This month, Liz David reflects upon having had to make an important decision…one that many of us have either had to make or may face in the coming years. As always, she shares her experience with warmth and sensitivity.
By Liz David
When I was pregnant with our fourth child, Ted, in 1969, Barry and I
bought a piece of land south of Plymouth in Manomet. It was a ¼ acre lot on a bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay. We could see, seemingly forever, from the sweep of the Cape at Plymouth to PTown.
We built a Stanmar four-bedroom house with floor to ceiling glass sliders facing the view. It was an easy to maintain, efficient second home. Facing the water, a small grassy area led to a flight of seventy-seven stairs. Standing on the landing looking down and across the view, it felt like we could take flight!
In Manomet, the coastline is rugged–with sand, pebbles, rocks, shells, boulders, forlorn broken lobster traps and buoys. Oh, and don’t forget the seaweed. Ted collected buoys which were hung around the house on the deck.
In 1972, our fifth child was born, and our family was complete: four sons and a daughter–Jon, Larry, Marc, Ted, and Betsy. I told Barry I would not be a weekend wife, and he agreed, arriving in time for dinner most nights, braving the traffic from his office in Waltham.
We did what most families do at the beach. We sunbathed, swam, boated, entertained guests, entertained guests, and entertained guests. We had a permanent guest for about 7 years–my mother, Violet.
As time went by, the children grew up. Imagine that! Barry and I decided to sell the house and look for another in the same general area. We didn’t want to have to deal with the Sagamore Bridge traffic to get to our 2nd home. We thought that maybe, just maybe we would find a home to retire to. After about a year, we found just the place in Ellisville, South of Manomet. Ellisville was originally a Native American settlement used for fishing and farming, and, later, for many years, it was a fishing village with an inlet that provided safe harbor.
I knew when we approached the house and sat in the car at the top of the driveway that this was the place. We could see through the windows of the house that it had an expansive view overlooking a marsh that stretched out to the sea. It was–and, of course, still is–breathtaking. The house became a home in ways that the first house did not, at least in appearance. It was built for permanence. The bedroom was my favorite room. We could see the sunrise and the moonglow from the bed. I told Barry, “this is where I want to die.”
Well, it’s not where I’m going to die because the second home in Ellisville became too much to manage, and we decided to sell rather than move so far away from our family. Ted, who was born in 1969, is now 47 and lives in Lincoln with his precious family–his wife Nandini and daughters Maya, Mira and Lakshmi. That is the best reason for staying put!
I wrote the following poem shortly after the sale.
AFTER THE SALE
With Recognition to Edna St. Vincent Millay
With my eyes closed I see the sea Soft waves undulating toward the shore Sails flapping, ships calmly traveling in the distance
Closer by – the breeze brushes the marsh grass
Soft green in Summer Rust in Autumn Dull gray as Winter sets in
Herons stretch their graceful necks
Egrets step daintily – feeding Swans a swimming – regal, aloof Crows perched in the trees – calling in conversation
And the hummingbirds fluttering in their perennial dance
With my eyes closed let me pretend That the rustle of the leaves in the wind in Sudbury Is the sound of the sea in Ellisville
Liz says…Years ago, when we were in our 40’s, my husband and I bought a sundial with the saying “grow old along with me–the best is yet to be.” I’m not sure whether or not I believed it then, and I’m wondering whether I believe it now. Stay tuned.