New England Heritage Door on Squam Hill


~ Thank you, Norm Frampton for his “Thursday’s Doors.” I appreciate my readers who use their creative minds to visualize,  as I attempt to “draw” Doors for you from my past, so far.

Check out all the new links and our photographic fellow bloggers at:

If you have read some of my past true stories, you may know I spent my 16th summer in Rockport, Massachusetts. My Mom’s 16th summer was much more exciting since there was Victory in WWII, 1940-something. . . She handed out free ice cream cones given in celebration by my Great Uncle George at Tuck’s Pharmacy and Candy Shoppe close to Bear Skin Neck.

By the time I was sixteen, my parents drove my brothers and me out to visit my cousins and extended Swedish 1/4 part of “our blood” family.

I was happy to see the folks leave after a week and waved glibly, “Farewell to rules, Hello, Freedom!”

The talent and trade of my craftsman Great Grandfather was that of a stone mason. How he met my Great Grandmother in Sweden and coaxed her first, into marrying him and then, crossing the Atlantic Ocean is in my first 50 posts, “Love Story: European Style.”

The above details were given as background information leading us to climbing up a steep and winding road know as Squam Hill.

As I did this several times on foot with my coworker, Jo Ann Barnes from Rockport or my Cousin Johnny.  We would stop and look at many historic homes along the way.

What is called affectionately by family members is the peak of the hill:
“John’s Rock.”

Many stone walls in this area were built and carefully crafted to look like simply stacked rocks. The artistry is seen by their longevity and the way creeping wild vines and wildflowers do not destroy them. The way nature melds with the hand crafted stone walls makes beautiful pictures.

On John’s Rock, there is a gray granite house, with hints of pinkish tones in the rock. The house glistens in the sunlight with quartzite and mica crystals catching and refracting the light.

There is a set of sturdy cement steps with edging made of flat rocks. The wall around this porch is thick and made of stacked stones. In the heat of the summer this house has trees towering over it.  When you sit on the porch the stones fill you with a coolness, almost a chilly place to read a book on a chair.

As you walk around the wall and onto the porch you will see a beautiful doorway with a large weathered door knocker. It is in the shape of a brass anchor. There is greenish tone to this old nautical-styled knocker, as the salty sea air can rise up and float on the fog or mist of early morning.

On either side of the door are peregrine falcons made from poured concrete into sturdy heavy metal forms to cast these two elegant vanguards protecting the door. They came to above my knees at this age.

If you are a collector of old masonry and garden statues, you will recognize the grayish color tone of these fine birds. There are a few places which resemble “pock marks” which probably came from the same humid, sea salt air wearing away the cement in small places.

Side note #1:
When I saw Rooks made at the Rookwood Pottery Company in Cincinnati, Ohio (from ancient kilns) I wanted to exclaim, “My Great Grandpa designed a similar pose with a different hooked beak elegant bird.”

The door had three sets of two panels making six rectangles in this thick door. The stain had darkened and aged but I  am wondering, which indigenous heavy wood tree was used?
Any suggestions of New England trees which could remind you in appearance of mahogany?

No windows on the deep brown door but on each side there were windows which were what I consider “bedroom window size” although the door led into a small parlour.

Traditional homes in the 60’s and 70’s in Rockport had cafe window style curtains in crisp, short white ruffled top and longer white crisp bottom that went only half way down the wall.

My Mom imitated this style on their retirement cottage’s windows on Lake Erie.

Mom had beach glass in bottles, some cobalt blue clear and others were lighter blue clear bottles on the ledge where the bottom half would display these light catchers.

My Great Grandpa’s house was occupied by Great Uncle George when he was younger with his wife and three boys. Once grown, Edward was chosen to be the occupant with his wife and two children.
Roger Tuck became the confectionery manager of a candy factory.
John came home from Vietnam and became an artist.
Edward took over the pharmacy having come back and used the G.I. Bill to get his education.
Great Uncle George and my Grandpa Mattson’s sister, Dorothy, got married years before I came up to visit. They had simplified their lives living above Tucks Pharmacy. I was hired as a candy seller living above the shop, too. I worked 7:00 am until 2:00 pm so had many hours exploring Cape Ann and seeing my “maiden” aunts, cousins and making new friends.

