Eleanor & Debbie Gardiner
Eleanor and Debbie Gardiner
Interviewed by Tom Keating
Huletts Library and Gallery, Huletts Landing, NY
July 2, 2010
Tom: This is Tom Keating at the firehouse once again, it’s July 19th, 2010, and today we are interviewing Eleanor Gardiner and her daughter Debbie Gardiner. So, Eleanor, may I call you Eleanor?
Tom: Can you tell me when you first came to Huletts Landing?
Eleanor: I was married in ‘42, so I came up here in 1940.
Tom: Uh huh, and where did you first come?
Eleanor: Where what?
Debbie: Where did you first come up?
Eleanor: Oh, we stayed at the Gardiner house at the point.
Tom: Who owned the house at that time?
Eleanor: Well, his father had passed away and his mother was alive, so Mrs. Gardiner was running the house at that time.
Tom: And that was, who was that to you, was that your mother?
Debbie: In-law, soon to be mother in law. (laughter)
Tom: Oh, ok.
Eleanor: Yeah, mother in law.
Tom: So could you tell me some things about the house as you remember it when you first saw it?
Eleanor: It was gorgeous. The point was absolutely fabulous. And I was amazed at the beauty of the property. And, all the boats and all the lovely places inside the house, it was fantastic.
Tom: Uh huh. And how long would you stay when you first came?
Eleanor: We were up for two weeks that first time.
Tom: And what would you do while you were there?
Eleanor: Oh, we went out for boat rides; we went for a ride around the lake.
Tom: Do you remember what kind of boat they had?
Eleanor: What was the name of the boat?
Debbie: It was a Chris Craft. It was the Miss Ellen. Because my grandmother…
Tom: Could you come a little closer?
Debbie: Oh sorry. The boat was the Miss Ellen; it was an old Chris Craft . And my grandmother’s name was Ellen Gardiner, so my grandfather, Hubert Gardiner, named the boat after the Miss Ellen. And there were two of them. There was the Miss Ellen I and the Miss Ellen II, and I believe they sold the Miss Ellen I shortly after my grandfather Gardiner died, which was July 7th 1929, and he died here on the golf course.
Tom: Oh, really?
Debbie: Yeah (chuckle).
Tom: Well, I guess that’s a good way to go if you’re doing something you enjoy.
Debbie: He was doing something in a place he loved.
Tom: So then your family was the original owners of this house
Debbie: My father’s family yes. Yes. And then… yup.
Tom: Go ahead.
Debbie: My grandfather built it in 1922 and he bought the property shortly before, well, a couple years before that, and the story was that he waited until the boys came home from the war, which were his sons Hubert Jr., and my father, Howard, and it was World War I, so when they came back they started construction on the house, so it was my father, and his name was Hubert as well, and his two sons, and they were involved in planning and building the house, and there was actually another, smaller house on that property farther back that was, they said it was more like a fisherman’s shack.
Tom: That was there before you?
Debbie: Before yeah.
Tom: I see.
Debbie: And they tore that down and then built the point where it is today, and it opened, we think, on Memorial Day of 1922.
Tom: Oh yeah? How special… right at the beginning of the season.
Debbie: Well, and they planned that well because they had all the furnishings shipped from New York, Brooklyn and New York City by train to Whitehall and my grandfather and my father and his brother Hubert put all the furniture over the mountain in the middle of the winter on a horse-drawn sleigh.
Debbie: Yup. (laughter) Many trips as you would imagine. They furnished the entire house, and every bit of furnishing they brought over by horse- drawn sleigh over that mountain. My father said it was the coldest he ever remembered being. (laughter)
Tom: So they could have it ready for Memorial Day?
Tom: And so your Grandfather designed and built the house?
Tom: Was he an architect?
Debbie: No, I’m sure he worked with an architect, I don’t really know. But he had definite ideas about what he wanted the house to look like and he was very much, I mean he had builders, you know, but he was very much involved in how the house looked.
Tom: And does the house look today the way you remember it or has it changed somewhat?
Eleanor: Yes. No it looks the same.
Tom: So nothing’s been done to the house since it was built; it’s just the original house, as is?
Debbie: It’s pretty much as is; now, they did put in a new kitchen, they put in some new appliances in the kitchen (laughs). You know?
Tom: Well, ok. A little different from 1922.
