Cast of Characters:
Standish Moss Hartfield "Stan" or "Moss"
Caterina Fiorenzi "Cat"
Samuel Edwards Hartfield "Sam" - older brother to Stan
Albert Leverett Hartfield - "Stan's father"
Mary Hartfield - "Stan's mother"
June Hartfield - "Sam's wife"
Peggy's Cove is not a name or a place that many people would recognize unless they had been there or had a very good memory for trivia. It is a tiny community on the southern coast of Nova Scotia, and not known for any particular reason other than the picturesque nature of the area.
Nonetheless Sam Hartfield stood on the rocks overlooking the water, looking out across the blue-gray expanse. It had been five years and another lifetime since he had last been here. Many things in our lives can change us - sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Events that we cannot control change our lives and the lives of others. Such was the case with Sam, who last had stood on this shore what now seemed to him so long ago. This is a story about what Peggy's Cove meant to him, and it is the story of two loves lost in a most tragic way.
Standish Moss Hartfield was a handsome six-footer with a trim build, sandy hair, and piercing blue eyes. He was born in Boston to a family that had been in the area for almost two centuries and was quite well off, financially. He had an excellent education, graduating with a BA and then an MBA from Harvard.
His older brother Sam (Samuel Edwards Hartfield) was a brilliant engineer who graduated from MIT and was in the process of forming his own company making specialized integrated circuits, located outside Boston. Stan looked up to Sam, and they were quite close.
Stan wanted to get into banking. New York was where there were many major banks, and he had interviewed with several of them while still at Business School. Although he would miss Sam, he moved to Manhattan shortly after receiving his MBA, accepting an offer from Manufacturers Hanover bank in their international department. He had attracted the attentions of many beautiful women from the beginning of his freshman year, and had many relationships, although nothing that lasted. He was always receptive to opportunities where he could meet new women, and didn't often go home alone from the parties to which he found himself frequently invited in the city.
Unlike Stan, Caterina Fiorenzi was a country girl and only child from upstate New York. She developed an early interest in art, and by high school, was becoming quite talented with her drawings and paintings. Her family, while not poor, had to scrimp and work hard to make it possible for her, even with several scholarships, to attend the State University of New York at Oswego, which had an excellent Fine Arts program. She did well enough there that she was asked to transfer to Purchase College in Westchester County (also part of SUNY) with a full scholarship for her last two years. There was a much stronger arts program there, and the easy access to the treasures of the nearby New York City museums was an inspiration and source of great joy to her. She received a BFA with high honors in 1993, although this was overshadowed by the death of both her parents in an automobile crash on the New York Thruway the previous summer, leaving her with no living relatives. She and a couple of female classmates decided to try to make it in the big city, and moved into a cramped apartment in Manhattan. A good looking dark-haired girl, 5' 8", with a nice build, she had had a few affairs by the time she graduated, but nothing that lasted more than a few weeks.
They were lucky. Her roommates both found jobs with advertising agencies, and Caterina, deciding that she wanted to pursue a career as a serious artist, but still needing employment to pay her share of the rent, opted for freelance work. She was able to establish business relationships with the agency where one of her roommates was working, and also, the next year, with a couple of emerging World Wide Web design firms who didn't have graphic artists on their own staff.
While they weren't actively into the party scene, they did enjoy a few informal gatherings, usually with other classmates and their friends, or co-workers.
They were generally easygoing affairs, usually with nothing besides wine to drink, often with a veggie plate with a nice dip or cheese and crackers.
Caterina, who had started to call herself æCat', met a few young guys and even went out with one of them a few times and had a brief relationship, but he stopped calling her and she didn't really care a lot.
One cold evening in late January of 1994, she was at another party. Across the room, she saw a tall good-looking guy with sandy hair and intense blue eyes. He caught her eye, and she smiled, She felt more of an attraction to him than she had to any man in several years. Soon he was making his way across the room.
"Hi - I'm Stan Hartfield" he said.
She replied "I'm Caterina Fiorenzi, but please call me Cat".
They briefly told each other a little bit about themselves before Stan suggested that they leave the party and grab a bite to eat at a nice Indian restaurant he knew. She quickly agreed; they got their coats, and made their farewells to the hosts. Stan hailed a taxi when they got out to the street, and they took a short ride to the restaurant. When they got there, they were pleased with the delicious fragrant aromas of the Indian cuisine, and also that there was only a short wait for a table. Cat told Stan that she had only had Indian food a few times in her life, and that it probably wasn't a good example of the cuisine; she asked him to order for both of them.
Over a delicious dinner, they talked more about themselves - their childhood dreams, their college experiences, and their jobs and career aspirations.
