Thursday, July 4, 2019

Wistaria at Pine Knoll

Yesterday my cousin Janet Nichols Derouin shared this photo with me:

Wisteria on the garage at Pine Knoll
I recognize that Pine Knoll garage and cousin Annie Brewster, bending over to pat a cat.  (There were always many cats at Pine Knoll.)

Today, July 4th, is a fitting day to think of Pine Knoll.  The annual 4th of July picnics at Pine Knoll drew family members from far and wide.  As a child I didn't know all their names, but I participated in the gathering and enjoyed the scene. We sat under the shade of the large trees and ate festive food, always including watermelon. And I'm sure I spent some time following (chasing?) cats and kittens around.

This photo, however, is a spring one, with the wisteria vine in full bloom.  Janet tells a story about it:

"Our grandfather lost the battle to have the wisteria climbing all over the garage (see attached) cut back and he grumbled about it."  His older sister, our great-aunt May Nichols, said it couldn't be cut back because "Papa planted it" (referring to Andrew Nichols, the builder of Pine Knoll and father of the large family raised there). Our grandfather was a practical man, concerned that if not pruned back, the wisteria would collapse the garage. And it did. That garage did collapse – though Janet and I do not know how many years elapsed between that sibling argument and the eventual collapse. 

Perhaps others in the extended Pine Knoll family will share what they know of when and why that garage collapsed. Stuart Brewster, son of Annie, mentions that termites were also part of the problem. (See his full Comment, linked below).

For more about the 4th of July picnics at Pine Knoll, see my blog entries in July 2007 (with photo) and July 2009.  For photos of great Aunt May and information about her life as a teacher, see July 2013.  In yesterday's email, Janet wrote of Aunt May:  "... large kind brown eyes but she was very school teachery when she took me around and explained the history of things in the house.  She was very much the family historian."  Janet then shared a "funny story about her being in charge" – the issue about pruning the Pine Knoll wisteria.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Stuart Brewster wrote this in email on July 5:

Have now read your latest Remembering Danvers Story. Yes, the wisteria was both a blessing and a curse. I do not recall any talk about A. May rejecting the idea to remove it since it was planted there by her father. But it was a topic of conversation due to the weight on the roof of the garage and the danger its collapse yet no one wanted to remove it Actually there was a second problem namely termites that had invaded the bldg. and what lead to its ultimate collapse.

After the expansion of Route One in 1950, Aunt May built a new garage out beyond the tennis court that was closer to the exit to Rt. One. She moved her car there and gave up driving some time in the mid 1950's. I have a number of pictures of the Wisteria in bloom but had never seen this particular one before.

Not only was it colorful there also was a very heavy scent that permeated the whole yard when in bloom.

Nice memories, Stuart