Eleanor: Right, yeah.
Debbie: But when we went, I got, this was probably in the 50’s and 60’s when I remember going up there, we came up, they divided it between the brothers and sisters so everybody got two weeks.
Tom: Oh, oh.
Debbie: And so, well, actually I was going to say most of them, because Hazel O’Neill, who’s Lynn’s grandmother, she was Hazel Gardiner, she, Lynn’s grandmother Hazel and my father were brother and sister, um, so, actually my first cousin is Lynn’s mother.
Tom: This gets complicated.
Debbie: Oh, you have no idea.
Tom: So how many siblings did your grandfather, I mean how many children did your grandfather have?
Tom: Seven? And they divided it, took it two weeks all through the summer?
Debbie: Right, but, by the time, yes. But then two had passed away by the early 50’s, so it was five, and then, but Hazel wasn’t involved with it because she had her own cottage over here. So, it was my father Hubert, Mae and Eddie.
Tom: And who did you marry, which one did you marry?
Tom: You married Howard, uh huh. So you would come for two weeks at that time when you started coming in 1940?
Eleanor: Yeah, that’s true, first two in August.
Tom: But they were, how about before everybody got married, did the whole family come for the summer?
Eleanor: Oh, yes.
Debbie: Oh, yeah.
Tom: You could say your grandfather lived here in the summer?
Debbie: For the most part, I think he, by then, yeah, he was here, yeah, it was really 1922, he died in 1929, so he was here at that point for most of the summer, but he had a book binding company in New York, it was Gardiner Binding and Mailing Company; they were book binders and Hubert and my father both worked for the book binding.
Tom: Now in 1922 I would assume that was the only way to get here was by ship, or were there roads over the mountain?
Tom: Well, you said came by sleigh with the furniture?
Eleanor: They came up by train.
Debbie: Yeah… oh yeah, well they, when they first started coming up here they came, they took the night boat. They took, they came right into Manhattan from Brooklyn, they took the night boat up the Hudson to Albany, then they took a train to Lake George Village, then they took the steamer up the lake, up here to Hulett’s and so, with, at that point, seven children. (laughter)
Eleanor: And hat boxes for the girls.
Debbie: And each girl got one hat box, true story, oh yeah, and I think they had a couple of, some help, that came with them, but they, they were first at the hotel, then they rented a cottage in what was called The Grove, and then they built the point, so, but I think by 29 you could get here, I think… well… I’m not sure, maybe by car.
Tom: By car, maybe they had a road by then.
Debbie: Yeah, it took a long time.
Tom: So then I would imagine they came by that method, they would have to stay for a while. You didn’t come for a week then by that method, it took you a weekend to get here probably.
Debbie: Oh yeah.
Tom: Did you ever come by boat to get here or you always came by car?
Tom: So do you have any idea how he came by that particular piece of property? How did he get a hold of it since that is a very choice piece?
Debbie: Yeah, I know. (chuckle)
Tom: It’s about the choicest piece in the whole landing, yeah?
Debbie: Yeah. I don’t, you know, he, he found Hulett’s though; he had a heart condition and he started going up to the spas, Saratoga Springs, and Balston Spa, and that’s how he discovered Lake George and Hulett’s. I guess must have been met people, but I, I’m not sure how, but that piece came up for sale, I think; I think he had his eye on it for a long time.
Tom: Now you were, so you started coming in 1940, around that time, when you married Howard?
Eleanor: I came in ’40 for a visit, like for a long weekend. And it was the first time I was ever at Hulett’s. And then.
Tom: Where were you coming from, New York City?
Eleanor: Yes, Brooklyn, and then we got married in ’43 and then I came for long weekends and many, then the two weeks, after we were married, got that two weeks.
Tom: ‘Cause all the siblings were still sharing the house at that point?
Tom: Was there any, was there any problems with that kind of sharing in terms of what weeks you got, or how did you work that out?
Debbie: No, if anything happened here between, 1952 and 1965, and I know about it, it was the first two weeks in August.
Tom: So, you always had the same two weeks?
Eleanor: That’s right.
Debbie: But then Mae and Hubert, because they were both widowed, or widowered, at the time, they had, they came up and opened the house in May, and they stayed then through the end of July, and then many times we just let them stay on with us, for the first two weeks in August because it was just the three of us; so, there were several summers, and then another time, they let Mom and I come up early, for the last two weeks in July, so we were here for a month.
