Thursday, May 17, 2012
The house, which doubled as a gallery, was well worn. Canvas's and colorful bottles filled the large window overlooking Commercial Street. The artwork had an old school Provincetown feeling and when I walked through the front door I felt like I was traveling through time. The small, dark hallway lead into a large living room filled with canvases of all sizes. It was musty in an oddly inviting way, like summer houses we would rent when I was a little girl; always filled with excitement for another summer on Cape Cod.
I heard my husband say " Do you think they are open? " A woman's voice responded " We're a little dusty, if you don't mind dust we are open." Settled comfortably, at an old desk behind the front door, sat a small round woman with twinkly eyes and grey hair. She had a box of corks in her laps from the local resturants. On the floor, up against the wall and under the window were more boxes of corks. Next to the tattered old swivel chair sat a tiny table with a large zip lock bag of corks. She explained the reason for all the corks. " I am the sorter of the corks " she said contentedly. " I go through all these boxes of corks, separate the good ones and we sell them to raise money to buy trees. When you go to the library you will see three new trees, they are cork trees!"
This happy little woman had me at "corks". The more I talked with her the more enchanted I became. Her husband, who sat snoozing in the back room, was the painter. The large tropical bird in the kitchen was her "best friend". Seventeen years ago they agreed to take care of the bird for three weeks. The owner never returned and so the bird, is a great talker and confidante.
She invited us to wander through the house. Along with her husband slept two dogs and three cats. On the kitchen table there was marmalade, jam, toast and an ancient teapot. She told us they had moved to P-town fifty years ago. " A lot has changed since then, back then the only other women were two nurses and two teachers." I am still not sure whether she referred to her only friends or the only women living in Provincetown.
She held up the large zip lock bag of corks and confessed, "These are the prized ones I cannot part with. Some are very rare, some are just too beautiful to part with and some of them have phone numbers on them to call.... of course I have to call those." she said with an enchanting twinkle in her eye.