Neither of them were skiers, but they both liked the outdoors and hiking. By the end of dinner, as they lingered over their tea, they both knew that they wanted to see more of each other, and Stan wisely didn't immediately suggest that they go to his apartment. They exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, and then, when they stepped out onto the street, Stan started looking for a taxi. Not seeing one for a moment, he gently put an arm around Cat, and looking into her warm brown eyes, gave her a gentle kiss which went right to her core. She kissed him back with enthusiasm that surprised her, and put her arms around him for a quick hug.
The moment was broken when a taxi careened around the corner and stopped almost in front of them to discharge a passenger. Stan quickly hailed it and Cat gave the driver her address, knowing that Stan would want to see her home and then go on to his place from there. As they rode through the cold streets, they sat close to each other. All too soon, they got to Cat's apartment building. They quickly kissed again, and she jumped out of the cab and raced for the door to get in out of the cold.
"My God", she said to herself - "I've never had a man make me feel like that!
I think I'll perish if he doesn't call me soon".
Unknown to her, Stan was having very similar thoughts. He'd never met a woman who affected him as strongly as Cat had in just a few hours. He was definitely going to call her soon, and let the relationship develop at her pace; the last thing he wanted to do was to move too quickly and drive her off.
Cat woke up Saturday morning, warm and cozy in Stan's bed. For the past two months, she had been spending almost every weekend in his apartment. Their lovemaking last night had been more than usually tender and satisfying, and remembering it, she smiled and moved closer to him. He stirred and mumbled something incomprehensible - he rarely woke up without a lot of difficulty - and was about to go back to sleep when Cat snuggled up closer and caressed his face. He responded, moving closer to her, and snuggling, their bodies face to face, their arms gently holding each other. "Mmmmm," Cat murmured, almost purring. With a growl, Stan flipped her onto her back, and started caressing her body, starting at the neck, working down to her luscious breasts, and soon moving down to her bellybutton and the magic spot between her legs. Her hands were every bit as busy, working their way around his neck, his shoulders and back, across his chest, and eventually gently touching his enlarged organ.
"Now" she exclaimed - "Now!" Stan didn't need any more encouragement, and they were soon joined for a repeat of the previous night's tender activities.
Half an hour later, they woke up again, still in a close embrace. Stan said "Good morning, lover; are you up for a walk on the beach today?" Cat, still reveling in the sensations of their closeness, just responded lazily "Mmmm - sounds good. Where did you have in mind?"
Stan replied "How about a quick ride down the New Jersey coast? The beaches will still be deserted at this time of year, but it's not supposed to be too cold today, and it should be nice. Also, I know a great seafood place where we can get a wonderful dinner." Stan answered, as he started disentangling himself with an eye to starting a pot of coffee.
After a shower together (which almost ended up with them back in bed) and then breakfast, they bundled up in warm clothes and comfortable shoes. Taking the elevator down to the garage, they loaded themselves into Stan's car, and, after a stop at the neighborhood deli for some sandwiches, were soon heading to New Jersey and the Garden State Parkway southbound. They rode along for more than an hour, enjoying each other's company and what had turned out to be a beautiful early spring day. After feeding numerous tollgates, they took an exit and headed for the shore near Surf City. Except for the gulls and a few treasure hunters, the beach was deserted. They parked and just sat for a few minutes, taking in the wonder of the sea and the sunshine.
"I bet this is wall to wall people in summer" Cat observed.
Stan replied "I'm sure it is, which is why I like it now but stay away from here in season!"
"Let's walk" Cat suggested, and soon they were on the beach. The tide was almost out, and there were only small waves gently breaking on the sand.
Holding hands, they walked for what seemed like hours.
Eventually, they realized that they were getting quite hungry. They made their way back to the car, got in, and Stan headed further south, finding a state park where there were some comfortable picnic areas overlooking the ocean.
They parked at one of these and took their lunches; they enjoyed the food, the sun, the ocean air, and each other's company.
Later that afternoon, when they were again walking down the beach, they realized that they really liked the outdoors. They agreed that when it got warmer in another few weeks, they would head to some of the state parks and hiking trails in the Hudson Valley, north of the city. Stan asked Cat if she had ever been to the Boston area and, on learning that she had not, told her that some weekend soon they should go to Boston and visit with his parents and his brother Sam. Cat was looking forward to this - Stan had talked a lot about Sam, and she was eager to meet him, although she was a bit nervous at the prospect of meeting his parents.
As the sun started to set, the air began to cool off, and Cat was holding close to Stan to keep warm. He said "Let's head for the Old Crab Shack for that seafood dinner, and then we can get back to the city before the middle of the night."
The dinner was all that Stan had billed it to be, and Cat was stuffed by the time that dessert was offered. After a cup of coffee, Stan paid the check, and they headed back to the city, Stan's apartment, and bed.