Eleanor: A whole month. Yeah.
Tom: And did you ever have a big family reunion where everyone would come at once, and have a celebration or something?
Debbie: No, but everyone was really here because Eddie, who’s the youngest brother, um, he and his family were in Meadowbrook, all summer, except for the last three weeks.
Tom: So you sort of juggled around then?
Debbie: But everybody was really here then. Hazel, Lynn’s grandmother was still in the cottage Lynn is in now, so for the most part, everybody that was still living was here during the summer. It was like one sort of big family reunion.
Tom: And did your grandfather build the boathouse also?
Debbie: Oh, yeah, built that, and the little summer house.
Tom: The little summer house, where’s the little summer house?
Debbie: Ok, if you’re standing on the point, it’s all the way down to the right; it looks north, up the lake.
Tom: Oh, I see.
Debbie: There’s the big point, and there’s almost like a little point, it’s a pretty little house.
Tom: And what does that consist of?
Debbie: It’s just, a roof, and seating on three sides, it’s all open, it’s just a little…
Tom: It’s not a place to stay?
Debbie: It’s just a place to sit.
Tom: What is the interior of the main house like, how many bedrooms and so forth?
Debbie: Four main bedrooms upstairs, a small (one) was the maid’s room, right off the kitchen, kitchen, dining room, full-sized living room. There’s a tiny, here’s the living room, there’s a tiny little bath and then a shower on this side. They were very small people, I guess. (laughter) and that, the little half bath is built under the stairs, but then there’s a full bath upstairs, four bedrooms and then a full attic.
Eleanor: Full attic.
Debbie: Since the recent owners.
Tom: I bet that’s filled with treasures.
Debbie: Well, it was but then one of, since one of the newer owners sort of refinished it, there’s a couple of beds up there and they put in a half bath, but there’s an old cedar chest that was original and they used to put, when they packed up for the winters, all the blankets, all the quilts all the pillows. It’s about from where we’re sitting to the second window; it’s huge
Eleanor: You could park in it.
Tom: Did you put a lot of mothballs in there to keep it protected?
Tom: And you have the grand porch that looks out at Burgess Island and down the lake.
Eleanor: Gorgeous, gorgeous.
Debbie: Yeah, yeah, yup. Let’s see what else.
Tom: Tell me about when you were going to stay there. Do you have any interesting stories that happened at one point or another?
Debbie: Interesting stories?
Tom: Something unusual that might have happened there?
Debbie: Well, we used to go to the casino.
Eleanor: Yeah, and we went over to the hotel. On Sunday night they had a get together and entertainment, the children would perform. And it was beautiful.
Tom: And what was a typical day like when you stayed here on Lake George, how would it go, do you remember anything about that?
Eleanor: Most of the time we went out and sat on the big rock and sunned ourselves.
Tom: And did you do a lot of swimming?
Eleanor: Yes. Yes.
Tom: What about things like waterskiing or sailing did you do any of that kind of stuff?
Tom: That came with your generation? That wasn’t done back then?
Debbie: Well, you know, but they didn’t have skis, they had boards, and they were up in the attic actually, and they were wooden boards and they almost looked like, almost a sled without runners, and that was attached to the boat and it was the same idea, but you pulled up.
Tom: So it was like an aquaplane?
Debbie: And then they had canvas rafts, I mean there was no, rubber rafts, the old canvas raft, the attic was full of that, oh and you know, at the point between the main house, on your way down to the boat dock, there was a tennis court, a grass tennis court.
Tom: That’s not there now though is it?
Debbie: Well it’s all overgrown.
Eleanor: But the summer house is still there.
Debbie: Ye, the little summer house. And then there were three out buildings, the largest one uncle Hubert turned into his tool house and he was always down soldering something.
Tom: Is that still there?
Debbie: Yeah, and that was his. There were two other houses; there was an ice house and the pump house. And the ice house was, during the winter, someone would cut blocks of ice from the lake and put it in this little, it was a little outbuilding, covered in saw dust, and before they had actually refrigerators, they had an ice box.
Tom: That would last till the summer?
Debbie: Yeah, it would last all summer.
Tom: Amazing. All summer that would last?
Debbie: For the most part.
