Joan Pennock Craig

Interviewed by Mary Miles

July 25, 2003

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED? I was b in Brooklyn, NY and lived in Brooklyn and NYC until I moved to Nantucket, after the war…I moved around during the war, of course. Went to school there…went on to 2 years of Jr. College, business course at Kathryn Gibbs in NY [ck spelling], and then I was married a year after that.

THE FIGUREHEAD, Richard Mitchell, came with my husband's family; my husband's grandfather, if I und it correctly, purchased him…he had been in the yard of the old Sanford House, which is where the Town Building is now, and when they tore that down, and I have no idea when that was, he purchased it…why he was for sale I don't know. But he was, and my husband's grandparents at that time owned West Brick, and they put him on a summer house on the back of West Brick. And then after West Brick was sold, he was moved to my husband's family's house here on Hulbert Avenue, which is down farther [from her house] and when we sold that house we moved him here. What it tells about him on the bd underneath was rsched by Edouard Stackpole for us, and the reason we had that bd painted and put under there was that the sightseeing buses used to go by and call him Benjamin Franklin…and he wasn't Benjamin Franklin! And we thought they might as well have the correct information. He was on the ship Richard Mitchell…he was a real person who had a house flag…some of the big banners that have the house flags in Nantucket have Richard Mitchell on them. I don't know if he was a Nantucketer - I think the ship sailed out of New Bedford, but he had a lot of connection with Nantucket. At one time somebody went out and found some people standing on the hood of their car trying to steal him, but then we wired him into our alarm system at one point…[don't need to say this in piece]

How we got here…Both sides of the family came to Nantucket. My family came here when I was 3, in 1923, and my mother and Walter Beinecke's mother were best friends, and we moved to the island at the same time. And we lived in Sconset at what are now the Wade Cottages, which before then were called Ocean Park, and we rented a cottage…there were 6 cottages along the bluff, and they were called Bluff Edge # 1,2,3,4,5,6. And we rented one of those each year for the next 6 years, and when we came there was no electricity in Sconset, for the first 2 years we were there. Ocean Park had a common dining room where you ate, and you had kerosene lamps and so forth, and it was leased and run by a man by the name of Col. Powers and his wife, from Foxboro, MA. [BIIIIG boat whistle sounds] And we lived there till 1929 and my mother bought her house on Sankaty Road. And then I grew up in Sconset in the summers until I was married. And my husband's family came here - his great-grandparents came here in the 1890s, and the first house they rented was right down by Brant Point - it was a cottage called Mariposa Cottage, and they were here for the summer, and then his grandparents…his grandparents on both sides came to Nantucket. On the Minshall side, they were from Terre Haute, Indiana, and they came, and my husband's grandparents built a house here on Hulbert Avenue - not this one - down a ways - in 1906. My husband's mother was Margaret Minshall. And the Minshalls lived there and then when their daughter grew up and got married, they bought West Brick…well, they bought it in 1925, and they lived in it summers after that until my husband's grandmother died. And my husband's mother sold West Brick to Jean Gundry in 1946. [ck gg for spelling] But my husband's grandparents on his mother's side lived next door to the grandparents on his father's side, and that's how his mother and father met and were married. WAS YOUR HUSBAND A NATIVE? Nope - nobody's a native. As close as you can be to a native…but his family lived in NJ, and there's an interesting story about how the Craig family eventually got here, my husband's grandparents. His grandfather was a Colonel in the Army, and he was retired, and under him had been the Signal Corps, and the Weather Bureau was part of the Signal Corps. And Mr. Grimes, who lives here on Pleasant Street - I guess it would be his father or his grandfather - had been in the service under Col. Craig. And Col. Craig was living in Washington and he called up Mr. Grimes and said they wanted to find a place to come for the summer, and that Mrs. Craig was terrified of thunderstorms, so he wanted Mr. Grimes, because he was in the Weather Bureau, to tell him where on this New England coast had the fewest thunderstorms. And Mr. Grimes said, 'Well, believe it or not, Nantucket.' So that's what originally brought the Craig side of the family to the island. [BIG chimes in hallway bong] They came for the whole summer, as summer people; my husband's grandparents on his mother's side came from Terre Haute, Indiana, and quite a few people came from there - how they ever found Nantucket or got here, I have no idea. And then the Craigs came from Washington DC because of the lack of the thunderstorms.

