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Auld Lang Syne

You hear the plaintive wail every New Year’s Eve… a song that lends itself to poor horn playing and inebriated off key virtuoso singers. Sometimes the melancholy melody even prompts a tear or two, despite the fact most of us have no idea what the words mean.

What exactly is “Auld Lang Syne?” Sounds like a horrific disease of the tongue. Perhaps it’s a type of antimicrobial bread mold, or better yet, a process by which monoclonal antibodies are isolated to combat the latest surge of Covid. None of the above.

Roughly translated from the Scots language circa 17 hundred something, it means “Old Long Since.” Like this: “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, bla bla bla my dear, in days of old long since. Doesn’t quite have the same ring. Famed poet Robert Burns, who perhaps you’ve heard of, translated the sentiment from a folk song which seems to date back as far as the 1500’s.

Okay, so what does it mean again? What the hell is “old long since?” Basically, the good old days. It’s a remember when kind of thing. Don’t even try to share this with your millennial grandchildren, as they are adamant that nothing of interest existed before mobile technology. If you really want to watch them squirm, make them watch Guy Lombardo re-runs in black and white. Forgive me, I digress.

Back to Auld Lang Syne. What’s confusing is that there is no recognizable interrogative inflection in the opening line, which in essence, asks, “Should we remember the old times despite these damn tears in our eyes, or let them fade and be forgotten?”

What do you think? Here’s food for thought. You remember your multiplication tables without much emotional fanfare, although I always seemed to like the fact that 7x7 equals 49. What about memories of Christmas morn as a child? Hmm. The memory is at once shrouded in, and catalyzed by emotion.  Auditory memories such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” can render even an emotionally frozen stoic misty eyed. The scent of Balsam Fir? That’s a round trip ticket back to the year of your choosing onboard the olfactory express

The point is, and I believe those moaning horns on New Year’s Eve are well aware of this… you have no choice. Old acquaintances, whether they be lovers, friends, or places, cannot be forgotten. The photos in our mind may no longer be high resolution, perhaps frayed at the edges, but they remain. We are, among other things, a sum of our experiences. If you’re able to suspend disbelief for even a moment, you’ll see that they exist in us even now.  Cherish your memories, though painful some may be.

As the song suggests,

“For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne”

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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Power outage in Osterville - October 2021

It wasn’t your imagination. It was a bad storm. Wind gusts on the outer Cape in excess of 80mph, with frequent 60mph gusts in and around Osterville. With the leaves still on the trees, and 2 – 4 inches of rain it’s no wonder over half a million people in Massachusetts lost power, most of them on the Cape.

The Osterville Village Library was one of only a handful of libraries to open in the aftermath of the storm thanks to a generator, which supplies power to the entire building. Patrons were able to come in to enjoy the warmth, a cup of coffee, and charge their mobile devices before heading home. Having power however doesn’t necessarily ensure WiFi, or internet connectivity, neither of which the library was able to provide due to downed lines in the area. Whereas many people come to the library to use the computers, they were faced with a seldom-encountered situation in modern times… What to do?

You could of course read a book. They still exist. Hard bound volumes of printed pages that tell fascinating stories. Instead of watching someone else’s vision of a character on screen, your mind fills in the descriptive blanks to your own satisfaction. The faces and landscapes in the tale come alive in your mind, uniquely yours, and yours alone.

There are 38,000 books on 3 floors inside the Osterville Village Library. Due to the internet outage, the age-old tradition of perusing library shelves for appealing titles enjoyed a renaissance. Patrons who normally use the library to access the internet, or email, found themselves wandering around the building discovering surprises around every corner. Featured authors on display caught their eye, as well as an extensive selection of biographies which piqued curiosity,

One library staff member remarks, “It was interesting to see, some of our regular computer users were browsing the racks, reading the first few pages of novels. It was as if they had discovered a forgotten world.” While the library’s regular circulation numbers in regard to books are quite impressive year round, it was the renaissance of good old fashioned shelf browsing that was witnessed as a welcome phenomenon. “Usually people request a book, or pick up a best seller, their choices by and large driven by research they’ve initialized on the internet,” the OVL staff member explains. “What we saw in the aftermath of the storm, was people browsing the racks, cracking open a book based on an appealing title, and making a spot decision to check it out, the way libraries used to be.”

What’s more, with computer technology inoperative, the staff checked out the books the old-fashioned way, with a careful record kept by pad and pencil. “Nothing against technology, not at all,” another staff member says, “but it was nice to see our collection of books stand on their own appeal, and if I’m not mistaken, people actually seemed to enjoy the experience, it brought them back to a simpler time.”