Debbie: It was in the trees and it was in the shade and with the sawdust, and they’d keep it, and they’d go and chip the ice off.
Tom: So, who would do that in the winter, your grandfather or somebody else?
Debbie: No, they hired somebody. They’d hire somebody to do that.
Tom: Is that icehouse still there?
Debbie: Uh huh.
Tom: That’s there too?
Debbie: I think, yeah, it was empty the last time I was over there.
Tom: Well, yeah, we have refrigerators now.
Debbie: Well, in the 50’s we had the original from the 20’s refrigerator (inaudible) on top.
Eleanor: Oh, there goes your pen. (laughter)
Debbie: And a washing machine that had the wringer, and they’d attach it to the sink; we’d wash and wring everything out, let’s see.
Tom: So what about sailing, did you ever do sailing there?
Debbie: No, nobody sailed.
Tom: And you would swim off the front? Were those docks there that are there now?
Debbie: No, we just dove off the rocks.
Tom: Oh, you just dove off the rocks, I see.
Debbie: And climbed back up the rocks.
Tom: But you wouldn’t go over to the boathouse and swim off the boathouse?
Debbie: Oh, yeah, we would, but it was more fun to dive off.
Eleanor: We spent time down at the little beach.
Debbie: And Philip’s beach, because there was, you could just walk right down, there was nothing else.
Tom: So you were probably the only house there then, that you go to over Sheep Meadow lane right?
Debbie: The DeMuros were there too.
Tom: Oh, they were there at that time too.
Debbie: They were there in the ‘50’s; I don’t know exactly when they built that house.
Tom: But yours must have been the first house on that whole peninsula over there.
Debbie: Yeah, and they had a hundred-year right of way through Irene’s farm.
Tom: Has it ended yet? No not yet. (laughter)
Debbie: And we had to blast one of the rocks when you came, when you went through the gate and came up like that, the car, it was very steep.
Tom: It was very steep, I remember that, you would go up and you wouldn’t be able to see.
Debbie: And you’d just hope for the best as you went down, and my father and Uncle Hubert dynamited that land and they blasted the top off because at that point the cars were getting lower; I mean, it was one thing when you had the really old higher cars. There was also, they pumped the water, the pump house pumped the water right in from the lake and there was a water tower on that property, and you can still see, there’s some of the pipes if you look really closely, they still go through there.
Tom: As you know, the roads been realigned now, so we don’t quite have that big bump to go over.
Debbie: No, no we went up yesterday, we went over to see it.
Tom: What was it like going back to see it?
Debbie: It was wonderful.
Tom: Yes. You haven’t seen it since you sold it?
Debbie: No. About ten years ago.
Eleanor: I’ve been over to visit. The kids have been up several times, and knew people.
Debbie: The Hemmerleins let us in; they had just bought the house.
Eleanor: Let us come in and walk around.
Tom: When they first bought it.
Debbie: Yeah. So we saw that. But, some of the original furniture is still there, but other tenants took a lot of the pieces with them when they moved.
Tom: And that, as when your grandfather first put (bought?) the property, was it a bigger piece of property or is it still the original size?
Debbie: That was it, that’s the original size.
Tom: Now, so how about in the days when things were a little more formal, was there anything, was there any formalities observed in the household in how you conducted the day, or was it all kinda free and loose like it is today?
Debbie: Oh no. There was, especially when Aunt Mae and Uncle Hubert were there, we had pretty much, like a, semi-formal breakfast, like everyone sat down to breakfast, and then at 1 o’clock.
Tom: And you did you have a maid at the time that did the cooking?
Debbie: No, she did the cooking. She quit; she had a fight with Uncle Hubert.
Eleanor: Missus T.
Debbie: Missus Torgulson. She had a fight with Uncle Hubert about 1956 and quit (laughter) Oh, I kid you not.
Tom: That was the end of the maids?
Debbie: That was the end of the maids.
Tom: But she had been around a long time?
Debbie: Oh, yeah, for years and years and years.
Tom: So what brought this fight about?
Debbie: I’m not sure. I would guess money, but I don’t know
Tom: So she gave up living on Lake George because she had an argument?
Debbie: She had an argument with Uncle Hubert and quit. Yup.
Tom: So, who would do the cooking then for the meals?
