Our month on Cape Cod—day 24

~Monday~ We made the 1.5-hour drive to Fall River and back where Vivian and I showed Jeff and Bob many of the places we lived in that city.

Fall River is where both of our parents and their families are from, and we moved around a lot in that area as my dad did a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam and then was on “recruiting duty” (for the United States Marine Corp) and moved to wherever they needed a recruiter next.

Here are the houses we visited today:

914 Eastern Avenue | Fall River, MA | February 1961 – January 1963. While we lived here, John was 4-6 years old and Vivian was 1-3 years old. The street to the left side of the house (in the first picture) seemed like a very steep hill at the time, and John rode his new bike down it one time, gaining so much speed that he made a sharp turn into a driveway to try and slow down, lost control, and crashed with the handle bar going through his left (face) cheek. He still has the scar to prove it, because dad didn’t think it was worth going for stitches about it and just taped it together.

Front entrance
Side entrance

72 Dover Street | Fall River, MA | November 1964 – December 1964 and June 1966 – July 1966. We lived here the first time was when John was 7 and Vivian was 4, and the second time was when John was 8 and Vivian was 5. Our vovó (“vah-voh”) and vovô (“vah-voo”) owned this 3-story house—where they lived on the first floor, our aunt Vivian (my dad’s sister) lived on the 2nd floor, and our uncle Eddie and Aunt Laura lived on the 3rd floor—and we stayed with my grandparents for these 2 short periods of time until we found a house of our own to live in while dad did each of his 1-year tours of duty in Vietnam.

The 3-story view
This front porch used to be screened-in, and my grandfather sat on it a lot, sometimes playing his mandolin
Apparently a Martin (no relation) still resides on one floor of the house
We used to get “penny candy” from “Mr. Harris” at this store a hundred years ago

22B Carver Street | Fall River, MA. Our mémère and pépère, our maternal grandparents, lived here for a while, and it was virtually “around the corner” from my paternal grandparents’ house on Dover street. Their address was “22B” and it was the bottom right apartment.

56 Howland Street | Fall River, MA | July 1966 – December 1968. While we lived here, John was 9-10, and Vivian was 6-7. We remember a “mean landlord,” Mr. Daniels, who lived on the first floor of this house, while we rented the second floor from him. We went in that door to the right, which had the stairs to the upstairs just inside of it. Vivian remembers friends of hers while we lived here named “Norene and Dorene” and whose fingers were fused—two of their own fingers fused together, not one of Norene’s fingers fused to Dorene.

45 Breezy Lake Drive | Coventry, RI | December 1968 – December 1969. While we lived here, John was 11, and Vivian was 8. We lived in this split-level house for a year while my dad was in Vietnam the second time. My aunt Annette (my mother’s sister) and her husband, Uncle Frank, lived in the downstairs, which had been closed off as its own apartment. All the while (and for a total of 30 years), my uncle was building the house next door. He was a stone mason, and he cut each individual stone of the exterior of the house to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. There are a couple of other pictures of the house in this old posting of John’s. Breezy Lake was behind these houses and we had lots of fun ice skating on it.

The split level next door
The house that Uncle Frank built

Other places from our childhood that we visited today included:

This is a hot dog place we lived for as children, and one of the things we missed most moving down south. Sad, but true.

St. John’s Club
St John’s Club is “the Portuguese club” that my dad belonged to for years and years, and where he was sort-of a “local hero” (being a Marine, going off to war and back). There were 2 sides to the club, the bar (where only men could go), and the restaurant side, which included a jukebox that Vivian and I used to do The Salty Dog Rag and a line dance to a couples dance to Winchester Cathedral. Today, we ordered some steamed clams and some chourico (Portuguese sausage) sandwiches, 2 of our childhood favorites.

Notre Dame Cemetery
We brought Vivian and Jeff by to visit our grandparents, who Bob and I had visited the first week we were here.

Paternal grandparents
Maternal grandparents

We had a full day and completely forgot about visiting the Lizzy Borden house, about which we’re okay.

Back at the house, we played a game of Scrabble, skipped dinner in favor of appetizers, and later played some Catch Phrase.

