By Kay Mayhew - August 17, 2006

Now I can tell you even more about the work being done at the Grace Episcopal Church rectory. As I told you a few weeks ago, the old house revealed many of its secrets when the work began. Some time ago, interior walls had been removed on the first floor to open up the area into a "great room." Unfortunately, whoever did the work did not consider the load-bearing function of these walls. To correct this problem, a steel I-beam will be installed to level and stabilize the second floor, as well as one in the new basement to provide stability for the first floor.

The rector, the Rev. Rob Hensley, says that French doors opening out onto the porch, another original feature, will replace the current floor to ceiling windows by the front door. The wrap-around porch is a restoration of the porch originally part of the building. Nick Willoughby of Willoughby Restorations is reconstructing the porch from old photographs.

A new heating plant and hot water system is being installed, the old oil tank was removed from the basement to the outside, and an even older oil tank that was buried in the ground under a side porch has been removed. Other work involves updating electrical wiring and a new interior staircase for the new basement, and a new bulkhead. The siding will once again be clapboard. Father Hensley says, "God willing, and no other secrets revealed, we hope to be back in the house by the middle of September." He says, "We look forward to having a home worthy of entertaining visitors for many years to come. It is our plan to also add new patio areas."

Both Rob Hensley and his partner Michael Helgert are avid gardeners. They are working to restore the rectory flower gardens and grounds to a peaceful park-like setting. A new wooden fence was placed around the playground. The old pine trees that were starting to die out have been removed, the overgrown forsythia has been cut back, and new plantings installed on the slope between the pre-school playground and the rectory. We all look forward to seeing the beautiful transformation when all the work is done.

You have probably noticed that swimming has become a challenge this year. Everywhere you go there are more jellyfish. You can see that the harbor is full of little jellies. Tashmoo even has a selection. I am told that you should use the saltwater to splash off the stinging sections. Brushing them off or rubbing them can make the experience much more painful.

This is the time of year when there are so many wonderful events that it is hard to keep up. If we did not have our Calendar section, I would never know what was happening. Much as I would like to save some of our beautiful summer days to savor in the winter, I would also like to have the opportunity to review some of our spectacular summer events. One evening alone in the last week featured three unique opportunities that I missed. Isn't it wonderful to have such choices?

Anniversary celebrations are in order for John and Laurel Chapman on Tuesday. On Wednesday the Campagnas, Anthony and Pamela, will mark 37 happy years together. Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out today to Gus Daniels. Friday wish the best to Larry Levine and Kathy Welch. Saturday's party boy is Jeff Damon Pratt.

Heard on Main Street: "See you at the Fair!"