Thursday, September 01, 2011

In Which Deirdre Comes to Call

Sven called to me, “There’s a woman outside.”

He was doing dishes at the sink, since the power was off and the dishwasher could not be used. I peered out the window. A stranger stood on the lawn, studying the house as if to memorize every shingle. I opened the door and met Deirdre.

“I stayed in this house in 1963,” she said, a faraway look in her eyes. The memory was obviously a good one. “It’s very evocative for me. The house was rundown then. But we had a marvelous time. It’s lovely to see it so well taken care of. And your gardens!!”

My gardens did not look so hot due to Irene’s wrath. The drooping phlox leaves called out for water. The photo above was taken a couple weeks ago when the cleome patch was perfect.

“I was pregnant,” Deirdre continued, still dreamy. “We rented from Frank O’Connor. Have you heard of him? He wrote The Last Hurrah.”

I told her my parents had bought the house from a playwright named Victor Wolfson in 1969, that Faye Dunaway had visited while Wolfson was the owner, that I had heard she was “high-maintenance.”

We chatted some more about Wellfleet. Deirdre, who has been coming here for years, rents on the other side of Long Pond Road.

“The town has changed such a lot since 1963,” she said. “We didn’t see any McMansions back then. Such abominations!”

I could only agree.

“Every time we’re here, we find new delights,” she added.

True again. You can come to Wellfleet for 48 years and never get tired of the place.

We sat there is silence.

“Thanks for letting me walk into my past,” Deirdre said, standing up.

It’s something everyone needs to do once in a while. We shook hands and she was gone.