I loved my Great Auntie Marie the best, along with my Great Aunt Dot, as they called Dorothy, and my Great Uncle George. I listened to their stories all summer long and enjoyed writing and knowing them for years and years. In 1999, my ex-husband and I had a great chance to travel and see Aunt Marie, along with Ed’s personal video he made of the “Perfect Storm.”

If I left off any details of the door and house I apologize.

My Cousin  Eddie and his wife with two children had an architect design a building which housed an in ground pool. There was an enclosed breezeway, adjoining the original old- fashioned designed house.

They had a large living room with enough seating for their church choir to come for weekly practices with potluck. I would benefit two ways: by babysitting Cheryl and  Brian, I got paid well and the bounty of delicious fish, side dishes or burgers and chicken on the grill.

Side note # 2:
Last but not least, in 1971, I was given downstairs, in the pharmacy, by Great Uncle George a $5 bill to run down Bear Skin Neck and go to the wharf to purchase a large lobster.

Cape Ann is also famous for Rockport’s fishing barn called, “Motif #1.” You see it on calendars of famous Americana scenery and postcards, too.


About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

66 responses »

    • Thank you, Luanne. This has been nice going down memory lane for me, providing some doors to share. I just started this a month ago and was going to evaluate reader’s comments. Every positive comment points this is going ok. Hugs and soon back to work. 15 minute breaks don’t last long!

    • I am happy you are picturing beach glass in bottles and how it really brightens even a winter’s kitchen. Were there any Michigan relatives who had these on their window sills or the top of a closed window, Luanne?

  1. Your descriptions are so good Robin. I almost can’t get the image of a anchor door knocker out of my head. Great job. I’m so glad you have found such an interesting way to join the doors parade.

    • Dan, very grateful for this feedback. I was going to give this process 4 weeks. I was going to check my views, likes and discern whether this was “working out.”
      There are several details I can “see” from that summer. There was a 16 year old boy who was trying to be like James Dean, his white t-shirt rolled up over a pack of cigarettes. He would come in to buy a red pack of Marlboros. My crazy Auntie Marie knew I had a crush on him and we were driving in her little red Fiat and saw the boy, his thumb out. She swerved over and had me get in the back so he was in the front. We found out his name. Dwayne. I used it when he came in to shoot the breeze but never came to the Friday night dances on the Rockport “Square.” Well, this was more fun than I meant to shsre, Dan. 🙂

      • I hope you continue to join us on Thursdays Robin. One of the things the WP community has helped me to understand is that there are many ways to respond to prompts and that a creative response is hard to define, but easy to recognize.

      • Dan, I am thankful for your kind thoughts on this. I enjoy “knowing”who does appear here. I had some concerns about how “afield” I went from my original light-hearted writing direction. Have a relaxing weekend, Dan.

      • Cheryl, next time you head north we can find a halfway place where family can branch out and enjoy. I would drive 3 hours to meet you. Maybe it was our mutual friend, Mark, who had met several fellow bloggers which “spurs” me on. Hugs back and enjoy God’s thumbnail moon tonight or tomorrow night. 🙂 ☆○☆

  2. I enjoyed your nostalgic words and images about New England and the time you spent with your great aunts and uncles.

    I suspect the door you described as looking similar to mahogany may have been a dark-stained oak just because oak is so common. However, hickory is fairly common on the East Coast, too, so that is also a possibility. – Mike

    • Thank you, Mike for listening to my “plea.” This makes sense that it would be oak, maybe hickory. This house was built in the 1920’s, so could not figure this out. I was not even sure where I would look for facts about trees and common woods of this period. As always, I can count on you for adding to the comments . Thanks for being a “fount” of information, Mike. 🙂

    • I am positive you have seen this, Juan.
      People line up on the Rockport wharf to paint this with their easels set up and others take photographs. There are fishing nets, lures and real equipment around this iconic building. I have had at least three calendars from charities with their June or July picture being this. 🙂

  3. I love old houses, and your family stories are very interesting. I have always loved the coast too, although I’ve never lived on one. I can visual sitting on those cool stones. Wonderful memories, thanks for sharing.

