63 Amy Trail
Ginny & Denny Raymond (since 2008)
Virginia & Chapin Cutler (1957-2008)
Dr. & Amy Hubbard
My mother was 6th generation Waterford. Our forebearer, Eber Rice, came to Waterford with a land grant for fighting in the Revolutionary War, building his farm on what is now the corner of Valley Road and Rice Road, part way to North Waterford. My grandmother, Blanche Millett Tyler, was born on the Millett farm on Plummer Hill. My mother, Virginia Tyler Cutler, was born in the Waterford Library building (apartment) as my grandmother was Librarian at the time. My mother lived most of her childhood, until she married in 1941, above the Rounds’s Store. My grandparents bought the Kedar Brook Farm (now One Ministers’ Hill) located at the foot of Rice Road on the Flat in 1949. I (Ginny Raymond) spent much of my childhood on the farm there with the cows, chickens, and pigs.
In 1957 my parents bought the Compromise Property from Dr and Amy Hubbard. The Hubbards said my parents could have any piece of property they wanted in that stretch of land they owned from Sucker Brook over to Tom’s Rock beach. My grandfather, Urban Tyler, kept Dr. Roswell Hubbard company as he made his house calls to rural locations in all year-round weathers. The Compromise property was payment (so to speak) for the hours my grandfather spent with the doctor. Folklore says the transaction was made for $1.
In 1958, my dad started building the cabin, and through the years it has morphed into the cabin it is today. Dad’s idea was to build a tent platform. My mom wanted a cute cottage in the woods. Hence “The Compromise!” The cabin is now more like what my mother wanted than what my dad had planned. Their definition of the Compromise was (and I believe this was kind of a joke) that it is a compromise between something my dad wanted and something reasonable.
The cabin is simply a cabin, with a main room, complete with a huge stone fireplace and with a porch. It has a laddered- (sleeping) balcony at each end of the room. Opposite the fireplace of course is a view of Keoka.
We had outdoor plumbing. Through the years, the back porch became a semi-enclosed “dorm” room sleeping 5 and the front porch became a kitchen. After my dad passed, and my mother was approaching 90, we added indoor plumbing, expanding our kitchen facilities and building bathroom. The fireplace had a heatilator that burned through both its walls from having so many cozy fires so we now have a wood stove set in the hearth, having removed the defunct heatilator.
One of the main reasons my parents wanted the cabin was so when we kids came home from summer camp we were not littering Grandma’s home with trunk contents needing to be sorted. We then had the Compromise available, all the sorting was done there in those days.
The cabin has been used by five generations in our family, starting with my grandparents, who loved sitting on the beach in the early days and is now being enjoyed by our grandchildren. We have named many of the rocks in the cove. Grandpa’s rock is a submerged rock that when the lake is at a reasonable level, we can stand upon it knee deep, playing KING OF THE ROCK, throwing one another off into much deeper water. We have Squire’s Rock, named after Squire Blue, the Sheltie dog with whom I grew up. In those days, it was used as a place to give him is bath: a tradition that has died with present day environmental concerns. We have a very large-bolder rock on the edge of the beach that we call Mom’s Rock. Children who have frequented our beach through the years have had fun crawling all over and jumping off the rock into the shallow water that encircles it. In the winter children slide off this bolder onto the snowy ice. The rocky point closest to the cabin we call Tyler point after my grandparents, and the other point, that we do not own, we simply call “the other point.” We never dignified it with a name. Beyond the other point is Frog Hollow, where we liked to watch frogs, tadpoles and other creatures jump, swim and hide.
Our biggest family tradition, that we still love, is having Corn Roasts. It is simply a beach party with hamburgers, hot dogs, salads etc., and corn. In the old days we cooked the meat over the open flames of a camp fire, but today we use a grill. But the corn, we still cook over the fire. The non-husked corn is set on the fire grill, and turned until the kernels begin to be visible through the last layer of the husk, as the husk burns away. It is simply the best way to have fresh corn. A really successful corn roast is enjoyed as the sun sets over Tir’em, and we are left in the dark to clear the beach of all the cooking items, chairs and toys. Mother always made it her job to make sure the camp fire was thoroughly extinguished.