Bob, John, & Vivian’s Scrabble game
A peach and jalapeño cheese ball

On our way out of Fall River, we dropped by to see our Aunt Vivian and Uncle Nibby, spending about a half hour sitting in their driveway catching up with them. So nice.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 23

~Sunday~ We showed Vivian and Jeff the Nauset Light lighthouse and beach, and they re-created the Cape Cod chip bag pic, and then we stopped by the Eastham Windmill and Memorial Buoy Tree.

Vivian, Jeff, Nauset Light
Vivian, Jeff, windmill

We had lunch at home, and then walked around the Evergreen Congressional & Soldiers Cemetery, marks the site of Eastham’s second meeting house and town center in the same way that the Cove Cemetery marks the location of the original meeting house and settlement.

There was a lot going on at this gravesite. The little animal in the right picture is a “zoom in” of one of those in the trees in the left picture.

A Bob-and-Vivian afternoon project. Today, this looks like a square pan of baked beans, but tomorrow it’s going to be obvious that it’s maple walnut fudge.

Tomorrow we’ll all be heading to “the homestead”—Fall River, Massachusetts, where we’ll drive around and look at these houses we used to live in in the area:

  • 72 Dover Street (where my paternal grandparents lived)
  • 22B Carver Street (where my maternal grandmother lived in her later years)
  • 914 Eastern Avenue
  • 56 Howland Street
  • Warren Street
  • 45 Breezy Lake Drive (Coventry, RI)

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 22

~Saturday~ We’ll always remember where we were when we heard the official declaration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.

We took a walk on the Cape Code Rail Trail, the first time I’ve been on it, and Bob’s fourth. We had beautiful weather for it with a high of 71° today.

This is mostly a biking trail, and in fact, we only saw one other person walking (her dog) the whole time. We were passed by many bikers, with maybe only a third of them giving us a verbal “Coming up on your left” warning, but no one being dangerous in any way. Some of the scenery:

Trail sign
CCRT post
Bob and John

I loved this sign that we saw at a point in the trail where you could step off it and into someone’s backyard. And it reminded me of the meme on the right that I’ve seen several times lately.

All day, we waited in great anticipation of Vivian and Jeff’s (my sister and brother-in-law’s) arrival as they made the 13.5-hour trek up here from Greenville, NC.

Vivian is turning 60 while she’s here (on Thursday), and her “peeps” made her a birthday basket full of snacks and spirits to take on her trip up here, and she brought a special bottle of champagne that we’re going to drink on Thursday.

Today was a good day.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 21

~Friday~ Kathy and I ran to Mac’s Market & Kitchen Eastham to get 2 lbs. of fresh haddock filets for tonight’s dinner.

After dropping it off at home, she and I went to Nauset Light Beach and walked for a little while along the shore. Then, we made a quick visit to the Eastham Windmill and Memorial Buoy Tree.

We picked up lunch at Sam’s Deli, where I ordered The Turkey Club, Bob ordered The Basil Rathbone, and Kathy ordered a cup of their Clam Chowder.

After eating lunch back at the house, the three of us played a game of Scrabble. We were going to wait until we heard an election update to start drinking, but then Kathy—in all her wisdom—asked, “Why?” So, we enjoyed some happy hour cocktails and snacks while we played our game.

Dinner was a real treat tonight. Kathy recently made the news:

Maine Maple Haddock wins big at Maine Maple Producer’s Weekend
Katherine Vaillancourt of Georgetwon, won top entrée at the annual event.

She made this award-winning dish for us for dinner tonight, and Bob supplemented it with some zucchini sautéed in butter and garlic and some mixed greens with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. Kathy also made the iced raisin cookies for dessert.

Complete meal

This dish is award-winning for a reason. Absolutely delicious! Here is the recipe:


  • 2 lbs. fresh haddock filets
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 short sleeves of Ritz crackers (or 1 large sleeve)
  • ½ cup Maine Maple Cream
  • ½ cup milk


  1. Butter 4 individual baking dishes.
  2. Divide haddock into serving size and lay in buttered dishes.
  3. Crush crackers and distribute evenly over fish.
  4. Dot with remaining butter.
  5. Drizzle Maine Maple Cream over butter.
  6. Add milk to each dish to the level of filets.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden.

Makes 4 servings.

In the words of my dear friend, “We made some nice memories today.”

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 20

~Thursday~ It was with great pleasure that I hung out both my figurative and literal, respectively, out-of-the-office message at the end of my work day.