    • I appreciate this wonderful comment, L.T. I am glad you found the story about my ancestor’s door and stone house interesting. I like the ocean but settle visiting family in Lake Erie usually. Have enjoyed your posts, too. This warms my heart. Since it is late, was at a grandson’s football practice then back to daughter’s house for late dinner. Will be back tomorrow or over weekend to visit your recent posts.

    • The quaint town if Rockport really is something to see. I think your U.P. and many places in Michigan are beautiful, too. Beth, I think there are so many areas it would be hard to compare.
      I like Maine and have only been there once. I am lucky to have experienced a multi-generational experience. To know stories where my Great aunts and uncles talked about their “homeland”is what your grandies will be passing on about Australia. 🙂
      You are the first one to appreciate how cheap it was to purchase a lobster! Wish I had some right now to boil and serve with melted butter. 🙂

    • I think this is so cool since I admire the fantasy and creative sides in your writing. It certainly was a unique and memorable family experience. It was like being sent to a different land and coming back and reporting. My 2 brothers visited but the family stories are now mine to “pass on.” Thank you so much for your compliment.

    • Thanks for closing your eyes and seeing this experience with me, Judy. I think you found something to “take back” from our visit to Rockport and easy on the wallet. 🙂 Beach glass to make your own light catcher.

  4. What a beautifully written post Robin! I love the vivid details and want to go see Squam Hill now.Is it open to the public? I love Rockport and Cape Ann.
    Thank you so much for sharing your precious memories with us.

      • Robin, Gloucester is one of our favorite places to go for fish! I just ate there, never thought of bringing back some fresh fish and making it myself:)
        Our farmer’s market in town does get fresh caught fish from Gloucester and I get that.

    • Thanks, Carrie! I had a recent reply on Jan. 18, so came back to find your comment on this long essay. Way back when I posted yhis, I didn’t wish to include photos. I thought words would be my way of reaching people. 🙂

  5. Robin, this was lovely! You have a knack for describing things so vividly, we can see them in our imaginations. Maine is beautiful. I have only been there a few times but all my recollections are very positive. I love Massachusetts, of course and spent a great deal of time there too. Pretty homes and towns are treasures both to remember and to revisit!

  6. Thank you for sharing this delightfully nostalgic past Robin. I enjoyed it tremendously and you vivid and detailed text took me there and it was more than fabulous. thank you again! ❤

    • Last time I was there, sadly was in 1996 and that means I am not sure. My older male cousins were not much at writing but when we went, my great aunt Marie was in her own 90’s. My cousin’s children are not great with letters but the pharmacy and candy shop are on line and on maps, Brenda.
      Someone commented on 1/18/16. This Is What Took Me back and found you here, Brenda.♡

      • Isn’t it odd how comments can go astray? Every time I go through my post’s I find comments that never showed up in the notifications tab. I always use the notifications tab, though. It takes so much less time. I only go through my comments on the actual post when I’m updating my contents pages. And I do that about once every 6 months! Lazy! 🙂

    • Thank you for reading this, Robert. As you can see a picture would have saved a 1,000 words! 🙂 I started taking photographs after my purse was stolen, glasses, contacts and my cell phone at the library. He used his feet as he slumped down in his chair on a facing computer. I bought an expensive phone and blog on it, since I never was repaid for my efforts and the surveillance tape only got him a misdemeanor charge. I have no idea what he looks like so now I know also how to post pictures. I have photos of Tocjport, Mass and Providence, RI but they are old. Thank you for visiting! 🙂

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