The way Osterville Village Library Executive Director Cyndy Cotton sees it, offering shelter from the storm is part of the library’s role in the community. “I don’t have power, and neither do a lot of people in the village. Your cell phone battery only lasts so long. People need to stay charged up to let relatives and friends know they’re ok, or to call a contractor to fix damage.”

“It gets dreary sitting around the house with no power and even though it’s not winter, it was starting to get cold,” says one library patron who expressed his appreciation for a place to go. “The library is warm, has bright lights, and as neighbors we all enjoy swapping stories about the storm. I’m really glad they’re open.”

As utility crews work to restore power and internet, and tree crews labor to clean up the mess, the inconvenience from our October nor’easter will surely pass. It’s also likely most will fall back in step with their modern habits and computer screens will once again cast their glow. But perhaps, the lost art of old fashioned discovery will have found its way back into a few hearts and minds. 

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Summer 2021 - OVL Remembering Fun July 14th Osterville Village Library Reports Busiest Days Ever! Top Story: Fourth of July Weekend 2021 was underscored with "independence" in more ways than one. Osterville and all of Cape Cod stepped out to celebrate for the first time since the Covid pandemic changed our daily life. Even a rainy weather forecast couldn't dampen spirits as families and friends spent time together long overdue. As the holiday weekend got underway on Friday July 2nd this year, the Osterville Village Library boasted its busiest day ever. Not just since before the pandemic... but the library's busiest day ever. Over 290 people visited the library. Saturday July 3rd also reported a high number of visitors, coming in just shy of 200. While the Library was closed on Sunday and Monday in observance of the holiday, OVL’s “Paddleboard Sale” on the Calvin C Gould Library Green attracted an additional 200 visitors. Anyway you do the math, that’s a lot of people strolling village streets! Bravo OVL for bringing the village back to life! OVL – Remembering fun! In Our Next Edition – Don’t Miss These Exciting Stories! • Read about OVL’s 3rd annual Plein Air and Le Jardin • The Singing Trooper comes to Osterville • This year’s Summer Concert Series is underway • And… Was that a 45 foot whale you saw on the Library Green? Coming on the 20th.

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Blooming Osterville

Flowers and plants inspire joy without saying a word. Ambling into a shop or garden center tousled with blooms in all shapes and colors, botanicals, cacti, succulents, an array of locally grown produce come summer, then pumpkins and mums in the fall, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There’s nothing like enjoying a flourishing garden or filling your home with flowers and blooming plants to revive the soul, slow you down, and lift the spirits. Lucky for us, Osterville offers plant and flower therapy in abundance.
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The most popular flavors of ice cream in descending order are: Chocolate followed closely by vanilla, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, butter pecan, chocolate chip cookie dough and cookies n crème… yum! These tasty classics plus a bonanza of other scrumptious flavors await you in the village of Osterville. Ice cream aficionados rejoice! Whatever your pleasure, you’ll easily satisfy your craving for this sweet, luscious, creamy, heavenly concoction at any one of these three distinctive, delectable and delightful establishments. Hope you’re hungry!
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Meet Town Councilor David Bogan

If you see him around town, say “hello.” He’s the guy with the energetic stride and a big sheepdog named “Bistro.” Meet David Bogan, your town councilor representing Barnstable’s 5th precinct. David is a relative newcomer to Oster-ville, along with his wife Heather. Their four children from David’s first marriage and 4 grandchildren (with a 5th arriving in 2021) are frequent visitors.
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Inside Karen Crocker’s art studio and shop, you will find paintings that span a variety of mediums, custom contemporary wall murals and fabric, and small pieces of furniture that reflect what she calls the “extraordinary natural surroundings” of Cape Cod. She loves the variety of working in different mediums. “I enjoy them all,” she says. “I do that because I have always had a dream of doing more than one thing, offering many choices for buyers and challenging my talent.” "Living on Cape Cod inspires me to create beautiful and serene paintings. I believe that surrounding oneself with beauty is uplifting to the soul.”
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Armstrong-Kelley Park

he next time you stop by Fancy’s Market for a sandwich, wander across the street to enjoy one of Osterville’s most delightful hidden gems – Armstrong-Kelley Park. Sit on a bench and enjoy your lunch while watching the kids and puppies play. Stroll along the trails. Walk the boardwalk. Watch the fish swim in the pond. Check out the beehives from a safe distance.
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Launching His Own Legacy