Gone fishing sign Gmail O-O-O autoresponse

Bob walked for about an hour-and-a-half today. He visited the miniature golf course as part of the Red Barn collection of shops. Not exactly sure if that rabbit is getting ready to take a dump or get hit with an errant golf ball in a place that’ll really hurt.

Putt-Putt donkey
Putt-Putt goat Putt-Putt rabbit
Putt-Putt pig

And saw potential retirement editing work for me should we decide to retire in this quiet little town.

Dinning Missing 'on'

Speaking of signs, look at the Roger-superscripted-s Barber Shop. I sort of like it. It’s like a portmanteau of an apostrophe and the possessive “s.”

Barber shop Barber shop name
Pets welcome, people tolerated, mannequins abandoned
People & pets sign Mannequin in door window

The art of art. Buoys-as-art seems popular here. That dentist office sign has a lot going on. Is it a dentist office? Is it an art studio? Is it a dentist with her art displayed in the waiting room? Is it the “fine art of cosmetic dentistry?” It seems to be the latter if her website provides any clarity. And with all that said, she’s very accomplished.

Humanity sign Buoy art Fine art of dentistry

One of my favorite people from high school arrived late this afternoon, and we had a wonderful evening eating, catching up, and playing games. Bob made dinner and Kathy provided the homemade Boston Cream Pie for dessert. Bourbon and wine may have been consumed throughout the evening.

Catch Phrase
Dinner Boston Cream Pie

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 19

~Wednesday~ Bob made a grocery shopping run to the Stop & Shop this morning.

We took separate walks again today, with Bob doing his during the work day, and me doing mine after work, which felt a little bit rushed because sunset was at 4:28 today. Thanks, Daylight Saving Time.

Bob walked 3.84 miles to and back from the Cape Cod Bay coast, where he passed this (closed) thrift store and peered into its windows:

Thrift Store Thrift store window 1
Thrift store window 2 Thrift store window close-up

and spent a little time on the shore, where he saw various and sundry things.

A rocky shoreline
Sunset on the bay
A horseshoe crab
And its innards
Horseshoe crab under
Some seaweed
Some seaweed
A crab
A crab

My walk was 1.34 miles, and I captured the signs of several of the little “shopping centers” that are within walking distance of our place.

Seatoller Eastham Common Main Street Mercantile Village Green

I also came upon this strange looking building, which really stood out due to its color. Almost all of the other houses here are that classic Cape Cod gray color that the top part of this one is.

The place was all closed up, with a cinderblock standing in front of the side door. And through the window, you could see stairs, which seemed to be right in front of the window, leading to a second floor.

And two final things—one from my walk and one from Bob’s.

A roadside ghost bike
A sign of kindness

Tomorrow is my last day of work here, and I plan to start early and finish early, as my high school friend is arriving in the late afternoon.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 18

~Tuesday~ I had no work meetings today, but I did have a 5- to 10-minute impromptu video chat initiated by a colleague who’s good about keeping in touch.

We both took walks today, Bob’s earlier in the day and much longer than mine. I did mine after work, and, no, I didn’t purposely walk a route that would look like an erect penis in the MapMyWalk app. It just happened—like good, morning wood.

Bob’s walk: 2.9 miles
John’s walk: .65 miles

Before I set out on my walk, I checked out the laundry and book exchange building, which Bob has been in several times now, but I hadn’t yet seen.

In checking out the book collection, I saw the book Bob just finished reading (highlighted in red) beside the book he contributed (highlighted in green) to the collection.

This was my first walk just to get some exercise (which I had planned to do every day while we were here since we don’t have access to an elliptical machine, but I haven’t done it), and I went into the US Post Office, which Bob also has been to several times, just to check it out. It’s much bigger than I had imagined.

I also noticed that this building that I thought was a house is actually a bank. Other than the mention of an ATM (and, admittedly, the “Member FDIC” notation, if you know what that is), it’s not at all obvious it’s a bank. Maybe if instead of the “5,” it said “nickel,” or the “5” was paired with “& Dime,” it’d’ve been obvious.

Bob made a “Fall River staple” from my childhood for us for dinner tonight. It was “beef chow mein,” as we added ground beef to it along with the sliced celery and chopped onions. Yummy!