Debbie: Well, then Aunt Mae would do the cooking, and at one o’clock, this is the truth, every day, there was a big, old like a bullhorn on the back porch, and I’d be down at Philips beach. At quarter of one, rrrrrrr, the bell would ring, I would get up off the beach, go up to the house, go upstairs, change into a dress, and come down, and sit down to dinner. On a hot (day).
Tom: Every day?
Debbie: Every day. In the first two weeks of August. And there’s nothing like a big leg of lamb (laughter) on a hot day in August.
Tom: On a hot day in August.
Debbie: And all I wanted was a bologna sandwich like every other kid, but, as annoying as it was at the time, it’s kind of a wonderful experience because it was really living like you did in the 1920s. I mean, that’s what you did.
Tom: And then how did the rest of the day unfold if you had the big deal in the middle of the day?
Eleanor: Mae spent the afternoon taking her nap. And then we’d have a light supper, and sit around on the porch at night.
Debbie: Or go over to the landing, or you know, I remember bingo.
Eleanor: You went over to that bingo game?
Debbie: I used to go with Aunt Mae to bingo. And we’d walk across the field and across the stile, and we had a flashlight, and how somebody didn’t break a leg, I’ll never know, we went to bingo, and then there was movie night, and I can tell you, in the first two weeks in August, every year, it was the Tea House of the August Moon and The Great Houdini.
Tom: It was the same movies?
Debbie: It was the same movie, year after year. It was great. And so, by the time I was about 11 I could speak a little Japanese and get myself out of a water tank.
Tom: So then you’ve been coming ever since you were born, essentially?
Tom: And do you have siblings too?
Debbie: No. And, it was also funny because I came along a little late in my parents’ life, because my father was 56 when I was born, so, and he was in the middle of the siblings, so everyone else was even older.
Tom: So you’re the real young one of the whole family then?
Debbie: I’m the youngest of the family, and my oldest first cousin died two years ago and she was 98.
Tom: That’s your oldest first cousin?
Debbie: Yeah. Yup.
Tom: Who’s probably 50 years older than you, or 40 years older than you? My gosh.
Debbie: Yup. Well, Mae, and this was Mae’s daughter Grace, and Mae was the oldest and Eddie was the youngest and there was almost a 25 years span in the children, so, and then Mae married early and had Grace early and my father married late and I was the youngest of all the first cousins.
Tom: Now who of your generation is still living?
Both: No one.
Tom: Between your siblings? None of the siblings are alive?
Tom: So you’re the only one remaining?
Eleanor: And I’m gonna be 99.
Debbie: In October. (laughter)
Tom: Wow, so you’ve been coming here a really long time then, huh? You might hold the record for longest at Hulett’s Landing. How often, how much time do you spend here now?
Eleanor: Not much at all.
Debbie: Well, you know.
Tom: Do you still come every summer though?
Debbie: Just about.
Eleanor: No. We come up and visit Lynn.
Debbie: I would say…
Eleanor: We were up last year.
Debbie: We were up last year, and then my cousin Pattie, who was Eddie’s daughter, she and her family rented Faraway, which is part of the Reilley’s and they rented that house for many years, and then we would go up there for a week, we would rent that from Lynn for a week. So I mean, over the years it hasn’t been every year but we’ve been back.
Tom: What do you remember about Irene Philips?
Debbie: Oh, my gosh.
Tom: Tell the story about the gate.
Debbie: Oh, right. Well, ok, yes. There was the gate to keep the sheep in Irene’s and so the youngest person in the car, as you were going over to point would have to get out and slide the bolt back and open the gate and so the car would go through and then come back, close the gate, put the bolt back on, and get up in the car (laughter), and everybody hated it, it was like, the person had the short straw got to close the gate.
Tom: Did you ever forget to do it?
Tom: What are your memories of Irene? Did you know her well? Did you have much interaction with her?
Debbie: Uh, pretty well, I was a little scared of her.
Eleanor: Very hard working lady.
Debbie: I mean she was very, very nice to me, but I can still remember her standing with the pitchfork and thinking I’m gonna do whatever she says. (laughter)
Tom: Did you ever work for her, help her in the house at all?
Eleanor: I was never in the house, never.
Tom: Would you hang out with the people who used to camp in the Sheep Meadow?
Debbie: We used to hang out with the people who were down at the beach.
