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.

Main door of our house

Main door of our house

Megansett Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

At the Megansett Beach

Sunset at the Megansett Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Sunset at the Megansett Beach

* * *

Copyright © 2010 by Alicja Mann

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18 Comments on “Trapped in a Vacation Place”

  1. Ken C Says:

    Nice. You are a person of many lives

  2. Lesley Says:

    It’s great to hear from you and to see photos of the Cape, a place that is dear in my memories as well, though much further back! Hope you and David are having a wonderful time and look forward to seeing you when you return. Don’t hurry back, though–it’s very hot here. I have a job interview Wednesday at Pima, so wish me luck! It’s a job I think I would very much like. Love, Lesley

  3. Monika Says:

    Alicjo, przepiekne zdjecia!

  4. Marina Says:

    Wonderful, Alicja! Once again, I have gotten teary reading what you have to say.

    The photos are so beautiful. I hope you had a good time at the beach and that with each day you experience more reconciliation, more relaxation, and that ultimately the trip mostly leaves you feeling peaceful, happy and renewed. Thank you for sharing this very special piece of your life in words and pictures.

  5. Carla Says:

    Beautiful house! Lovely pictures! I hope you keep your house … no one will love it like you do. Also, having it as a retreat must be very beneficial. I think “vacation” means a place to go to refresh your mind and forget work-a-day concerns. This house sounds more like a retreat, where you visit and refresh different aspects of your heart and mind. With beach, music, and art nearby… also poison ivy, but it sounds like a wonderful place to escape the heat of Arizona. Which is making us all grumpy, fretful, irritable and tired of staying inside. Enjoy! Post more pictures!

  6. Alicja Mann Says:

    Thank you Carla for sharing your thoughts. Yes, I do enjoy being here and will post more photos. I hope you will get some nice rain over there. Warm greetings from this green, narrow land.

  7. […] Alicja Mann Waves Notes on events, ideas & places « Trapped in a Vacation Place […]

  8. Erika Hahn Says:

    Alicja, I cannot wait to see you tonight after a whole year has passed again. I wanted to comment on this blog. I really enjoyed reading it and subscribed. Yes, this is North Falmouth in its glory. I have a lot of fond, interesting memories your house and that front door image conjure up for me as well, your neighbor for these many 30 years or more, playing with the Taurus and Leo and the many wonderful conversations and food and drink we have all enjoyed as guests in that living room!

  9. Pam Says:

    I loved this piece and the following ones on your visit to Old Silver Beach. Great photos! I’m sending the link to Chris.

  10. Joe Bourne Says:

    Hello Alicja,

    Thank you for sharing your story and beautiful photos.

    I was in Martha’s Vineyard in July and was smitten by the Cape Cod feeling. Those homes are hard to come by. So try to hang on.

    Take care

  11. […] arrive — autumn’s messenger. So I would sit for a while on my favorite rock in the yard near the house, wrapped in that soft warmth, and watch things around me. I would imagine leaves falling from the […]

  12. […] Actually I was able to recreate that special mood and importance of my favorite day of Christmas — Christmas Eve — in our home on Cape Cod. […]

  13. Jane Says:

    Hi Alicja!
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blog posts about North Falmouth to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you 🙂

  14. […] Trapped in a Vacation Place […]

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