As mentioned before, my grandparents owned the farm next to Kedar brook where Denny and I live now. They also owned the Green Barn across the street from Kedarburn. I do not know if they ever owned any of the fields where they ran the cattle and hayed. Mostly, I think they managed those fields for other owners. The farm was primarily a milk producer, selling most of the milk to Hood for cottage cheese. Grandpa would walk “down street” every day, going right into the kitchens to put the milk in customer’s refrigerators! We kids loved doing that with him. The farm was a child magnet, especially around 5 p.m. when the cows were brought in from a distant field and milked. It was a wonder to us kids, and we loved every moment spent here on the farm.
My family brought many people to Waterford for visits, especially family members, whose children, now grown, still come and use our camp. One sort-of family-member family was Helen and Phil Buchert. Helen’s brother married my dad’s sister. The Bucherts bought the lake property next to ours, between ours and Marshmallow Beach. They built an A-frame there. Ultimately, they also bought the farmhouse catty-corner from our farm. Aunt Helen & Uncle Phil renovated that farm. Now their daughter and husband live there, Jean and Al Struck. Their daughter, Kim, lives in South Waterford as well.
The Compromise is really a one season dwelling. The large fireplace which now houses the wood stove will heat the main room about 30 degrees warmer than it is outside. So if it is 30 outside, the room heats to about 60. If it is 0 outside then we get 30 degrees. Now the balcony-lofts will get quite a bit warmer than the main room as heat rises, so if it is cold outside, it can be almost too warm in the lofts.
Each year we always intend to walk across the lake to check out how things are doing at the Compromise. These visits might be just a walk around, or a playtime for the children, or in at least one case an adventurous sleep-over.
In the early 1970s before Denny and I had started our family, Dad, Mom, our old dog (Squire Blue) Denny and I hiked over carrying supplies for supper and a sleepover. At this time, we had not even thought about having a real stove or fridge there. In those days we used a little propane camp stove. We had a hand dug well where we got our water, and used ice and coolers for keeping things cold. So there we were, that winter, enjoying the cold camp. Dad lit the propane camp stove so we could cook spaghetti there. As we were prepping our dinner, we went out to pump the water, and it froze on the way up the pump pipe. So, Dad and Denny removed the top of the well and the pipe, and brought it inside the main room to thaw, which it did. Dad hand dipped water out of the well, so when the pipe had thawed, he and Denny put the well back together. Of course, the Compromise floor was slushy wet and muddy as a result.
About that time, our neighbors, the Bucherts and the Strucks came for a stand up visit: a laughing, joyful time, talking weather, lake, sleepovers, the well, etc. After they left, the water for the spaghetti had come to a boil, so we cooked it up. Meatballs and spaghetti sauce was heated over the open fire. We were all anticipating a wonderful spaghetti dinner.
So as we were turning the spaghetti out of the pot onto a paper plate. The plate, not strong enough to hold the spaghetti, folded in half, and the spaghetti slurped out of either end onto the floor. The floor on which the neighbors had stomped where and the pump had spewed what-have-you all over.
Now this spaghetti dinner was my gift to my parents. I was crushed and began to cry. My dad looked at me and said, "Now Ginny Lou, It’s okay. One day you will remember this moment and you will laugh." And 25-year- old-me said, "I will not!" Well, of course my Dad was right. We have laughed many times over that night. We scrapped up our dinner off the floor, rinsed it as best we could and ate!
A few years later after we had acquired a gas stove and fridge, my parents started living half the year in Stanford CA, and half the year here in Waterford. They rented the upper floor of the farm house from my Uncle, James Tyler, but mostly they stayed at the cabin. The spring they loved most of all! They loved the wood’s flowers as they burst forth in the spring. And they endured the cold nights of the fall, watching the colors turn and days shorten.