Tom: Did you know Audrey Barbera? She used to camp in the Sheep Meadow?
Debbie: There were Goldeys that came down… no, I don’t remember people camping in the Sheep Meadow; that’s funny. It must have been over near the boondocks. Is that where?
Tom: Well, somewhere in the Sheep Meadow. That’s what those docks are for, the people used to use those docks if they had a boat.
Debbie: I think they’re like the Boondocks. Yeah, that was, if you were coming across the stile, facing, going toward Hulett’s.
Tom: What do you mean by the stile?
Debbie: Oh, there was an actual real stile that you went through the Sheep Meadow to come over to the Landing; they had an old fashioned stile.
Tom: What is a stile?
Debbie: Oh, it’s a little wooden sort of, it’s like a mini-bridge almost, we went up two steps, and there was a flat, and over the fence, and then you went down the two steps, and that’s how we could walk over to the Landing, but, it’s an old-fashioned, I guess.
Tom: So, you didn’t have to come out to Land’s End Road, you just cut through the woods?
Debbie: No, you just cut through, but there weren’t even woods, it was all just meadow then.
Tom: All meadow?
Tom: And very few houses?
Debbie: No houses there. There were no houses. The closest there were…
Eleanor: (Someone) next door.
Debbie: And the DeMuros.
Eleanor: What was the other?
Debbie: DeMuro. Yeah, but there were no houses on the Sheep Meadow. We and the DeMuros were the only people really over there.
Tom: And what did Irene have, sheep and cows and anything else?
Debbie: Two cows, and sheep and some chickens
Tom: Did you get the eggs from her or anything like that?
Debbie: No, no, not that I remember, but we’d let the sheep up occasionally. Nobody ever mowed the lawn (laughed).
Tom: Because the sheep would come by your house?
Debbie: Yeah, we didn’t need it, we’d ask Irene could you send a few sheep over, and they’d come over, and they’d absolutely flatten the grass, it was great. No one, they never mowed the grass. Let the sheep eat it.
Tom: We should have more sheep around today. We wouldn’t have to listen to all these lawn mowers.
Debbie: (laughter) That’s right.
Tom: So then, what happened when you came to sell it? What was the reason the family sold it?
Debbie: Well, everyone was getting older
Tom: How old were you, when did you sell it, what was the year?
Debbie: 1965, I was 14, and my other cousins were all maybe between 2 and 4 years older than I am. And we were the younger generation and then, no one, and we certainly couldn’t take over the house. When I was in my grandfather’s will, he really, when he died, he thought the house should be sold because he didn’t want anyone fighting over it, so they worked it out; but then it just, it turned out I would say between 1965 and 1970 Hazel died, Mae died and Hubert died. And Eddie became ill, he had a stroke, so there just wasn’t you know, there wasn’t anyone really to take care of it properly, and my father couldn’t do it by himself. And you know, they, the feeling was they wanted to sell it while it was beautiful and well-kept rather than let it get run down and nobody was in a position to keep it up, so we sold it.
Tom: So your heart broke?
Tom: I bet. And you sold it to the Whitneys?
Debbie: No, we sold it to the Corbetts.
Tom: Oh, the Corbetts. Yes, right.
Debbie: And they stayed, I think only a couple of years.
Tom: Right, because the Whitneys came soon after, I think.
Debbie: Yeah, I think they were cousins; that’s what I’ve heard. The Whitneys were cousins of the Corbetts.
Eleanor: That’s right.
Tom: And did you sell it rather easily at that time, or was it on the market a long time?
Debbie: No it wasn’t on the market a long time at all. Wanna know what we sold it for?
Tom: Yes, tell us so our jaws will drop.
Debbie: $50,000. (laughter) Furnished. At the time, you know.
Tom: It seemed like a lot at the time, right?
Tom: But, of course, those things always change, right? So where did you go after that? Did you stop coming to Hulett’s or? You’re here now so there must have been some kind of connection.
Debbie: Yeah, we come up now and, well we’d come up to see Hazel. And then her daughter Rita was Lynn’s mother. We came up to visit her a few times, so we still come up, not as much, no, it was sorta hard being here and not being at the place.
Tom: I would be, I couldn’t understand that.
Debbie: Yeah, it was really difficult to be.
Tom: I rented my house one summer and came up to visit somebody else and I looked at my house and I said, “I can’t go into it.”