HOW DID YOU AND SANDY MEET? Well, we met here on the island. We met just as teenagers, and Nantucket Magazine wrote an article about me that tells the whole story of how we met… Well, we met when I was 18, and we met over in Sconset. There was a big crowd of us all in Sconset that all went out together and did everything together and had a wonderful time, and I met my husband, who lived in Nantucket [town] and he asked me out several times and I would have no part of it - I just wouldn't go at all. Because I didn't know anybody in Nantucket - and he was from town and I had so many friends in Sconset, and we all had a good time at the Casino dances, and I didn't know anybody in the Yacht Club; so for that whole year when he called me I wouldn't go out with him. And then the next summer I met him - we always came very early in the summer, and he did too, before a lot of the people came here, and I met him one night when I was with Leo Killen - he was working at the airport, and he asked me, 'Would you like to go for a ride in the plane tmw?' And I said, Sure, that's a great idea! So I went out to the airport and when I got there he said, 'Go get in that plane over there,' so I went and got in the plane, and there was Sandy. And he shut the door and took off. And he said he wouldn't come down until I said I'd go out with him. Now that's a true story. And so I did, and then we were together all that summer and got married the following winter. We were married in 1941, when he was in college; he graduated in 41, and war was sort of lurking in the background then, and he got a job teaching flying - he'd been a pilot since he was 17 - at Princeton University, and he was teaching and training in pilot trng programs, teaching the ground school courses at the university. And he started in Sept and of course war was declared in December. So he went into the Navy as a flight instructor the first year of the war…He was sent overseas for the last two years and I remained in Calif at that time. You couldn't come back to Nantucket then, you weren't allowed to travel then…once you got somewhere, you stayed put…you had to have a reason to travel and be allowed to travel…otherwise you didn't go anywhere. By then we We had one daughter before the end of the war and two after: Sherry and Haydi (short for Hayden), and Christina, who's Tina. And they all have homes here on the island; they all grew up here; we moved up here in 1948 for good.

YOU BOTH KNEW YOU WANTED TO COME BACK? No - we just didn't have anywhere to go! I mean, we were in college, then we got job, then we got in the war, and when we returned my husband's mother was very ill, and that was 1946, when my second daughter was born. His mother wanted to come up here and be here, so we came up here for the summer - my husband's father had already passed away. We came up with her and she had nurses around the clock…and she died that summer. She wanted to be on Nantucket. She had been here for one of the winters before the war working in the service club for the soldiers here, and living at 97 Main Street, in the West Brick. My husband had been a pilot all his life - he started when he was 17, and learned with Dave Raub out of old Nobadeer Airport. And I think he was particularly interested in flying because his father had been an aviator in the first World War…in the Army, and he had been stationed in Italy, and his Commanding Officer was Fiorello LaGuardia. So my husb always had a plane all his life which he flew until his death.

WERE YOU AFRAID OF FLYING? No, I loved to fly. We always had a plane - I never had any desire to fly it; I'm not mechanical in any way at all, it just didn't seem the wise thing for me to be doing. But we flew everywhere, and we had several planes during out lifetime, and our last plane was a twin-engine, quite a sophisticated plane. But my husb flew a great deal, a lot on business, and for pleasure…