As they had gotten to know each other better over the past months, they both realized that they were deeply in love and very closely tuned to the thoughts, feelings, and needs of the other. Cat had started to call him 'Moss' and he found that he liked her having a special name for him. They had done a lot together over the summer, including a visit with his family in Boston in June. They had a warm welcome for Cat, and she soon lost her initial apprehension. She particularly enjoyed getting to know Stan's brother Sam, and could see how he had been a mentor to Stan.
Later that summer, they also did a lot of rambling in the Hudson Valley, Bear Mountain Park, and the Catskills west of Kingston during the summer. They found that a weekend escape to a small country inn or bed and breakfast was usually a delight, although they had found a few places where they would never return. For a change, and as a callback when the weather wasn't good, Cat introduced him to the many art museums in the city, and he began to share her love of art. Moss, on the other hand, introduced Cat to the jazz scene, taking her to concerts and clubs and infecting her with his enthusiasm for the music.
His job in the international department of the bank was starting to require him to travel, most often to Germany or Switzerland. Fortunately for them, he was usually able to be back for their weekends.
Stan's family had invited them for Thanksgiving, and Moss and Cat were able to leave the city on Tuesday, having both been working long hours the week before and earning some extra time off. They arrived in Boston in the late afternoon, and were warmly welcomed by the senior Standishes - Albert and Mary.
"Cat - so good to see you again. Standish - you are both looking well. From what you tell us, you have been doing a lot of walking in the mountains this summer" exclaimed Mary.
Stan said "Yes, that's right, but now between work and the deteriorating weather, that's over for a while - Cat has introduced me to the many art museums in the city. I hope that Sam and his wife will be with us tonight."
"Yes, Sam and June will be here in time for dinner" Albert said, adding that Sam had been quite busy at work - something quite technical about a new product his company was about to take to market. He then told them that they had a few minutes to settle into their room and freshen up after the day on the road.
Dinner was relaxed and comfortable, and Cat really felt that she was really becoming accepted by this family. As things worked out, Stan, Cat, Sam and June found themselves together after dinner while Stan's parents were cleaning up the table. Sam took the bull by the horns and said "You two are really serious, aren't you?"
Stan and Cat both replied "Oh, yes!"
Sam asked, "Do you have any permanent plans yet?"
Cat jumped in and said "It's just so wonderful the way it is for us; I really love Moss, and I'm not like many young women - only thinking of marriage! I have my career as an artist, and Stan's first love is the bank."
Sam asked Stan "Is this how you see it?"
Stan answered "I guess - I know how much I love Cat, but I'm not sure I'm ready for anything more than what we have."
Sam shrugged his shoulders, and said "OK; well - I wish you the best. You are both very dear to me now. Please know that I am here for you and care about both of you, individually and collectively."
Cat said "Thanks, Sam - that means a lot to us." Just then the discussion was interrupted when Stan's parents returned to the room.
Late August 1996
Cat's phone rang very early one morning. She woke up and answered it, hoping it was Moss - he had been in Germany for more than two weeks now. "Good morning darling" he said. "Good news - I'm flying home this afternoon - we're all done here. What's more, I'm going to take some of the vacation time I've built up. Let's plan a leisurely trip up the coast when I get back."
Cat replied "Oh Moss, that's wonderful! It's a good time for me, work is slow right now and I can get away for several weeks. I've missed you so much!
What's your flight number? I'll be waiting at JFK for your arrival."
They talked a little longer before Moss said "I have to go now, and my counterpart in the German bank wants to see me for a few minutes before I go.
Love you, darling Cat. I've missed you too."
This was the longest that they had been apart from each other, although Moss had been away several times for a full week. Cat's work was going well; she had been getting steady jobs from several agencies, and a few web site jobs. In addition, she was developing her style as an artist, and had started to think about showing some of her works at a gallery.
Cat was waiting at the international terminal when Moss came through the door after passing through immigration and customs. They rushed into each other's arms, and embraced for a long time. Without letting go of Cat, Moss picked up his bag with one hand and they made their way to the taxi stand. Soon they were on their way back to his apartment for a tender reunion, and it was several hours before they fell asleep.
Right after Labor Day, they packed their bags into Moss's car and drove to Boston, where they stayed the night with his parents. In the morning, they drove north, leaving the interstate at Portland, stopping to shop at LL Bean, and then drove leisurely along the Maine coast. They stayed at a small inn along the way, walked along the rocky shore and feasted on lobster. They spent a couple of nights in Bar Harbor, enjoying the Acadia National Park one day.
Very early the next morning, they drove a short distance to the ferry terminal and took the MV Bluenose to Yarmouth, at the western end of the Nova Scotia coast. The weather was sunny but windy, and the waves made the voyage mildly unpleasant. Fortunately neither of them got seasick. They were happy when they eventually reached Yarmouth late in the afternoon, and drove just a few miles along the coast until they found a comfortable inn.