Background photo by Greg Hinson

This is a story that most Cape Codders tell: He had come to Brewster as a child and vacationed there for his entire life.

We got to the point where we wanted to move out of the city for a while—New York had gotten very dangerous in the 1970s—and we came to Brewster in October 1978. We left New York with my husband driving a 22-foot moving van and me driving a Dodge Dart with a stick shift—and I had never learned how to drive a stick shift until then. We left in the middle of the night so that when I ground the gears and chugged along the road I wouldn’t bother anybody. We came over the bridge when the sun was coming up.

My husband opened a law office, I began working down at the courthouse examining land titles for my husband and a few other attorneys, and I thought I had dropped into a big black hole of social nothingness. There wasn’t even a movie theatre until you reached a place on Route 28 in Yarmouth. Most of the people living here were having such a hard time making ends meet that they worked all the time. It was such a beautiful place with really nice people, but I couldn’t develop a social network that felt comfortable. It was so bad that I almost left. But it started to change.

• • •

Somewhere around the late 1980s, one of my friends from New York came here and performed with Robert Troy at the Academy of Performing Arts in Orleans. She would come in the summertime and stay at my house—she would practice her lines in my garden and sing while picking bugs off my plants (laughs). She said the theatre had to find another home and that she wanted to introduce me to Bob, the artistic director, because I might be able to help him. He was interested in moving his theatre company onto the land where we are now—he had seen the old buildings out here—and he had no idea how to do it. I remember thinking, my god, this is like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland making a theatre out of a barn in some movie (laughs). But I’ve always been open to other people’s aspirations and dreams, so I helped him write a letter to the management agency of the parks system. A week later, they wrote back saying it was a great proposal and that we should talk.

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Jeff is the Managing Editor for Cape Cod Life Publications.

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Factory Village, West Brewster, MA