The next Chappaquiddick Community Center potluck this month is on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Appetizers start at 6 p.m. Dinner starts at 6:30. Please bring a dish to serve six.

Trustees superintendent Chris Kennedy is pleased to report that a snowy owl was seen on Norton Point and also that as of midday, Monday, Feb. 10, the beach route to and from Chappy via Norton Point is open. He cautions that you will definitely need to reduce your tire pressure to 15 PSI. The sand is quite soft and genuine four-wheel drive is advised. Vehicles with only all-wheel drive are discouraged. At high tide the wheel tracks will be flooded at the Wasque end. As usual, if you haven’t been on the beach for a while, it’s a good idea to make your first trip in the daylight so that you can see trouble ahead at a greater distance. By the time the printed Gazette hits the newsstands and your mailbox, the beach route could be closed again. Mother Nature might change her mind and put all of that sand somewhere else.

The ferry waiting shed on Chappy Point has been through many evolutions in its long life. When I was a youngster, it sat in the beach grass and rose hips about midway along the north side of the paved parking lot. It was identical to the ferry house on the Edgartown side minus the ell off the rear. More than twice the size it is now, it had a porch, a floor, three windows, a door that was always open, a pay phone and a continuous bench seat around the inside wall. It also had lots of interesting messages carved and inked on its walls, especially around the phone. There was a phone book on a chain in a heavy black plastic cover. But most of the important numbers, such as Foster Silva’s, were written on the wall next to the phone. The markets in Edgartown would deliver groceries to the shed. I remember sitting with one of my cousins paging through a New Yorker magazine that we borrowed from a delivery to look at the cartoons. The grocery boxes, along with food items, often contained magazines, newspapers, cartons of cigarettes and bottles of wine. It was a very different time. Once we were overcome by temptation and then wracked with guilt when we swiped a donut out of a pastry bag. I think of that every time that I buy a chocolate frosted donut.

There is a 1934 photo of a ferry house right at the foot of the Chappy Point pier. It was probably destroyed by the hurricane of 1938. It looks very different from the one that existed in 1960. There were several sheds on the point in the old days including a gas station. When the electric wires were buried a decade ago using horizontal directional drilling, two underground fuel tanks were discovered under the center of the paved parking area.

When the 1960s shed was moved adjacent to the ferry slip, it was sawed in half and the fourth side was left open to the weather. I assume that the reason for keeping only half was due to space limitations in that area.

Several winters back, the ramp had to be removed from the Chappy slip to give us access to replace the wooden bulkheads beneath. We were using the so-called extra slip to board passengers. Since we were also rebuilding the bulkheads next to the ferry shed, we moved it over to the head of the extra slip to get it out of the way. When the reconstruction work was completed, the shed went back to its prior location. The nails in the floor joists had rusted away from years of saltwater inundation and since the raised floor prevented wheelchair access to the shed, we removed it. Now the floor of the shed is at the level of the paved parking surface. The walls of the shed are raised above ground level to allow flood waters to flow through the building. When high winds and flooding tides are predicted, we tie the building down with cargo straps to keep it from being swept away. A big plus of the regular sea water rinsing is that it smells much sweeter in there now since the doves have been evicted from the collar ties.