In my summerlong quest to learn more about what will be our newest Mass Audubon sanctuary, I spent yet another day in the Attleboro area. But this time, I had a secret weapon.
Larry grew up next door to the property. He and I walked the trails to find the old foundations, the old well, the pond, and more. We made our way through the brush, across the fields, past the trash that has been dumped for years. We fought the bugs, got bit by a few, but killed many more. And we jogged his memory, as he had not seen many of these places for many, many years.
But he had something else he thought I should see. The site we've taken on has a bizarre, meandering history, from farmland to sanitarium to seminary to shrine to sanctuary. At one point a young doctor named James M. Solomon built a huge sanitarium on this land, hoping to find cures for cancer, among other maladies. He was not the first James, nor the first doctor in fhis family.
Those mantles belonged - as far as I know - to at least one ancestor of his. James M. lived through the beginning of the twentieth century, but another James died much earlier. Down Solomon Street there's a historic marker that is all that can be seen of an ancient family burial ground, that of James M. Solomon's ancestors. We pushed our way through some bamboo to find it. It's the kind of place that the world has forgotten, as generations have passed.
Perhaps this is not the end of this story for me.
Time: 182 minutes.
New species: None.
Stranger hellos: 1 (502).
What else is going on: Red Cross CPR class in Quincy at night; nonprofit work; magazine work.