Closing Up Essie’s House

Back in 1948 my grandparents bought a house in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. When she passed away in 1992, my grandmother left the house to her ten grandchildren, which we enjoyed for many years and finally sold this year.

We all went down to close up the house and take whatever had any sentimental value, and to say farewell to our great neighbor Ann MacKenzie.

It was a sad time for us when we remembered all the great times that three generations of Hartshornes and their many friends enjoyed in that house. After her passing I always enjoyed going there to commune with Essie, my ever so dearly beloved grandmother.

But that time has passed now. The Vineyard is big business. The wear and tear of managing all the rentals in July and August and the family visits in June and September finally became too much.

In fact, the very fact that we managed it together for 15 years without any real bloodshed to speak of says a lot about our family, and about Essie. Every one of us loved that dear lady with all our hearts, and we still do.

She taught us just about everything we know about being decent human beings — how to respect one another and say we’re sorry when we’re wrong and not walk in front of people and not eat peas with our knives — things like that.

I remember her advice to me once when I was down and out one time. “Keep your chin up,” she said, and darned if that didn’t do the job and put me right back on track.