Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Leg 56 continuing around Smith Cove and heading toward
Coombs Neck. This walk took me by several memorable places. The Poor Farm, which housed our few indigent during the 1800's and early 1900's was just winding down operations about the time I was getting my feet on the ground. The place was clearly haunted and for all the right reasons. Folks whose lives had been, to one degree or another, miserable were lingering, determined to share some of that unhappiness with those of us who came along after them. My friends and I were certainly accommodating, tormenting those sorry spirits no less than they terrified us as we forced our way in through broken windows and jimmied doors to wander the halls and dark recesses of this big abandoned residence scaring the living hell out of one another.

I have no memory of what the Stone Farm was before I was a kid but during my early summers it was home to Fanya Stone and her three children, two beautiful and beguiling girls and their brother. They were from New York City and each summer returned from their island to their genuine island cape here on ours to swap a little of their sophistication for our more rudimentary experience. Their family and ours remained very close for years and the girls still stay in touch and return to the island now and then although the farm, still known as the Stone Farm, is now home to an equally engaging personality.

A swing around the eastern shore of Smith Cove revealed a clearing high above that is the end of what used to be an old wood road. My generation regularly navigated that path to this spot to drink beer or make out or both and to litter the place with the remains. Our disregard for our own surroundings was so far removed from the concern most of us feel today it's hard to believe the contrast too place within one lifetime.

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