Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

More of Yesterday

It's the Stone House, again. My Aunt S read my post Waxing Nostalgic and sent me an e-mail about the Inn. She live in Little Compton, too, across the road and down the bumpiest, stoniest, potholiest, bush-linededest (shut up, it is too a word!) driveway you've ever seen. Really, it was amazing - mountain goats didn't want anything to do with that driveway! As I recall, she left it that way because it kept people from bothering her - only the really determined made it to the house. Most of the time with all their teeth intact, too! I used to ride my bike down there to visit. I had a bottom of iron.

My Aunt reminded me of something I knew but forgot to remember - the Stone House Inn was sold last Spring. Throughout my childhood, it was an Inn with a taproom/restaurant in the basement (during prohibition it was a speakeasy!). When my grandmother determined that I "weren't right in the head" (I do love Southernisms)(she would never have used such poor grammar, and she wasn't Southern, but it's my blog and I'll write what I like. Take that, proper English!) she sent me to the owners of the Stone House, who were not only friends of the family but counselors. I have no idea if they were actual shrinks, but I was all of thirteen or so and didn't know to ask. They were nice enough, but they were her friends, and so suspect. I always felt they reported back to her what I'd said. Paranoid, much? It was justified, I think, because she always seemed to know things that I'd only told them. Hmm.

One of my favorite things about the Stone House was the widow's walk up top. You can just make it out in the picture. I would ride my bike down there and pop into the lobby to snag some of the giant buttermints they kept in a jar on a table by the door. I loved those mints, and would usually take a pocketful, if no one was watching. Then, up the spiral stairs...

...and up, and up, until I was in the attic. There was a skinny sort of stairway, and a trap door, and then I was on the walk! Now, I wasn't really a fat little butterball, despite my grandmother's insistence to the contrary, but that skinny stairway was a tight squeeze! It was a bit like being born up into the sky, climbing up there. When we visited last July, the walk was closed to the public, so I don't have any pictures from up top. It didn't look as sturdy as it was when I was a kid, either. It's funny...I am fearful of heights but I'd go up on that roof in an instant to look out at the water. I was a little sad that we couldn't go up, but we're not "family" now - we don't belong to the town any more, and I imagine are largely forgotten as individuals, although the family name will always be there. After all, they named a beach after my...er...grandfather? Great grandfather? Eh, one of those stern, dusty old men in the paintings I grew up with.

Also, there's a patch of woods donated by a cousin in memory of her mum (I think) that's a park of sorts, and a lovelier bit of leftover New England wildness you've ever seen - although you'd better see it from inside your car with the windows closed, because the deer flies are thick in there and could clean the meat from your bones in a minute or two! No kidding, we drove through last summer and didn't dare to tarry for fear they'd find their way in through the vents or something! The town, or at least some of it, is working on cleaning up the woods - they let them get into a disgraceful state over the years, but recently started caring about them again. The walking trails, bridges over the creeks, and stone benches are slowly being restored to their former state. I think I remember a birthday party there, when I was a kid...for my cousin...and a game where we were each given the end of a string and had to untangle it and follow it to a prize. It's funny, the things that stick.

The folks who've bought the Stone House, I've heard, plan to make many changes to it. In a good way! There used to be an addition to one side that disappeared long before I was born - fire? Storm? I don't know. They intend to rebuild that. The intend to add A/C. I mentioned that the breeze is constant, but so is the damp. It might be nice to be able to close doors (boy, do they ever swell in the summertime!) and breathe air that isn't thick as molasses from the fog. They're also going to enclose the widow's walk. I was a little unhappy about that, at first (I don't hold with mucking about with historic buildings - I like 'em the way they were built!), until I saw some old pictures of the Inn - and what do you know? The walk was really a cupola to begin with!! It was blown off in a storm, long ago. The new owners just want to restore it. How nice. They're also considering replacing the porch that once graced the front of the building - again, well before my time. They plan to make it a private club, so I guess we won't stay there if/when we go back for a visit. That's a pity, because it sure was nice to stay somewhere I knew in the town instead of a chain motel far away. Oh, well, at least they will leave the two-hundred-something year old stones standing proud.

I'll still drive by for a look, should I make it up there again. Old habits die hard. I wonder if they'll keep buttermints in the lobby...

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