So we moved here in 1948 full time…we'd always been here summer, except during the war years…both of us all our lives, and our families. We moved here and my husb started Dry Shoal Cleaners with Ernie Wheldon, and then he started (down where the Lobster Pot is now - we bgt that land and built that building)) and then he started also the Nantucket Distributing Co with…can't remember his name…which he later sold to Bill Grieder. And we rented a house the first 2 winters we were here - of course we had the summer place down here on Hulbert Avenue [summers], but then we bgt the house up on Main Street, which had been an old barn, from Gladys Wood (she'd bought it and was going to fix it up; she had bought it for protection for her property, and wanted to sell it to somebody she wanted as a neighbor, and she started to fix it up and decided she didn't want to do it, so that's when she sold it to us…she was the former co-owner of the Skipper Restaurant, with…SEE BILL BEERS ETC she was a wonderful person, wonderful - very striking looking, pure white hair, quite a lot of it) and for two years we renovated it…my husb did all the work himself, every bit of it exc the plastering and the wallpaper…and we moved in there. And so I live there in the winter and here in the summer. After his mother's death, Sandy and his sister decided - we lived two years together in the big house down here on Hulbert Ave. - and we decided we'd be better off going separate ways. So we purchased this piece of property (9 Hulbert) and my sister-in-law purchased property over by the water tower. So we sold that house (his mother's). So we've been in this house since 1950. And this was v interesting, because when we decided to sell the big house, which is now Abby Johnson's, my husb wanted to be on Hulbert Avenue - he loved this area, had grown up here and wanted to be here. And this house was for sale, and Gladys Wood, the realtor, showed it to us. And it was enormous! We looked at it and said 'But it's so BIG!' and she said, 'Well, why don't you cut it in half and make 2 houses out of it?' So we were young enough and dumb enough and so forth, and we said, Oh, that sounds like a nifty idea! We were still in our 20s. So we bgt it, and we cut it in half, and they made two houses…this one and the one next door. So this house that we're in now was attached to that, and we moved it over 50 feet and raised it up a foot and redid it, and so now we're fortunate enuf to have the 2 ppties. We rent the other house. At the time we moved this house, and it was a man named Mr. Morin from Falmouth who used to do all the moving, and he
[Her daughter comes in; she says it's wonderful to have all her children here in the summer.[ And you see, all my children grew up here - they went to school on Nantucket, because we lived here year-round. They were 2 months, 2, and 4 when we moved. They went thru their freshman year in HS and then they all went to bdg school. They went to Acad Hill. They'd all come home for lunch, all come back in the afternoon…

My husb was VERY involved here, as you probably know, in all sorts of things…but I think the things that we were most int in, we felt living on an island that health care was probably the most important thing, and that's why he became v inv with the hospital. And I did a great deal of volunteer work up there. And now I'm working on Sherburne Commons, I am president…because of the need for assisted living.

WHEN YOU FIRST CAME HERE FULL TIME, YOU WERE BUSY BEING A MOTHER. Yes, there were only 3000 ppl here then, and thanks to Ernie Wheldon, who had grown up with my husband all his life, we met a lot of ppl who were living here at that time. And they were very kind to us, and included us in everything; and we became very close friends with a lot of them. So we had a wonderful life, and of course my husb was busy with business and I was bsy with children and Girl Scouts and Sunday School and school and all those things. TELL ME ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS YOU WERE INV IN. Well, I don't know that they were any diff than anybody else. I did a lot of vol work at the hospital; I worked 2 days a week there; and I just did the usual things you do with Girl Scouts and…I wasn't a leader, but I did a lot…and PTA was a big thing then. And I did some work with Sunday School and the church. WHEN YOUR DTRS WENT AWAY TO SCHOOL AND GOT MARRIED, HAD THEY MADE UP THEIR MINDS THAT THEY WERE ALL GOING TO COME BACK HERE? Well, of course, they wanted to…everyone in our family loves this island. And all 3 of my dtrs were married here. We have so many family roots here. My husband's uncle, when he and his wife retired in 1945 - his name was Donald Craig?they bought Holly Farm, out on the Polpis Road, and so they were here. And my sister-in-law was here and her family…but not all year, the way we were. We had just a lot of family ties here. See, we didn't have any ties anywhere else; I didn't want to be in New York City - I loved it when I was there, but I didn't' want to live there. I just adore Sconset…it's very very dear to my heart. TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT GROWING UP IN SCONSET.

