Our beloved town has a great deal of prize-winning, Guiness-Book-of-Records elements to it, but there’s a new possible demographic that makes us a contender for something truly special, something I’ve noticed on my daily rambles around town when my dog takes me for a serious drag, and I’m just going to put it out there and see what kind of feedback comes my way, so here goes . . .
I believe Oak Bluffs may possess, out of all the towns in America, the highest concentration of pink houses.
And I’m not even counting the partially pink cottages, such as the one belonging to my friend, Wendy Beach-Berry on Narragansett with a downstairs facade of pink clapboard rearing above an Argyll pattern of pink and green diamonds painted on the porch. Pink has made inroads everywhere, from the fantasias of pink cushions on collections of porch wicker, to jamborees of pink accents in the eaves, balconies, and bell towers of Queen Anne mansionettes.
But mere splashes of pink aside, I’m talking about the all-pink, top to bottom, east, west, north, and south p-i-n-k houses. I count at least 12 of them, half in the Camp Ground, half at large in town. So what does this mean? Here are a few aesthetic, sociological, and even Freudian guesses:
Human beings are never more conventional than when it comes to the painting of their houses, so for anyone in New England to step outside the gray shingle box, they’re exhibiting a flair and a reckless joie de vivre that can scarcely be believed. Pink has been, up until now, a little girl’s color, and most of us, past the age of six, have been savaged for wearing pink, choosing pink or even thinking pink. But here’s the catch: pink is the most gorgeous of colors! We know this in our (bright pink) hearts and yet, all our lives, to preserve a sense of taste and decorum, we’ve had to forego it.
No longer. Some courageous, fun-loving, pleasure-seeking homeowners in Oak Bluffs have been painting their houses pink, and all of a sudden we’re free to express our inner pinkness.
Not surprisingly, feng shui experts classify pink as the color of love: it’s one of the colors of fire energy, but a soothing, gentle delicate branch of it. Too much pink, say the feng shui-ists, can yield a floating effect, causing inhabitants to live in an illusory world, but since the real world isn’t working out so well, perhaps illusory has its benefits.
In a wickedly luscious book called The Color Scheme Bible, the authors present pink as anything but a cotton candy girly-girl color. Instead, they pair it with lemon yellow, chocolate fondant, powdery lavender, and blue hyacinth. But still, glamorous as those combinations tend to be, our pink cottages scream out “Pink! Pink! And more pink!” with bubble gum pinks braided with hot pinks with streaks of magentas, rose pinks, shell pinks and orchid pinks.
It’s a brave new pink world and we seem to live in the capital of it.
Last week the Oak Bluffs fourth grade class met at Linda Jean’s for omelets and chocolate chip pancakes, then visited the studio of artist William Blakesley in the Camp Ground. Mr. Blakesley’s wife, Liz Cornell, then walked the kids through the drizzling rain for a tour of the museum and a jaunt to the late Shel Silverstein’s cottage.
Don’t forget, next Thursday, June 12 at 6 p.m. at the Oak Bluffs Library, there’ll be a presentation about the Barrier Reef of Belize, hosted by Michael Wooley.