The white saltbox house was a half mile from the beach and an hour and a half train ride to the city. Each window had fully functioning black shutters that were put to good use over the years. In the summer seagulls flocked the lawn and in the winter snow blew across the brown yard. Trees lined the yard and ivy climbed the outside wall on the east side.
Each upstairs room had a balcony on which the Stardusts spent many hours. They spent days watching the ebb and flow of the tide. On clear days they could see Long Island. Jack often took summertime naps on the porch; the waves lulled him to sleep. The family could see when a storm was approaching because the waves would crash over the sea wall.
There were a few hurricane and blizzard seasons when the front yard became a ghetto of sand bags to prevent flooding and they had to, as Evie said, “batten down the hatches.”
“Hatches battened!” Kat would yell when the shutters of her upstairs bedroom were closed, “I can smell the rain coming, Mom!”
“Well come downstairs and batten these hatches!” Evie would yell to Kat. If the windows were open the neighbors would hear the family banter.