Oh, it was just wonderful. Big, big group of the same age and we all did everything tog; there were about 30 or 40 of us, young boys and girls. Sconset was nowhere near as social then as it is now, and it was a village to itself at that time…I mean, you didn't come to Nantucket very often. We came for a couple of things - we came to go to the Skipper sometimes, that was a big treat to go there for lunch - and I can remember that I always had chicken a la king and we came to the old Chopping Bowl, which was on Union Street - we used to go there for tea. It was probably in the 20's [block] on Union Street…it was down in a garden, and it was owned by Mrs. Ludwig - she later owned the White Elephant. That was a treat, to come in once in a while. But in Sconset we did a lot of horseback riding when I was a child; there was a stable there and it was run by Markie Gouin…it was his son Marcel Gouin, who became a Rear Admiral and whom Gouin Village was named after. His father had a stable rt across from the water tower. He used to import horses. He had come to the island and met a Nantucket woman who was a native and had been married; he had two children, and one turned out to be the Admiral. He was very well known. Went to the Academy and went right on through and became an admiral - quite an accomplishment for a Nantucket boy. We used to do a tremen amount of riding over there. And at that time the Chanticleer was there, and we'd often ride before breakfast and then go and have b'fst at the Chanticleer. It wasn't as elegant as it is now, didn't have a liq license…it was just a little local restaurant, but the garden was the same and we used to sit out there.

WAS THERE A LITTLE RESTAURANT OVER NEAR THERE CALLED THE SCONSET INN, WHERE SOME NHS CLASSES WENT FOR GRADUATION DINNERS? Well, there was the Beach House, but I don't know that anybody ate there; there was what is now the Summer House - that was called Moby Dick. And then there was a restaurant called Wander Inn Restaurant, on Broadway in what's now Liberty Hall. ?? And people used to have family-style meals; they'd come down and buy a week's worth of meals. But Sconset had everything - you didn't need to go to town. DID YOU SAIL? No - the sailing was in Nantucket. We did tennis, though. You just didn't come back and forth when I was a child. You came over once in a while for your groceries, and you'd buy a week's worth of groceries, then you'd go back home again. We had everything in Sconset then - there were gift shops, you pd your water bill over there; there was a branch of the Electric Co.; there was a telegraph office, a telephone office; a gas station , a barbershop, a hairdresser, a shoeshine man…

YOU WERE ONLY 7 MILES AWAY, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WORLD. Yes, and you just didn't come over. When we came over it was for treats with our families. Now, my mother used to come over…she never drove a car; I had a sister who was 6 years older than I was, and when she learned to drive she would drive Mother over. At that time mah-jongg was v popular, and my mother used to have friends at diff places on the island, and my sister would drive her over to play. She used to play in that house that's falling apart, two doors up from us on Main Street - it was Mr. and Mrs. Taylor's house, and Mother played mah-jongg there, and she also played over in Surfside, I remember, at a house that was owned by an actress named Mary Mannering. After I was old enuf to drive a car, I got stuck with this duty. My sister had done it for six years… I'd drive her over to play mah-jongg and then go home, and somebody else picked them up and brought them back…I guess, I don't really recall. When I grew up on Sconset we used to spend a lot of time out at the Wauwinet beach…we would come over, all of us - the Beinecke family and the others, all of us together, and we would go swim a lot on the Town side of Wauwinet, and bring picnics. One of the other things that I just loved…we didn't used to have babysitters in those days, and when my mother or aunt or anybody would go somewhere for the day, they would hire Eddie Coffin, who lived in Sconset on the corner of ???? Street - his wife's name was Tilllie - that's all I can tell you - they were related to all those Coffins over there. He had a horse and buggy, and they would pack us a picnic lunch and would send us out for the day with him. He was the babysitter. I remember he used to take us out through Sconset down Low Beach, where the Loran Station is now, and down there and through Tom Nevers Pond and up to the other side. It was a shallow pond; we always drove right through, and up to where the Tom Nevers Inn used to be.

WAS YOUR FATHER ONE OF THOSE WHO CAME ON WEEKENDS?
My father passed away 5 mos before I was born - I never knew him. My sister was 5 ½ at the time he died. He was 17 years older than my mother. And my mother never remarried, and my aunt came to live with us, and she remained with us all my life. So we were pretty much a female family. My mother, my aunt, my sister, and myself…and I had the three girls. But now I have 7 grandchildren, and five of them are boys, and I have a little great-granddaughter. And my granddtr lives here on Nantucket, so my little great granddtr lives here too. Of my 3 dtrs, one lives in CT, one lives in NY state, and one lives in NH. But they're here all summer and each one of them has a house, and they just love being here, and all my grandchildren grew up here. So they all come back - they're older now, but they all come back as many weekends as they can, on vacations… [see pic]

