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USA: Cape Cod Part 1: Life as Change

August 26, 2010

Nothing remains immutable in our world, not for very long.  Cape Cod, the East Coast peninsula that steers an immense amount of sand like a giant buffed arm into the Atlantic Ocean, has seen countless changes since recorded history there began a few centuries ago.  Perhaps the first written records were those of the Vikings describing Vinland, or even further back, if you choose to speculate with more imagination, Phoenician mariners’ accounts of finding land far to the west of modern Europe.

None of this really matters.  Today the Cape is a tourist destination for travelers world-wide.  Different versions of the place exist, depending on the point of view expressed.  Developers and business people have their peculiar opinions, and environmentalists, among others, support an entirely different paradigm.

Here is one small example of Cape Cod’s changing ways:

1) My great-grandmother, Alice, in her Harwich Port garden, late 1940s or early 1950s: photographer unknown

Today the property looks rather different.  The last owner of my great-grandmother’s home lived the life of a very wealthy gentleman until official authorities discovered that he was, plainly put, a thief.  He embezzled from his church, his employer, and who knows what else.  They say he stole everything that wasn’t bolted down along with a surprising number of items that were.  All to support his lavish and pointless spending.

Now the property lies in ruins, awaiting whatever fate the government assigns to it.

2) Standing recently at the same spot.  Gone to seed: photo by Diana Herring

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