Debbie: I know; that’s not my house right now.
Tom: So you stayed with Lynn then? Is that how that works?
Tom: And now the house is for sale again?
Tom: But not selling so easily.
Debbie: And not for $50,000.
Tom: No, and not for $50,000. Maybe then it would sell easily. And it became Gardiner Point kind of informally, or is it that way on the maps now?
Debbie: On some of the maps it is, yeah.
Tom: I think it says that on the little island there, doesn’t it? It says Gardiner Island. Not a state island or something like that.
Debbie: Yeah. There was a little bridge that used to go over it. The old postcards you can see, but what happened is it used to like break up every winter. It froze and you know, apparently there was, where the dock is now, in the front, there was a smaller dock there.
Debbie: At one point, and there was one over to the side too, facing north. To the north side of the point, and there was a little beach there as well, but that dock sort of collapsed. It washed away.
Eleanor: Washed away with the ice.
Tom: Yeah, ice will do that in a lot of cases. So what would say is the biggest change you’ve observed in Hulett’s since you were here in the 50s and 60s?
Debbie: Let me see. Well, it seems there are a lot more cottages.
Tom: That’s for sure
Debbie: A LOT more cottages. And it seems to be that, well, you know, the people, I guess there was a bit more formality to it too. People really got dressed up. We got dressed up to go to the church, and as hot as it was, I mean.
Tom: You went to the stone church over here?
Debbie: No, we went to the Catholic Church.
Tom: I see. But it’s in the same location?
Debbie: The same location. In fact, that’s another story. My grandfather Gardiner was involved in building those two wings that are on the side of the church; he was very much involved in that and if you look in the church right over the altar, (on) the main stained glass window, it says gift of Ellen and Hubert Gardiner and all the old stations of the cross were all donated by the family.
Eleanor: For the children.
Tom: Oh, well, then you have a big stake in that church?
Tom: And now everybody knows it since you told us. I’ll bet that’s not generally known by people going to the church right?
Debbie: Probably not, no. Most people don’t read.
Tom: Well, that’s why we’re doing this project so we can find out these little details from the past, and, well you know, I came in the late 60’s and even then it was still pretty empty. You know, a lot of the building didn’t start until the mid-‘80’s, then it really took off with houses going up all over the place, especially in the Sheep Meadow and so forth. Even in the 60’s and 70’s it was still pretty empty.
Debbie: It was. That was a big, and I think, too, that now they’re doing a much nicer job now, but the grounds were beautiful over by what was the old hotel, they were really. There were beautiful flowers; I can still remember that.
Tom: Did you go to the hotel a lot as a kid?
Debbie: I didn’t because it came down in ’56, I don’t remember it very much at all.
Tom: Uh huh, but you went to the hotel a lot right?
Tom: To go dancing to the bands.
Eleanor: Right. It was beautiful.
Tom: And dinner.
Debbie: Was Sunday night the big night?
Debbie: Sunday night for some was the big night.
Tom: So, when you came, you in a sense would stay in Hulett’s, you wouldn’t go out camping on the islands or things like that, you concentrated in this area?
Tom: Well, do you have any closing thoughts that you’d like to leave us with for this project? They’ve have been very gracious of you to come by and tell us all this fascinating stories.
Debbie: No. Thank you.
Tom: And then it’s very interesting to me because I’ve looked at that house all my life that I’ve been here, because it’s right across the bay from me?
Eleanor: Did you go over to see it now?
Tom: I will do that because I heard…
Eleanor: Do it because right now; it is beautiful inside.
Tom: I was in that house one time. Dr. Whitney had a big party one night and he invited everybody on the bay to come over, and that’s the way we got to see that house.
Debbie: Oh, how nice.
Eleanor: But, please, go over and see it now
Tom: I have many photographs of that house since it’s in my view all the time.
Debbie: The other thing I’d like to say, I hope whoever buys it loves it, and takes good care of it.
Tom: Yes, that’s very important. Isn’t that special that you would have that happen to your house.
Debbie: And I hope whoever buys it can afford to keep it in one parcel.
Tom: Ahhh, we won’t count on that (laughter). Okay.
Debbie: Well, I can wish.
Tom: Okay, thank you.
Transcription by Robert Stragnell
Edited by Arnie Galbraith and Marian Knight