What began as a drive to the water department's Meshacket Road office to pay my water bill ended up as a wistful and nostalgic trip out to the old Wintucket water works, the location of the small cabin in which my family lived for several summers during the late 1970s and early 1980s when Paul managed what was then the Edgartown Water Company.
I had not been down the road to the old pumping station for many, many years. Knowing that the cabin that had been our summer home had been bulldozed down several years back, I just couldn't face the place, preferring to relegate it to happy memories.
But now that the water department's office is out at Wintucket - which I discovered upon my arrival at the Meshacket Road office - and with my water bill overdue, there was no avoiding a face-to-face encounter with the past.
After paying my bill in the big new office, I took a right at the end of the road, parked the car, and wandered around the place.
Standing in our former backyard and seeing the old brick pump house - smelling the sweet fern and hearing the summer sounds - was straight out of a dream. The building was the same unique and distinguishable shape, but of course most everything else was very different. The tall forest that had surrounded the building was gone; the garage; our little house - all gone. But the memories- who can bulldoze these down - of walking the trails and picking high-bush blueberries; searching for arrowheads; the tire swing that hung from a high oak; swimming and boating off of the old dike; and one of my all-time favorite memories as a mother, from our second summer in the cabin when our oldest child would have been around age four: I was tucking Adam into bed on our first night back when the whippoorwill outside the cabin window struck up its call, "Whippoorwill, whippoorwill," when Adam, in a moment of recognition, perked up and said, "There's my old friend, the whippoorwill."
I peeked in the window, looking for - what? Something familiar, something left behind? But all I saw was a bunch of junk and my own ghost-like reflection.
The only original outbuilding that remains.
Adam, at the old dike that separates the fresh water on the right from the brackish, Wintucket Cove water on the left, circa 1980. This body of water was an integral part of the functioning of the old pumping station that was once the sole source of Edgartown's Water.