Losing Sight Of Simplicity
When I read about the scarcity of submissions for the Chatham Preservation Awards this year, I wasn't surprised but was dismayed because award eligible candidates are disappearing. My wife and I will soon be celebrating our 30th year in our home on Shore Road, and have a locational vantage point which provides a view of what's going on in the neighborhood.
As is obvious to anyone who travels on Shore Road, the last few years have seen a high level of construction activity involving both structural modifications and new home construction. While change is a necessary and thus accepted component of progress, some designers and architectural firms have shown little interest in recognizing the historical integrity of homes that are part of the fabric of the community at large. Indeed, there seems to be a systematic disregard of the essence of a town that's been on the map for more than 300 years.
The Chatham Historical Commission has encouraged developers and architectural firms to be sensitive to the contribution that tasteful dwellings contribute to the locale. The opposite is occurring. There is an onslaught of new construction which seriously degrades the character of our neighborhoods. There is little attention paid to appropriateness, taste or scale. Instead, Shore Road is becoming pockmarked with structures conspicuous by their strangeness.
It doesn't have to be this way. There are notable exceptions in our neighborhood where the end construction result incorporates the aesthetics and charm that are a tribute to the area. There are resources available to make that happen.
Can't grand suffice for huge in structural design? Is it necessary to have so many windows that some are conjoined like Siamese twins? Must roofs host elements that are totally out of context? Is there no longer a place for the gentleness of simplicity? And, needless to say, all of these add-ons are expensive!
I learned recently that the magnificent property on Shore Road at Seaview Street will be redone by its current owners. It has the potential to be reborn to reflect the statement it now makes as a landmark in the community. I also read that homes on Stage Harbor Road may be on the chopping block. I do hope we see more attention to appropriateness of design given the opportunities to enhance these sensitive community locations.
There is now the chance to reverse a negative trend. This letter is a clarion call for a fresh approach to residential design that recognizes the unique value of what makes Chatham so special.
Croquet Group Seeks Chase Park Home
The Pleasant Bay Croquet Club (PBCC) has lost its home on the waterfront and is now seeking a home in Chatham’s Chase Park, already the site of a bocce court. PBCC may change its name, depending on their next home.
Croquet players Sally Stratman and Connie Loomis will be making their case before the park and recreation commission on Tuesday, June 26 in the community center conference room at 5 pm. They will be supporting their
petition by pointing out that the PBCC is an established organization with about 35 members who play at all levels, from beginner to quite experienced. The PBCC is dedicated to working with beginners and bringing them along.
The PBCC officers are experienced in setting up croquet courts and scheduling matches. PBCC will also bring a few thousand dollars worth of croquet equipment (wickets, balls, mallets, boundary markers, a deadness board, and a bench) and are prepared to pay for an additional weekly mowing if called for.
American six wicket croquet has six iron wickets, one stake, four heavy, plastic balls weighing a standard one pound, each played by a player on opposing teams of two each (or four balls played by each of two opposing players). A “Deadness” board helps keep track of play. Players use mallets sized (about 36 inches) for adults. The standard court is 105 by 84 feet (35 yards by 28 yards) but the court is scaled down when short grass (one quarter inch) is not available. The PBCC never enjoyed closely manicured grass, even in its earliest days at CBI.
Croquet tradition calls for wearing whites (nothing fancy), and Sally and Connie will appear before the committee in whites and carrying standard mallets and croquet balls.
Baseball Should Be Unifying
As the wife of a past president of Harwich Chatham Little League, now Monomoy Little League, I read last week's letters to the editor from David Poitras and David Alexander with great interest and have to say I agree with them both. Being a part of the league was a rewarding and fulfilling experience where not only did our boys make lifelong friends, so did my husband and I. There's just something about baseball that brings people together and little league, when done right, does this very well. I was sadden to hear that executive board members Dawn Routhier, Scott Morris, Larry Smith and Amanda Alten have recently resigned due to changes to existing polices and procedures that they felt "presents significant ethical issues." That's never good. The majority of parents, coaches, volunteers and board members rarely lose sight of what's important and it's about the kids being given equal opportunity to play the game while hopefully having fun doing it. What kind of message are we sending when we teach children the rules don't apply to them? These are little people playing games in a league that has the word little in it. Let's not lose sight of that. I wish the outgoing executive board members well and thank them for trying to do right for all the kids.
The Golden Rule Applies
I am writing to thank Russ Allen for his wonderfully written June 7 column “Grocery Store Etiquette.” As a long-time retail employee in an area like Cape Cod, I am keenly aware of how good it feels to be treated with dignity. I have been lucky in that most of my thousands of customers over the years have been civil, and many even gracious. The unkind and rude encounters have been few, and perhaps that’s why they stand out. Sadly I know that’s not always the case, and I thought Mr. Allen pointed out this unfortunate trait very well. In the end what he was saying can easily be summed up in two words: Golden Rule.
In this article Mr. Allen made mention of the J-1 Visa students who come to work here every summer. He said he will write more about them next month, and I can’t wait. I have had the great fortune to work with many of these students over the past five summers, and I have learned a lot from them. First, they are smart, hard-working, and like most of us, they are human. Unfortunately they are not always treated as such. There are people who accuse them of stealing “our kid’s” jobs, sadly sometime to their faces. If that is so, why are there Help Wanted signs all over Cape Cod? The fact is “our kids” could have all the jobs they want, it’s just that these young people are willing to do jobs “our kids” don’t want to do (for which we should thank them). There are people who put them up in sub-standard housing, 10 or 12 in a crummy house with one bathroom. I even know of one homeowner who threw out a couple of workers in the middle of the summer, with nowhere to go, because she found out she could get more on AirBnB. Some of these folks never hear a kind word while they’re here, as if they’re unworthy of our attention. How sad.
There are many more instances I could site of unfair treatment of these fine people so far from home. My point is fairly clear: This is another instance where the Golden Rule should be considered. If you would want your child to be treated well if he or she were so far from home, and in a strange land, then treat these folks the same way. Give them a helping hand instead of a shove, a kind word instead of a rude one. In a world where, rightly or wrongly, the United States is being viewed as a hostile place for visitors, think what a positive image of our little special corner of the world these folks could take home.