A Special Place Called 'Liberty Street'
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.