Ned Crosby Sails on the Winds of Eight Generations

Below the hill there was a mill,
For want of water it stood still,
And when it turned it made no noise,
Because ’twas built by the Crosby boys.
This ditty in part, of uncertain origin, refers to James and Samuel Crosby who initially set up shop in Centerville in the years surrounding the American Revolution. Since 1744, there has been a Crosby building boats on Cape Cod. That’s eight generations. From the earliest days of their endeavors, their work has met with praise.
Family patriarch Jesse Crosby’s progeny were as prolific as they were talented. Sons Nathan, Jesse Jr. and Daniel moved operations to Osterville in the 1790s. Fast forward to the present day with a quick accounting of the generations in between: Daniel Crosby begat Andrew, who begat Joseph Crosby. Joseph begat Chester, who begat Edward Crosby. In 1969 Edward Jr, known as Ned was born.
Ned continues the Crosby tale and more importantly,
the legacy of innovative design his family established
centuries ago.
Launching His Own Legacy
Ned Crosby Sails on the Winds of Eight Generations

In the early 1800s Andrew Crosby sought a design to build a stable boat better suited to fish local waters. This boat would have a centerboard as opposed to a keel, which to date had been the prominent design. Before the new design could be perfected, Andrew died. His sons, only teenagers at the time, were at a loss as to how to continue. Their mother hired a local medium to hold a séance and according to family folklore,
the medium was able to contact Andrew twice. The Crosby boys employed the
technique imparted from beyond. Thus was born the famed “Crosby Catboat.”
The origin of the name? While local fisherman laughed at the new design, odd in appearance with wide sides and the sail high upon the deck, the prototype 22-footer sailed faster than any boat on the bay. One man commented, “She comes about as quick as a cat!”…And they still do.
In the years that followed throughout the lineage of the Crosby brand, the “Catboat” was joined by the equally
successful “Crosby Wianno Senior,” a slightly larger boat, but still capable
of impressive speed. The first fleet of “Seniors” met wind and water in 1914.
In 2010, almost 100 years later, Ned Crosby secured rights to build the
“Crosby Wianno Senior” in fiberglass, and is now the third generation Crosby
to manufacture the popular design. Ned grew up with the trade. His earliest days were spent at his grandfather’s boatyard in Osterville (Chester A. Crosby & Sons)
sweeping sawdust. He was no more than 7. As 7 turned into 10, he was fitting planks, applying paint and absorbing all he could
from masters of the craft. By 13, Ned was an experienced waterman, and in serving his grandfather’s clients with his new-found skill made an acquaintance that would one day change his life.

Osterville resident Bunny Mellon, who married into the Pittsburgh banking and steel fortune was one of those clients. In Meryl Gordon’s biography titled Bunny Mellon, she is described as “an art collector, landscape designer and best dressed list regular.” Bunny designed the White House Rose Garden for her close friends President and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Ned’s grandfather Chester Crosby had assisted Bunny and Paul Mellon for years, tending to their sailboats and often accompanying them
on excursions through Osterville’s Three Bays and beyond. In 1982 Chester passed on the job
to 13-year-old Ned.
Ned soon became a fixture in the Mellon’s life, and they in Ned’s.
Ned would take Bunny out in the boat several times a week.
Ned also spent time with Paul Mellon, both on the water and at
home in the years before Paul’s death in 1999. Included among
a host of generous bequests, Mellon honored his love of the water
by granting Dead Neck Island at the mouth of the “Three Bays”
to The Massachusetts Audubon Society.
On a summer day a few years after Paul’s loss, Bunny invited Ned
to lunch, a meeting that it turns out would have a great impact on Ned’s future. Bunny granted Ned the harbor front land she had
allowed him to use to dock his boat. Bunny explained the 11/4
acre gift was in appreciation for all the Crosby family had done
for her and Paul through the years.
Sitting down to speak with Crosby in his shop as a Nor’easter
raged outside, he fondly remembers his relationship with the
Mellons. “Mrs. Mellon said to me, as she informed me of her gift,
that a Crosby ought to have a place on the water….”
When Ned launched EM Crosby Boatworks in 2001 in West Barnstable, he started with 3 employees and one building. By 2009, the count was up to 9 and included a service yard with over 100 boats. As with previous family incarnations, EM Crosby Boatworks is a family affair. Karen Crosby, Ned’s sister, is the shop administrator. Cousin Charlie Crosby, who holds a Coast Guard “500 ton masters license” came on board in 2008. The remainder of the crew – many of whom Ned has known since his high school years – all bring their own area of expertise to the operation. Owen Croughwell is the shop foreman. Tripp Grohe is the head painter. Bob Wastrom is both master boat wright and chief carpenter. Mark Williams has been sailing since
he was six, and Paul Wring has worked in boatyards in both Britain and Bermuda.

