Book in Progress

Nearly ten years ago, when my husband and I found ourselves overwhelmed by the size and pace of our life in the city, and the ceaseless flow of money and things and time required to sustain it, we moved to an isolated small town, halfway out to the tip of Cape Cod.

Between other projects, I am working on a memoir that tells the story of our years on Cape Cod — and how our family adjusted to small town life, long winters, crazy storms, and the often inexplicable behavior of our fellow town folk.

Part of the memoir will be an account of my volunteer job working at a small salvage operation on the grounds of our town dump.


On the Cape, every town has one of these salvage operations and they go by different names: The Swap Shop, The Dump Shack, The Dump-tique, The Dump Mall, The Free House. Where I live, in the town of Orleans, it is called, The Gift House. The range and array of stuff that arrives here is stunning, heart-stopping, and unpredictable.

You can come across almost anything – clam-digging waders, boat anchors, lobster buoys, outboard motors, skill saws, barn doors, TVs, phones, lamps, microwave ovens, blenders, kitchen china, hardware, tools, toys, cribs, hamster cages, paintings, old Christmas ornaments, cranberry harvesting equipment, bicycles, jigsaw puzzles, books. It would be almost impossible to describe them all, claim they were worthless or priceless, or organize them into categorizes of purpose, in anything shorter than an encyclopedia. Everything comes to the Gift House. Life comes. Life goes. And everything is free.