Ever heard the Patti Page hit, “Old Cape Cod?” “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, church bells ringing on a Sunday morn, you sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod..” First penned as a poem by a Boston housewife on a Cape Cod beach during her summer vacation, it soon became part of Patti Page’s famous song. Not long after in 1962, Ted Williams, the famous Red Sox player, was the guest of honor at our 250th anniversary, throwing out the first pitch at Chatham’s 4th of July baseball league game.
It doesn’t get much better than what we have to offer in Chatham. Family BBQs, friends visiting to make memories for life, digging clams, winter sunsets at the town landings, boating, fishing, or just walking the beach in the morning with coffee collecting shells. I know the feeling exactly.
"When I cross the Bridges at the Cape Cod Canal and feel my blood pressure drop, I take a big deep breath of salt air and say…yes I have arrived!"
Life is good, Cape Cod is a world unto itself…and YES, that is good!
As a Chatham native and 12th- generation direct descendent from 1600’s Nickerson founder of Chatham, this song is in my bones and salt water runs in my blood. I grew up in North Chatham running through the fields and salt marshes, swimming, fishing and sailing around Chatham harbor and Pleasant Bay. When I hear Patti Page’s ‘Old Cape Cod,’ I think of my “great-grand-grammas” stories of sailing with her father, Captain Taylor on his China Clipper in the 1800’s. Grampa Edwards digging in his specially-deeded quahog bed or riding his bike to Boston on dirt roads. Gramma and Grampa Nick running the old Harbor Inn, a summer hotel with timeless family recipes being served in the dining room, probably by me or one of my cousins. My Dad played saxophone in the Chatham Bank for 60 years. Chatham is “(Norman) Rockwellian” to it’s core.
As for my 12th-generation family history, I am the building chairperson for our Nickerson Family genealogical Society building. We have a nonprofit Nickerson Family Association, with reunions every year where they come from all over the country. Our library of genealogical records was in a private home of an elderly member and we had to find a permanent building to house it all. So as a realtor, I did a search and back in the early 1990's we bought a piece of land in Chatham Port, near the original cabin of William and Anne Nickerson. We built a house which is now a working library and another antique home houses the working museum and garden, both on this property. We have recently been part of an archeological dig that has gleamed clay pipes and blacksmith artifacts and Indian pieces, so we realize we are now actually housed on the original land of the founder. Quite amazing! It is very exciting. They were the progenitors of over 50,000 Nickersons now because they had 10 children that lived, 8 of them boys.