Memories of Casmars Pond and Jenkins Boatyard
from Peter Eakin van der Kieft
I’m not a “Rowayton kid of the past” however my fondest family memories as a kid growing up in Darien were of my uncle Boyce. To this day I’ve never forgotten his subtle influence on me. My greatest joys in visiting Rowayton were spending time w/Boyce’s mother, Mary Adams Eakin, and Uncle Boyce in his boat house.
The walk down the wooded path to his abode overlooking Five Mile was a magical venture back to nature, away from the social air of Darien. Everything he showed me was a step backwards in time, yet, a sensible alternative. The rain barrels along side the boat house, the canoe for exploring the river, the many books stacked in the boat house, perhaps kerosense lamps as I try and recollect. His simplicity in life may well have been from financial inadequacies , however to me, as a youngster it was an alternative life style I welcomed.
I was aware of Boyce’s writing skills and seemed to remember he received recognition for one of Americas up and coming authors by virtue of a short story he wrote. Once in a while I’d see Boyce out of context as a substitute teacher at Darien High School. Not knowing of Boyce’s time in New Mexico, until a number of years ago, I find it ironic that I too spent time in the “Land of Enchantment”.
I think Stella was formerly a Genz and the boat house that she and Boyce lived in was part of the Genz property. As I recall Stella worked at the Rowayton Library. Every year while visiting family in Darien I still visit my parents and Stella’s grave sites at Spring Grove in Darien. The ultimate compliment to a family member, in my mind, is to pass on a family inheritance. The inheritance may be in name only buts it conveys a wealth of fond memories for me. And that’s why my wife Marcy and I have named our so Christopher Boyce van der Kieft.
What a pleasant surprise to read of your fathers friendship with Uncle Boyce. Me thinks not too, that Boyce was not a failure. Lastly, the photos of Five Mile River remind me of my days as a apprentice at Jenkins Boatyard. Sadly I drive thru Rowayton looking for signs of the past, they’re few and far between, as is Darien, and will eventually be so in my hometown of Rockport, Maine.