When I was a kid, my family lived in various summer houses on Chappy.

We lived in the two-story house at the west of the Chappy Beach Club for many summers. It was affectionately, and appropriately, called West Wreck.

I’m not sure how the adults felt about the rustic lifestyle it required, but I am certain that my brothers, sisters and cousins loved it. The second-floor ceilings were the underside of the lightly asphalt-shingled roof. The collar ties presented an irresistible temptation for climbing. We spent lots of time on that roof. Especially when the parents were in town. Ham Kelley somehow knew when to come over from the beach club to yell at us to get down from there. Luckily, the main roof was gambrel, which kept us off of the highest parts of the structure.

The first-floor porch ran around three sides of the house. The frame of the house was very lightweight post and beam. The siding was vertical tongue and groove.

The whole building leaned away from whichever direction the last storm blew from. I don’t remember any diagonal bracing.

When it rained hard, the pounding on the roof was so loud that you had to shout to be heard and trickles of water ran down the inside of the storm-facing walls. The upside of all of that was that we kids couldn’t really do any damage to that house that was noticeable.

The foundation was two dozen wooden posts. There was head room of about four feet beneath most of the first floor. The old sand dunes were still there, protected from erosion by the wooden skirt that surrounded the whole thing. We spent a lot of time under there, building forts out of driftwood.

In a moment of misguided ingenuity, we drove nails up through the floor into the legs of several of the dining room chairs. It took quite a few tries, but it was well worth the effort to bear witness to the ensuing confusion.

When West Wreck was razed in the mid-60s, it took only three dump truck trips to get it all up to the Chappy dump.

There are still quite a few similarly rustic summer houses on Chappy. I figure that they are disappearing at the rate of about one per year. They are the essence of the island of Chappaquiddick that slows the hands of time. It’s a darn shame.