YOU'VE SEEN A LOT OF CHANGES ON THE ISLAND. Oh, I've seen a lot, a lot. When we first moved here there were only 3000 people here in the winter, and you got to know everybody and there was nowhere to go except Cy's Green Coffee Pot and Andy's Diner - those were the two places you could go to eat. Then I think the big change was when the Nantucket Historical Trust bought the Ocean House and renovated it and gave you a place where you could go and have some kind of a social evening, or a party, a wedding… I remember the Ocean House was normally full of young ppl from NY - young working people…there were so many bicycles parked around in front that you could hardly walk down the sidewalk. But see, until I was 19 or 20, and started going out with my husband, I didn't pay an awful lot of attention to Nantucket, except to go to the Skipper as a treat or to go to the Chopping Bowl for tea. I THOUGHT it was wonderful - it had big…I have a pic of it…those big high wooden benches with the high backs and the wooden table, and it had a hole in the middle with a colored umbrella, and they used to serve tea and cinnamon toast there. I just thought that was wonderful. And then the other time I came to Nantucket, my b'day was in the summer, and each year I was allowed to plan what I wanted to do on my b'day, and ask a few friends. And I always wanted to come to Cliffside Beach. Because it was so different from the Sconset beach…Sconset beach you just went to the beach and there was a lifeguard there and you went swimming, and there were waves, and seaweed, and things like that…but over here they served food, which I thought was wonderful. and they had swings…you got a big key and a towel and you went into a locker and changed your clothes - oh, I thought that was marvelous. And then you went down on the beach and there was a raft out in the front that you could swim to, and for a couple of years there was a slide on the raft…OH, I just thought that was about the grandest thing you could do…so much better than the beach in Sconset. So that was my birthday every year…

DID YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND EVER DO ANY FISHING? my husband and I did a lot of beach fishing; when we first moved here we had an old Ford station wagon and after work we would get a babysitter for the children and would go out…we used to do a lot of beach fishing from Smith's Point, and sometimes when there were no fish there we would drive all the way to Great Point and fish. And I remember the first fish I ever caught, it was up at the Galls, and it was in the dark, and my husband had wandered down the beach from me, and I didn't have any more idea of what to do with this fish than the man in the moon! And a fellow by the name of Louis Ray, who worked for the Mardens and the Butlers…he came over and helped me with that fish, and I was forever grateful to him. I don't recall how big it was - I thought it was a whale! But as a child in Sconset, we used to go over fishing occasionally in Sesachacha Pond. There used to be a little place there where a man rented out little rowboats, and you could go out and fish for little pickerel and perch and things like that. My aunt used to love to do that. I can remember seeing them go off the Sconset beach for codfishing…the beach was a LOT longer then, and it was a lot rougher water over there. I can remember Jerry Towhill going out fishing out for cod…he used to have a boat down there. WHAT A WONDERFUL GROWING-UP YOU HAD. Oh, it was wonderful - I just loved Sconset. DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT GETTING A JOB IN THE SUMMER WHEN YOU WERE A TEENAGER? You didn't do that - we didn't babysit or anything like that…we were just a wonderful, pleasurable time. I always had my chores around the house I had to do, and as I said, because my mother didn't drive, when I was able to drive a car, then I had to do the groceries and all of that. We did a lot around the house - we had to weed the gardens and things like that.

