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A Special Place Called 'Liberty Street'

Chauffeured in the beautifully restored wooden Chris Craft owned by island neighbor and friend Ron Konig (at the wheel), Judson and Sally are off to a favorite lakeside restaurant for their 50th wedding anniversary dinner, September 6, 2008. Family members followed in another boat for a festive evening. Chauffeured in the beautifully restored wooden Chris Craft owned by island neighbor and friend Ron Konig (at the wheel), Judson and Sally are off to a favorite lakeside restaurant for their 50th wedding anniversary dinner, September 6, 2008. Family members followed in another boat for a festive evening.

Throughout all the years, we were always doing or planning projects. One winter we had the entire dock rebuilt with pressure-treated lumber. That spring we expanded the breakwater. Because we felt the house could use more light and better access to the views, we added, over a period of two years, a dozen five-foot-high picture windows throughout the living room, pool-table area, kitchen, and even upstairs in our bedroom. Wow–what a difference they made! Early on I purchased a fourth lot on the east side (putting our overall water frontage today at 679 feet).

Other projects included building a combination workbench area and dining room off the kitchen, large enough to seat about 20. Oh, yes–and 10 years ago we put a brand-new (and more powerful) engine in One Egg.

Time went on, summer after summer, until, lo and behold, the “girls” at Liberty Street became wives. J.D., Dan, and Chris married Cindy, Carolyn, and Catherine. At last we had daughters–well, daughters-in-law. It doesn’t seem that it was very long thereafter that eight grandchildren came along–four boys and four girls. How they all loved to stretch out on the dock for hours, slathered with suntan lotion, occasionally swimming out to the floating raft. Dan anchored out there each spring. Lots of water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, and sailing, too. When my sister’s family, Vermonters all, spent the weekend with us, always bringing their guitars, banjos, and singing voices, Liberty Street was filled with music. Beautiful music.

Now comes the difficult part of my story. Are you ready? Okay. We as a family have decided to put Liberty Street on the market this summer.

Why? Why? our friends have been asking us–and I find it difficult to answer them. Maybe the best I can do is to quote Sally’s late mother, who, when she moved into the same retirement home in which Sally and I now live, said, “It’s time to turn the page.” So true. When one goes beyond 80, as I have, age is more than “just a number,” as our younger friends maintain. It’s when it’s suddenly quite difficult to get into One Egg–and even more difficult to get out! It’s when that staircase up to the bedrooms at Liberty Street seems pretty darned steep. How did that happen? And the boys? Well, most of their children are either in college or scattered far and wide. Need I explain more?

It’s hard for all of us in the family to imagine summers without Liberty Street. On the other hand, I have to assume that it’ll always be with me. Always. So I’ll end my “House for Sale” story this month with something I wrote years ago. When I was young. It always chokes me up a little–especially now. But here goes …

“At a certain time when I’m old, I know where I’ll be, wherever I am. It will be very early on a calm, warm late-June morning on Lake Winnipesaukee. I’ll walk down to the water’s edge below my house on Sleepers Island, rest on the bench we had built there years before, and sip from a mug of hot coffee. From the distance, I’ll hear the faint sound of an outboard motor, but the huge lake before me, lying there in its myriad of undulating reflections, will be otherwise free of human activity. Then, far down near The Witches and Forty Islands, I’ll see a dark, faintly ominous-looking band of ruffled water creeping slowly toward me along the entire breadth of the lake, from Meredith Bay to Moultonborough Neck. There’ll be long-ago voices and laughter like distant music. A solitary leaf on the poplar tree leaning over the shore near me will flap lazily as if in preparation for the daily summertime wind–inevitably on its way, as always. While I wait for it calmly in the temporary magical stillness of early morning, just as I’ve done a thousand times before, I’ll look across the water to the hills that rise over the faraway shores and then on and on beyond for miles and miles of misty blue mountains to the north.”

Well, at least, after 43 years, Liberty Street has made it onto the pages of Yankee Magazine.

Read stories about Liberty Street written by Jud Hale’s three sons.

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9 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!

  9. Fannyv Diehl August 6, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

    I remember that day distinctly, since I was the owner of the A frame and , at that time, Paul’s wife. I remember it was a drizzly day. When I deplored the weather, you said you would write the property up with the weather so gray, and then state that if it is this nice in the rain imagine how gorgeous it will be in the sunshine! I’ve never forgotten that conversation; I was impressed that you could take a situation and make a positive out of a negative.

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