In those days we did not have electricity or phone. Dad had acquired an army generator that gave us a few lights in the evening. He ran the generator most mornings before we all awoke. We were not delighted with his choice of time, but he delighted in waking us, as morning was his favorite time of the day. If the weather was seasonable, my dad would swim a lap or two across the cove, au naturel, when the morning mist was just rising from the lake. He never understood why the rest of us were not morning people.
The following is portions of a writing by my Mother, copywrite 1992, written June 10, 1988.
From The Heart and Other Places
By Virginia Tyler Pages 66-67
Sometimes people ask: What is the Compromise? And I answer: The Compromise is our primitive cottage in the Maine woods. What do you mean primitive? No electricity, except for a small amount we generate from an old generator – enough for reading and running our small black and white TV and our lap computer – and oh yes, Chap’s rig [ham radio], no telephone, and no running water. We do have a small gas refrigerator and gas stove. And tile toilets.
The tile toilets sound rather nice, but they are really just round sewer-tiles, bottom size, stuck in the ground with a hole dug underneath. We used sewer-tiles because a toilet made of wood is fair game for the porcupines who inhabit our Maine woods. They gnaw anything with salt on it, and the tile is impervious to their sharp teeth. Chapin says the toilets are marvelous – just right….
But The Compromise is more than physical…. It’s a state of mind. It’s comfort: not physical, but mental. It’s love: love of family sharing in the joy or sadness of the woods. Sharing in the “Glorious Fourth” [of July]; sharing in the wonders of this beautiful woods. It’s joy; joy in the wealth and the changes of life. It’s peace: peace for the wounded heart and soul. It’s wonder; wonder at the bounty at our door step; wonder at the heavens at night; wonder at just being. The Compromise: a state of mind….
It was an exciting time after we bought the property, and there was much to do. The woods had to be cleared of underbrush. My brother, James and Dad spent much of that first winter cutting alder bushes and burning them on the ice (a no-no now). During the summer, Chap cut, cleared, and burned brush. That year, the Freys – Natalie, Bobbie, and Alice [Natalie being Chapin Cutler’s sister] pitched a tent on the property and spent part of their vacation camping. One night they smelled smoke and discovered that one of Chap’s brush fires had gone undergrown and was burning the peat-like subsoil. They worked hard, for there was a high wind, to put the fire out and probably saved the woods from destruction; it was quite an exciting adventure for them, to say the least….
Chapin spent the following Christmas Holiday in Dad’s barn carefully cutting and doweling two-by-fours for the frame. Each piece was numbered and fitted so that when he was ready to start to build, they fitted together perfectly. The first roof covering was tar paper, but this proved unsatisfactory. The roof was later covered with aluminum. First, The Compromise was painted barn red, but in later years that has been covered (mostly) by Cape Cod Gray….
Through the years The Compromise has changed. The porches have been screened, then later glassed in. The walls have been insulated. Its use has changed too. Someone asked my grandson, Tyler, (still a very young boy): How many rooms at the Compromise? After some thought, he said: Six. And he was right. What we called first at first “the front porch,” is now glassed, with the kitchen at one end and the dining space at the other. Who says rooms have to have four walls? So that’s two rooms. The balconies which are bed rooms, are not as open as they were at first when there were only railings; later covered with pseudo Indian Blankets. That makes two more rooms. The main room with its high ceiling, and the back porch which is now called the dormitory, where the grands or company sleep, are two more. Add that all together: SIX rooms.
A great part of The Compromise, the state of mind, is the beach: we’ve eaten there, slept there, laughed there, and wept there. Our beach parties, starting with our “kids,” the Buchert “kids,” the Holcomb [cousins] “kids,” and later the Frey ‘kids,” and sundry others – my mother and dad [Blanche & Urban Tyler], and now, “our“ grands,(Buchert and Holcomb, too) are a kaleidoscope of moonlit, star lit, rainy, cold, warm and glorious “corn roasts.”