We'd come up from NY or from Brooklyn on the overnite boat, which I thought was the greatest experience in the world - I thought I was going to Europe each time we got on. It was quite a chore bringing the family up here - for the whole summer, because my aunt, my sister, my mother, we had a wonderful woman who worked for us and cooked and she came, so we had all her belongings and all of our belongings…I had a bird in a cage, and we had a cat in a box, and we had a dog on a leash…the whole kit and kaboodle. We had two trunks, always, and you had to order a special taxi that had a trunk rack, and we'd get two of those, and would go over to the piers in NY and get on the boat…you had staterooms on the boat, you were overnight on the boat up to…if we came VERY early we went to Fall River, and then you went on the Fall River Line and got on a bus and you went to New Bedford - with everything, the dog, the cat, the bird, everything. We were always just at the time when the schedule changed, and when the sched changed, then you went on the New England Steamship line, and you went right to New Bedford, so you skipped Fall River, then. And you went to NB and you got on another boat and you went to Woods Hole, to Oak Bluffs, to Nantucket. And that's how you got here. WHAT A PROJECT! Well, everybody did it. You weren't alone. Everybody did that, that's how you got here. And on the boat you had dinner, and you had a stateroom, and it was just wonderful. We made an ocean voyage! I was always allowed to pick out the stateroom - Mother got a little plan of the boat, and I picked out the stateroom I wanted. Then you went back the same way. And Oh, I hated to go back. I was in private school, so my school got out early and started late, and on several occasions, and I think I read this in one of your stories in your book, somebody else mentioned it, we stayed into the fall because of the polio epidemic. [bee gonnella] We did that on several occasions. We didn't go to school here, just stayed into the fall. Some went to school here and some didn't, but we didn't.
TURN TAPE
Sconset was such a wonderful place to grow up - I just loved it. AND YOU FEEL AS IF YOU GREW UP THERE, RATHER THAN IN NEW YORK. Oh, yes, yes. ARE ANY OF YOUR SCONSET CHUMS STILL AROUND? Oh yes, several of them, and we get together. I have them over particularly on 4th of July, so they can see the fireworks. A few of them are still around; but you know, I'm old enough so that a great many have passed away or left the island. I'm 83. YOU DON'T LOOK IT! I know - I don't feel 83, and I don't partic want to be 83, but there I am. I feel good and I feel young.

Sandy died 12 years ago…in 1991. He was a wonderful man.
So…I've learned to love Nantucket [as over Sconset] - I live here…and I just LOVE this island, and I think that I am just so fortunate to live in a place that I love, because so many ppl spend all their life waiting to move to somewhere that they want to go to…I've never had any desire whatsoever to go off in the winter. I enjoy travel, and I like to get away for a couple of weeks to see something different in the world. I went to Alaska this June for 2 weeks, I'd never been there. But I LOVE the winter here. I feel like I live two lives…a winter life and a summer life. And I also feel that I'm very fortunate to have the best of everything here, because I live in town in the winter and because my husband's family had property here, I'm able to live on Hulbert Avenue in the summer. #131, upper Main Street, with a solid bd fence in front…in the winter…the house sits way back. I used to rent it all the time in the summer - I'm here about 5 months now - but when fall comes it's time to go here - you can't heat these houses, and nobody is here, and it gets dark early, and the boats disappear…and it gets lonely here when October comes.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN THE WINTER? There's so MUCH to do in Nantucket…it's incredible. I used to play a lot of paddle tennis; can't do that now any more. I play golf; I play bridge, go to the movies - there are a lot of us who go to the movie on Sunday afternoons at 4 o'clock matinee…a group of us who all have lunch together every Wednesday…we have a dup bridge group that meets once a month; I go out to dinner with friends; I've been working 3 years very intensely on Sherburne Commons, and that takes an awful lot of time. I have a lot of deskwork; I read a great deal. I read more for relaxation, so some fiction now…I like to watch the news on TV, I'm v int in CNN, and I'm a great Red Sox fan. I watch the Red Sox…I'm not so sold on football… Spend some time with my granddaughter - she teaches in the school, Ariel Doggett. I have 2 nieces who live here on the island year-round. And I'm NEVER without something to do. And we own a fair number of houses in the family, and there's always something to be done, or caught up with, always. So I'm never lacking for anything to do, never.

DO YOU EVER REGRET NOT MOVING BACK TO SCONSET? No, because we were year-round, and when we first moved here there were VERY few families living in Sconset… But I do go out to Sconset every couple of weeks in the winter just to pass thru and to bring back memories and go up and down the streets and see what's going on and so forth. And I have a couple of very close friends who are living there now.

The Benchleys were part of our group back then, Rob Benchley's family. They lived right up there on the corner of Main Street and Chapel Street. There was Nat, who was older, and then Bob, who was my age group. And a couple of the ppl who I used to know are still over there - and glad of it. YOU NEVER CONSIDERED MOVING OFF THE ISLAND? Never! Never! My husb and I NEVER considered it. My husband helped my mother with her business; my mother had the care of two apt houses in Brooklyn Heights that my father had built, and 59 apts, and my mother managed them all her life after his death, and my husb helped her. When she came to Nantucket in the summer, my aunt would be there…and then in the fall when mother really had to go back, and when we were here during all that polio business, I moved in with the Beineckes.
I can't claim to be a native, but my great-granddaughter is a native! She'll be 2 on August first. We finally got a native in the family. Her name is Alexandra Grace…Ally Grace - she's named after my husband; I don't know where the Grace comes from.

