Trapped in a Vacation Place
Before I left Tucson for our summer trip to Cape Cod, I pledged to some of my friends that this time I would take a real vacation. And Cape Cod is a perfect place for that — isn’t it? A true vacation land with plenty of the opportunities for having fun: going to the beach, art festivals, or outdoor music performances; visiting art galleries, bicycling, or dining at the restaurants with an ocean view. President Obama seems to think so too! He and his family are vacationing over here lately — not on the Cape, but on the very near island Martha’s Vineyard that offers much more privacy than the Cape. The Vineyard is well known as the celebrities’ vacation spot and it is accessible by boat or by air only. This island is so close to the Cape that some people can even swim to it. Not me! I, as most people who do not own a boat or an airplane, can get there by ferry. However I will not attempt to go there this week — let the Obamas have their vacation.
For me coming to the Cape is not really a vacation adventure, but more like a homecoming.
Cape Cod is the place where I made a home for myself in this country. Falmouth, Woods Hole, North Falmouth, Mashpee, and Hyannis are especially dear to me. I rooted here after my emigration from Poland. Here both of my sons were born (in this blog, I will call them Taurus and Leo — according to their Zodiac signs), and this is the place where they grew up. Here I became a naturalized American, and here also I faced my big challenges of becoming a writer — first for the Cape Cod Times and later for the Cape Cod Life. Consequently, the Cape became a true home for me. My bonds with this area, I dare to say, are even stronger than the bonds with my native Poland.
Our house here has its own long and complicated story plus plenty of peculiarities. It is a very unique house — there is no house like that around. “Oh, really?” one might ask. Yes, really. It was designed and built mostly by the hands of two people, who were deeply in love. The house was a part of their great dream. But the lovers abandoned that dream of togetherness and went their separate ways. Their love died, but the house remained and stood strong.
With time passing, the house has grown and changed just as our life has changed. For me, especially during the hardship of single motherhood, that house became a good, protective friend. It became my Tara!
More years passed and another big change faced the house — Taurus, Leo and I flew far away from it, and each flew in a different direction.
I followed my “call of the Southwest” and settled in Tucson, Arizona. Since then, the house has changed its meaning for me, but not its importance. Today it is like a book, or rather like a living diary. Looking at almost anything in this house feels like opening a page of that diary. It is absorbing, and it is time consuming.
Driving by familiar places is similar. Oh, here is the Falmouth Hospital where Taurus and Leo were born, and here is the North Falmouth Elementary School where they made their first steps in formal education. Oh, and here is the Silver Beach where they built their sand castles, and here is the Megansett Beach to which in later years they bicycled with their friends — free and happy! And there are so many “oh, here!” places like the Falmouth High School where they became young adults. That goes on and on… I become wrapped in nostalgia and start to feel ancient.
“Hey,” I say to myself in an attempt to shake off this mood, “you are supposed to have fun — go to the beach!” I try to remind myself about that pledge of having a vacation here. But is it really possible? I look around and can almost hear that ‘person-house’ talking to me: “You should trim the bushes,” and “How about fixing that door?” And the house continues, “Alicja, the deck was not stained for almost two years!” and “When are you going to get rid of the poison ivy?” So I became anxious and even angry.
Why is this house so demanding? Actually, it always was, but this summer is even more demanding, because it needs extra care and attention. It does not want to give up its status of being HOME and to become a secondary house. It does not want to be rented for another winter season and serve some strangers. It fears those changes. It fears being sold. In a true reality I know that those fears are really mine.
What I am discovering this summer is that it is not so easy to become a vacationer in the place that I invested myself so strongly and have so many memories. I guess I have to practice vacationing! So today I am going to the beach.
Before I go however, I would like to thank those of you who subscribed to my blog, and those who wrote your supportive comments. Thanks to you, the Internet is not as dark and as impersonal a place for me as it was before. After all, is it not indifference that writers fear most? I do. So I am happy to have you there!
Many thanks again, and here are three photos for you from my North Falmouth.
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