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A Special Place Called 'Liberty Street'

A Special Place Called ‘Liberty Street’
9 votes, 4.89 avg. rating (95% score)

The northwest half of the first floor had a stone fireplace (now with a deer head over it) and comfortable furniture, all of which we eventually replaced. Sliding doors opened to that part of the deck overlooking Rattlesnake and Diamond islands. The southwest part of that first-floor space had more furniture back then, but later we purchased from an island neighbor an antique pool table for that area. It had originally been in a Boston pool hall. It was in constant use from then on. I can still hear in my mind today the gentle clicking of those pool balls late into our summer evenings.

But I’m getting ahead of my story.

From the deck outside the pool-table area, we looked southwest to Gunstock Mountain, which became the major ski area for our family, and farther on down toward Alton Bay, destined to be one of our favorite lake towns for breakfast, ice cream, and, when our grandchildren were little, miniature golf.

After looking at the three bedrooms and bathroom (one of three on the property) upstairs, we walked through the kitchen, with its six-chair table in the center, to the deck on the east side, where morning sun was streaming through the pines. The view from there, Paul explained, was toward Wolfeboro. “It’s about a 20-minute boat ride,” he said. Little did we know then how many dozens of dinners we were destined to enjoy over there. And, oh, those gorgeous rides home in the moonlight!

During our chats while meandering about, we learned that Paul and Fannie were newlyweds, a second marriage for both, but I couldn’t get them to fully explain their reason for selling–and somehow I didn’t feel comfortable pressing the matter.

Meanwhile, Sally and J.D. had inspected the bunkhouse (a few years later, our son, Dan, would spend his summer expanding that building–ending up with a capacity to sleep 12), and then they proceeded to walk the entire 100-acre island on a path that, a few years later, would be greatly upgraded by members (including us) of the Sleepers Island Association.

“It’s a beautiful island,” Sally said to Fannie upon their return, “but you have the best spot.” Fannie agreed, saying that a friend of hers had bought the entire island in the early 1960s and then divided it into lots for sale. He offered Fannie first choice–she could have whichever lots she wanted. She bought the three surrounding the northwest point.

This favorite family picture of the Hales at Liberty Street in the summer of 1972 was taken by a noted New Hampshire photographer, the late Eric Sanford, who, while standing precariously in a small rowboat (named Wah), nearly lost his balance—and would have fallen overboard. (From left: J.D., Dan, Chris, Sally, Daisy, and Judson.)

Photo/Art by Judson D. Hale Sr.
This favorite family picture of the Hales at Liberty Street in the summer of 1972 was taken by a noted New Hampshire photographer, the late Eric Sanford, who, while standing precariously in a small rowboat (named Wah), nearly lost his balance—and would have fallen overboard. (From left: J.D., Dan, Chris, Sally, Daisy, and Judson.)

Now we come to the key moment of my story. It occurred on our drive home to Dublin, New Hampshire, later that day. Here’s how I remember our conversation …

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8 Responses to A Special Place Called ‘Liberty Street’

  1. Kathleen Conner July 13, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    What a moving story about the life of a lovely family. The life of a summer home and the love shared there. It was the sharing of a glorious life lived by a blessed few. Thank You for sharing the dream with so many who may otherwise have completely missed out. I wish I could go spend a few weeks at “Liberty Street” myself this summer.

  2. ann scourtes July 13, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    very nice story

  3. Sarah West Coast July 19, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    This is a lovely story. My family parted with our summer memory-laden lakeside house in Maine years ago, though all of us remember it so fondly. It was part of the inspiration for my husband and me to buy a small waterfront cottage in Westport Mass., so we could make wonderful memories for our kids. Now that we live on the West Coast and the children are growing and heading off to summer camps and travel, it’s too hard to maintain, so we have decided to sell. But, as the author writes, a part of us will always be there.

  4. Chuck Owen July 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    I know your property quite well as I am good friends with 2 of your neighbors, the Gowland’s and Leach’s. Mark has been a long time friend and similar to yourself, a boyz weekend on Father’s Day is always had. As with you, a little work but, more socializing. Through my work at the Boston Globe, I came to know Cindy, J.D. wife. In a few conversations with her, we revealed a common interest, Sleepers Island.
    It made me sad to hear earlier this summer that you were selling the property, it makes me sadder reading such a great story. Whenever I fish around the point ( I’ve caught a lot of smallmouth just off your property ) I will think of this story and think of the good fortune my friends have been able to share in Sleeper’s. The most beautiful sun sets around!
    Be well.

  5. Denise Gonyer July 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    What a great story! A real tear jerker…You are have been so fortunate to make these memories to cherish forever and ever. You, your family and friends have been truly blessed. It is so great to hear this story..the island life is so different than the inland life. Thanks for sharing this great story of our beautiful lake! Gilford’s Town Clerk, Denise Gonyer

  6. Louise Fournier Perry August 5, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    What a beautiful heartfelt story! I know exactly how you feel. We just sold our beloved family home that was in our family for 62 years. The beautiful memories of family and friends will last a lifetime. It was so sad and difficult to walk out that door for the last time. We were lucky to have grown up in that beautiful house with the best parents in the world! It was bought by a young couple who had previously looked at
    50 homes. The minute they walked into our home they said they could feel the love in the old antique colonial. It now will have a new family to fill the rooms with laughter. When I was leaving the house for the last time I thanked it for all the beautiful memories that will always live on in our hearts…

  7. ed violante August 5, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Lovely story about fond memories.Reminds me of my uncle’s home in new York state.Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Faye August 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    I loved your story — it was sad, sweet, funny & lovely. You are so lucky to have had a place on the lake, with your beautiful family. I bet you have great memories!

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