In 2016, confident that his business was in
capable and trusted hands, Ned took his
family on the trip of a lifetime. An ocean
odyssey is a better description. Ned, wife
Kelly, and their four daughters Hadley, Finley,
Tilly and Scotia spent over 11 months onboard
the 53 foot Yankee Lady covering 7,500 miles
of Atlantic Ocean visiting the Grenadines,
British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.
In recanting the joys and challenges of the
trip, Ned credits the support of his wife, Kelly.
“Not many would agree to live on a boat for a
year at sea,” he remarks with a prideful smile.
“Her thirst for adventure equals my own...
I couldn’t have done it without her, and the
kids too. It was hard for the girls, leaving their
friends at their age.” When at last the Yankee
Lady pulled back into Osterville there wasn’t
a dry eye among the family of 6. Their tears
comprised in equal part of an overwhelming
appreciation to be home as well as a heartfelt
farewell to freedom they had never felt, and
may never feel again.
What does the future hold for Ned Crosby,
EM Crosby Boatworks and the Crosby heritage?
First, Ned has plans to expand operations
to the Osterville waterfront, hopefully in the
coming year.
“We’ll keep some of our work here, as we have
the space,” he said, “but I’m looking to move
at least part of operations back to Osterville.”
Plans are in the works for a building that can
showcase the Crosby craft.

Ned took time to muse on his future design as
we chatted under the rain on the roof. “I’d like to
incorporate some of the historic feel of the boatyard
on the Osterville waterfront, but also add a modern
touch, a wall of windows where people can see what
we do.”

Again, Ned credits family in supporting the process.
“We’re considering a number of ideas, and there’s
a lot we want to do, so whether it’s my wife Kelly, or
the guys in the shop, we all weigh the pros and cons,
considering what’s best for everyone involved.”
Even before the Osterville expansion is complete,
there will be excitement in the village when the new
Crosby 24 is put to sea. The first boat in a brand
new series was under construction as we sat down to
speak with Ned and his crew. “It is designed to easily
navigate the Three Bays or zip over to the Vineyard…
manageable and safe, with beneficial characteristics
of both wood and fiberglass.”


Describing the new creation with a contagious confidence, you can
feel Ned’s family history come to the fore. While there is much more to
be said about the Crosby 24 in language understood by the discerning
mariner, there is one characteristic that is sure to catch the eye. It’s yellow.
A beautiful bright shade across the waterline. The reason behind the
color choice is genius. You’ll know it’s a Crosby 24.
Since before America was a nation, the Crosby family has been building
boats. 8 generations over 270 years. The tradition endures today thanks
to Ned Crosby and EM Crosby Boatworks. After all, as Bunny Mellon told
Ned, “a Crosby ought to have a place on the water.”

 

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The Cape Cod Writers Center

Cape Cod is a hidden haven for writers, whether they are established or beginning. Kurt Vonnegut, who spent several early years toiling at his craft in Osterville before moving to Barnstable Village, knew the value of the solitude and the sense of community that the Cape provided for artists. In the 1950s, the Osterville Library’s “Great Books” club became a social outlet as well as an escape from the stresses of life for Vonnegut. A decade later, when his literary star was rising, Vonnegut was among the earliest presenters at the Cape Cod Writers Center’s (CCWC) annual summer Cape Cod Writers Conference, along with Isaac Asimov, Art Buchwald and Jacques Barzun.
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Osterville Library’s Storied History

I sensed I would learn not just about the history of the library, but also about this village that I’d come to enjoy, with its bucolic setting on the Nantucket Sound, large swathes of protected land, and a village center that served all of our needs. The Osterville Free Library, as it was known when founded in 1882, can actually be traced back to 1873 as the Osterville Literary Society, and the lending library was located in the converted dining room of the James Allan Lovell House, where Thankful Hamblin Ames lived and served as the first librarian. The library was to outgrow the small room in less than a decade, and was moved to the Dry Swamp Academy behind the Osterville Baptist Church. In 1881 William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. solicited both year-round and summer residents to pledge money to build a new village library.
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Osterville Historian Paul Chesbro

Paul Chesbro’s roots are firmly planted in Osterville. He remembers Charles Jones and Albert “Allie” Colman driving their horse-drawn wagons in Osterville Center when he was a boy in the early 1940s. Just a few years later, Studebaker cars were parked along the side of the street – a subtle indicator that times were changing. But what had come before? What was it like when his ancestors walked the streets of Osterville? Who were their neighbors? What was their life like way back when?
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Clamming in Osterville, Dig Your Own

Oysters, soft-shell clams, quahogs – oh my! There’s nothing better than these fruits of the sea, and the best way to ensure you’re getting the freshest shellfish is to harvest them yourself. It’s great family fun and a wonderful way to introduce the kids to a lifelong activity, the importance of environmental preservation, and the concept of “catch and eat local.”
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Osterville’s Wianno Senior

The beloved Osterville native is over 100 years old and still going strong, gracefully plying the waters of Nantucket Sound, skimming the shallow current, averting shoals, harnessing the fickle winds, and asserting her place in the hearts of sailors who have, for generations, built the foundation of family and friendship upon her full keel.
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