got their water spring through fall.

The house water was from a brackish well, only good for bathing and quick to rust out pipes and water heaters.

There was always sand in the house and dog and cat hair.

Molly the Scottie Dog tied to a large old fashioned milk can - if we went to my grandmothers in Dorchester for a weekend.

Tied to that can on a short leash, with newspaper spread to one side and water and food to the other.

Coming home and the smell of dog piss and poop and Molly frenzied and whimpering to see us. Sophie the cat unscathed.

When Sophie first found us it was the day after my paternal grandfather had died. She was up on the roof mewing at the house on 55th - which is where we lived until November of 78.

My father having grown up in my grandfather’s veterinary practice-did not like cats.

Had had to manhandle them too much and knew how ferocious they could be.

But this cat - while it always seemed to freak him out a bit - he felt was reincarnation of - or sent to us by his father- and we were allowed to keep her.

I remember wanting to name her fluffy tail and mom saying what about Sophie - and Sophie it was.

Mom always having good taste in names.

When we first moved into that house with plywood floors and plywood counter tops and Un trimmed windows and unfinished deck - the cat had gotten confused and wondered far from the house into the beach parking lot.

I remember watching from the window my father driving over to the lot and scooping the cat into the car - and that is about one of the handful of fond memories I have of my father.

© 2022 Sophia Bourne

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