Every Day Was An Adventure

Kathryn H. Dole lived in the Hollister House for more than ten years, beginning in the late 1950’s. Clint and Becky Hollister had initially offered her the house for the summer in exchange for cleaning it up. Summer somehow turned into a decade in which “every day was an adventure and every night was Halloween”. On a recent afternoon, I had the pleasure of recording Kate’s impressions as she revisited the house and recalled what life had been like there with her husband Bill, seven children, and a delightfully madcap assortment of visitors and friends. – Cynthia Ward

“It was a very wet spring when I arrived, and this front yard was grass to my waist. The wisteria completely covered the front of the house. You couldn’t go in two doors because you couldn’t get through the wisteria. But it was so beautiful — so beautiful! I fell in love.”

“We didn’t stay here full-time at first. For the first two or three years we drove back and forth on weekends. Then we discovered that my weekends were starting on Thursday night and ending on Tuesday morning. When I first came up, I had a little wrench and a little pair of pliers. I was in sandals and shorts and a sleeveless tee shirt. After I’d been up here a few years, when I got up in the morning I’d put on the sturdiest blue jeans I could find, wool socks, boots, a long-sleeved shirt, and heavy-duty gloves. My pruning shears went from miniature to grand. The first chain saw I bought was so big I couldn’t pick it up!”

“I love the way it’s painted now; they brought out the architectural details. It was so messy when we arrived. For instance, you couldn’t see this path here at all– it was all overgrown.”

“The swimming pool was there, and it was totally black It all looks smaller now. And there’s a tea room out there that had a shale bedstone wall around it and a little stone table. It was completely hidden — we often had tea there. There’s also a lily pond that we discovered was eight feet deep when Bill’s mother stepped backward and fell into it.”

“The pool water was pitch black because the lithium in the water up here, combined with the oak leaves — or bourbon — turns black. We used to fix somebody bourbon and water, and it doesn’t happen instantly — they’d have a few sips and set it down on their arm chair, and all of a sudden, they’d look at their drink and it’d be just black.”

“Water was always our major problem. And it wasn’t the color, it was the lack of it. We were without water for at least one month out of every year. Thank God for the swimming pool, or we couldn’t have done it! We kept buckets in the bathroom to flush the toilets with, and the rule was, when you used that bucket, you filled that bucket up. So we filled up the buckets from the swimming pool, and there would be occasional screams of ‘Argh! Frogs!’ There were snakes, too. It was always wise to tap the water before you jumped in the pool, so everything could go to the bottom — you hoped.”

“Oh, those were wonderful years! Every day I would wake up and wonder what adventures awaited.”

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