WHAT ARE THE BEST AND THE WORST THINGS TODAY ON NANTUCKET? pause. Well, I think Nantucket has become very greedy, and I don't like seeing all these enormous houses - I don't think the ppl really live in them. they build them; they're not here a great deal of the time. I don't see how…they do contribute some money to the nonprofits on the island, but I don't see that they contribute to the island really in any way. And what bothers me is that I like Nantucket for what it is and what it represents, and they come and they try and bring what they have at home here! And I don't like that at all. HAVE ANY THINGS IMPROVED? Well, I think it's a wonderful place to live yar-round now. If my chdren hadn't been little and I hadn't been so busy with them when we first moved here, where I wasn't a native and hadn't been here, I think it might have been difficult. It wasn't, because I was so busy and we were accepted so easily. But then there really wasn't an awful lot to do then…although what we did do was a lot of fun, because we did it in our own homes and other people's homes…we had a wonderful time. But I find now there's tremendous stimulation on the island. I think so many interesting ppl have retired up here, and they have so much to offer, and I think there are such good musical groups and concerts, and the Atheneum offers a lot, and there's a GREAT deal going on. So I think it's a wonderful place to live, and I think that, having grown up in the city, this is such a safe place - you feel safe here. DO YOU EVER MISS THE SYMPHONY, THE BIG STORES, THE CITY? I don't. I loved what I had of it, and I had a great deal - I used to go to the theatre a lot, and I lived in NY when it was reasonably safe, and you used to be able to go over to Central Park and spend time over there…but I grew up in an apt house - after I was 4 - we had a private home before that - but I wanted space around. I'm an outdoor person, and I just love everything about lvg on Nantucket. Everything. IF YOU RULED NANTUCKET, WHAT WOULD YOU DECREE? Oh, goodness…that's a tough one. I think Nantucket will probably be OK. I think this summer is going to be a tough summer on Nantucket - I don't think the stores are going to do as well, or the restaurants, and frankly, I think that's probably going to be helpful to the island, It may not prove to be, but I don't know. But it upsets me to hear of the prices that ppl are paying here for land and houses, and it particularly upsets me to find that they're paying those enormous sums and then destroying what they've bought. [Jessica Woodle's house not allowed to be changed…thank goodness.] I heard this week about 2 ppties over in the Monomoy area that sold for just ENORMOUS sums, I mean millions and millions of dollars, and it just seems so wrong. I find, for instance, I don't need anything that's in these summer shops here at all. I think they're going to hurt this summer…I may be wrong. BUT YOU DON'T THINK THAT IN THE LONG RUN NANTUCKET WILL SUFFER WITH THIS GLUT OF WEALTHY PEOPLE? I hope not…it's very hard for me to prophecy. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT ON NANTUCKET? YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND HAVE MANY. If Sherburne Commons eventually is built, I think that will prob be my greatest accomplishment, because I see the tremendous need for that…there's such a gap in the health care for ppl on the island. And we're trying to do this as a Nantucket project for Nantucket people, and I have a wonderful board working with me, and a couple of us came from the Hospital Board originally… [see the July 25th issue of the Nantucket Independent, which has a piece on the Sherburne project] I also am proud of my husband's and my work with the hospital - my husb was president of the hosp for 18 years; he was there from this hosp being built and the new wing being put on; and he helped bring several of the doctors to the island. So I think probably our greatest accomplishments have been in the health care field.
Nantucket is the kindest place I've ever known to older people. And it's kind to single people, and there are a tremendous number of us, widows on this island. Saltmarsh does such a fine job; the Island Home, and Landmark, and they all do a wonderful job. You feel safe and you feel comfortable here.

I wrote an article on growing up in Sconset for the NHA magazine…and I'm going to do the Sconset Gam in August, and the Nantucket Magazine wrote about me.
It's nice also that you can walk to places here…