It’s time to brace ourselves for the evening (and probably days to come) with some bourbon and champagne on hand (for various outcomes) as Election Day 2020 unfolds.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 17

~Monday~ Today is the first day of my (short) last week working while we’re here. I’m taking off Friday, all next week while my sister and her husband are here, and the following Monday, which is the day we drive back.

Today I thought about the clocks that we’ll have to adjust the time on when we get home.

There are 12 of them, and these are in addition to the 6 that we have that adjust themselves. Why in the world would 2 people have 18 clocks you wonder, and where in the heck are they all? Good question about why so many, and here’s the inventory:

To be manually adjusted Self-adjusting
  1. Primary bedroom nightstand (digital)
  2. Primary bathroom (digital)
  3. Music/TV room (digital)
  4. Music/TV room (analog)
  5. Living room (analog)
  6. Kitchen radio (digital)
  7. Microwave (digital)
  8. Stove (digital)
  9. Office desk (digital)
  10. Guest bathroom (analog)
  11. Back porch (analog)
  12. Ford Fusion (digital)
  1. John’s Lenovo PC
  2. Bob’s Dell PC
  3. John’s iPhone
  4. Bob’s iPhone
  5. John’s ThinkPad work laptop
  6. Shed radio

Bob did some laundry today, and he took advantage of the little book exchange there to borrow The President’s Lady.

I started on my 62nd book to add to my collection of 2020 books read to date.

Like a lot of people in our country tonight, we’re anxious about what tomorrow will bring, but at least we’ll always remember where we were for Election Day 2020.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 16

~Sunday~ Bob made breakfast for our guests today—scrambled eggs & sausage. I buttered and lightly pan-toasted some massa—Portuguese sweet bread. We served it all with a side of mimosas.

Before they headed back to Dorchester, Boston, we made the short ride to Nauset Beach so Maggie and Phil could see the beach.

We saw a bunch of birds out a ways on the water, and a seal very close to shore. I hope it was on high alert:

Great white sharks hunt seals in shallow water at this beach.”
Shark lunch!

Sign of the times

And down on the beach, we saw this perplexing sight:

That bird had one broken leg, and it was chowing down on that young buck.

Maggie and Phil headed out from the beach. Back at the house, Bob and I had a relaxing afternoon that included a nap and a game of IRL Scrabble accompanied by happy hour.

For dinner, we had the leftovers of the meal Maggie made and brought yesterday.

In the evening, Bob (re-)watched Airport, and I finished my 61st book of the year, Olive, Again.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 15

~Saturday~ We had planned to check out the meat raffle to see what it was all about, but when we got to the Eastham Elk’s Lodge, where it’s held, there wasn’t anyone there.

Our next stop was going to be the Eastham Superette to pick up some champagne—in it, or in the attached liquor store—and to see what they actually carry in that little store for future reference. Outside the Superette was this little gem of a sculpture:

“Cape Cod Gothic” – 2016 (Anita & Seymour Codd)
Jamie DaLomba – Metal Sculpture Art; JJ Welding – North Eastham
Also nearby, I cannot lie, was this intimidating street.

and coming out of the store, we noticed that the Eastham Windmill, which we had planned to check out at some point, was right across the street. Also on “the green” near the windmill was a “Memorial Buoy Tree,” which is a tribute to its deceased creator, Eastham native James Filliman, who was “a clammer, a builder, a beach walker and collector, who enjoyed using things he found in nature.” Read Jimmy’s obit, if you’re interested.

Maggie, Bob’s niece—his oldest sister’s daughter—and her partner Phil arrived today from Dorchester, Boston for an overnight visit. Maggie’s a chef for a living, and she brought dinner!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie: Spicy ground beef with olives and raisins topped with whipped sweet potatoes; Cauliflower: Roasted with browned butter, cilantro, pepitas, and lime; Mixed Greens: Pumpkin spiced-pecans, cranberries, crumbled goat cheese

After dinner and many cocktails, we played a fun game during which we laughed and laughed and laughed:

“What’s something you do that’s irresponsible? was one of our questions, which led to hilarity.
Saving pennies on the penny

Here are some of the words contained in our collective responses. Two of them were kind-of popular:

It was a real fun evening—laughing a lot and learning a lot about each other. And bonus—we got an extra hour of sleep afterward.

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