†Close Ups

Text Box: Time Passes, Wellfleet

We started going to Wellfleet in 1975 when Amy was 2. Gerry found us a rental in a group of cottages on a spit of land between Town Pier and Duck Creek.  This area had at one time been the main port of Wellfleet before it silted in. A hundred years ago they were known as the Lemon Pie Cottages because of their pie-shaped roofs. 

A huge attraction for me was the derelict boats littering the shore. They were old used-up fishing boats that had been run aground and abandoned. Of course environmentally this kind of thing is horrible. The engines and metal parts rust and whatever fluids remain leech out into the soil and the already tenuous water supply. That being said, they had been there for a long time before we got there and I thought they were beautiful to look at and draw. I admire the way they slowly decay but always keep their looks.

We were going to Wellfleet every two or three years and I planned to continue this series for a long time, even if I might skip a year or two. 

Hurricane Bob took care of my plans. It made itís way through Wellfleet in August of 1991 and blew a lot of the derelicts into much smaller piles of wood.  We werenít there at the time but we rented a house years later that still had candles and matches in a drawer. There was a note that explained that the family that left them had been caught without candles and matches when the hurricane passed through and they were stuck for some days with no electricity. The note asked that the items be left so that some future renter could use them.

I have always enjoyed getting a glimpse into the craftsmanship that went into making these boats. Some of this can only be seen when they get opened up like this.

1977 Iím not sure whether I had started using a fine line rapidograph pen yet but I was certainly using a fairly large point. I eventually moved to thinner lines. There were so many derelict boats littering the shores that if we had been there all summer I might have drawn twenty or thirty of them.

1980 I remember being pleased that I hadnít put things in places where they hadnít been so you can tell itís the same boat.

1986 I was confused by the lack of windows but it turned out that the whole top part had been turned.

This postcard view of the Indian Harbor cottages, as it was called then, is from some time in the 60ís. The property hadnít been turned into condos yet. It was owned by one person. The derelicts are much less weathered than the first time I drew them.

Neil & Amy and Gerry & Amy in 1977

Amy & Tita Clinton, Wellfleet 1980

Amy & Adam 1986

1986, my mother came for a few days

Waiting for Nanaís plane from Boston in 1986. PBA airlines flew DC 3ís from Boston to Hyannis and Provincetown in the summer. In the winter they would fly in Florida. I took one on a flight back to work for a day and it was like being in a time machine.

We all went on the next flight. Amy sat in front and Gerry, Adam and I sat in back. Adam took a nap on Gerryís lap. These are all from 1986.

†Hereís Amy in 1977

Neil & Hazel, Amyís daughter, in the same place in 2007. Howís that for time passing in Wellfleet?

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This is the boat in these drawings. I got to it maybe 10 years after this photo.

All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell


Text Box: Email   neil@borrellcompany.com