Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the Beginning...

As far as I knew, the piece of land where now stands Oak Hill Lodge, had only belonged most recently to my Uncle Bob (Robert Bartlett)and his wife Marge and to my fraternal Grandparents Joseph Lawrence Bartlett and his wife Marion Morse Bartlett. As a child I have great memories of going there to help my grandfather with his vegetable garden. I am remembering the garden to take up an acre or so... (not sure, I would have been 7 or younger) and full of all sorts of varieties of vegetables. Mostly, I remember being told not to touch the green beans if they were wet, as it might cause "rust" on them. And digging potatoes... what fun to dig potatoes. I am sure I did not man the shovel, but have fond memories of rooting through the loosened soil to discover all sorts of sizes of potatoes. There were big ones all the ways down to marble-sized ones. Helping Grandpa pull beets and carrots was another highlight. Most usually, Grammie would ask us to pull the beets when the beets were itty-bitty because they prefered the beet greens when they are younger and more tender. The land, then called the field, was about 3/4 of a mile up around the top of Great Salt Bay from my grandparents home. After my Grandpa died in 1962, we only visited the field on a limited basis. For several years when the girls were all small we would go there to cut our Christmas trees with our dear friends Doug and Brandy Rink. Brandy would always make a thermos of hot chocolate and as the years went by, even started bringing a most delicious hot buttered rum in a second thermos for the grown-ups. Brandy and I would scout around the land, kids in tow, in search of that special tree. Mind you, the trees were wild and definitely lacked the finess of trees to be found on a tree lot but they were always a bit better than a true "Charlie Brown Tree" and the adventure and commradery proved to be the best part of it anyway. I don't think we ever went to the field more than a few times during the summer and most of those were when Uncle Bob might ask us to check it if he had gotten some calls of things being dumped in there, or kids partying there. He eventually had the busted up floor of a neighbors garage dumped at the entryway to discourage such visitors. Uncle Bob was the best at keeping in touch. Perhaps because he had spent most of his adult life travelling in sales or just better about making trips to visit family; he did a great job of making the trip from Michigan to Maine most every year. Sometimes, Marge and his boys; Bobby, Scott and Marty would come, but most often just Uncle Bob would show up always unexpectedly at our doors.
He never wanted his visits to be a burden so felt that the element of surprise would keep us from going out of our way to get ready for him. No matter what, it was always great to see him.
It was on one of these late summer visits that this story really gets its start. Uncle Bob had an envelope in his hand which he asked us to look at. We started to open it and he said we should wait until we had some quiet time to look it over. That evening, while sipping on a glass of wine, I opened it to find it was the deeds to the land. Thinking he would like us to research something about it for him, as I assumed his sons would eventually inherit it; I looked it over and returned it to the envelope. Later that evening, Uncle Bob joined us at the cottage for dinner. We asked how we could help him with the land and he answered that he wanted us to have it! We were
a crazy combination of thrilled, amazed and overwhelmed. He explained that his sons would never be back this way and he knew we were most likely to enjoy it. He said that he just wanted to settle it all before he left the next afternoon. So, lucky for us, our lawyer has his office right up over the print shop and a second lawyer with whom we are friendly has his office up the other stairwell. Ahhh, the advantages of a small town! Eric pulled in a huge favor by asking if they could arrange the transaction that very day... they agreed and at the front counter of the print shop the deal was done!

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