Margery’s View of Winter

 24 Congress Street

Our daughter’s house is sheltered by a tree

That’s old and crooked and a lot like me

It has seen many more productive days

Some think that it should go and yet it stays

To cast its present thin and scanty shade

Where once Victorian parents sat and children played

by Margery Wells Steer*

I used a picture of 24 Congress Street in an earlier blog post about the first snowfall of Cape May’s winter . Janice Stridick commented that her grandmother Margery Wells Steer wrote, The View in Winter in that house and that she wrote most of them after her ninetieth birthday.

Things like this intrigue me so I purchased a copy from Atlantic Books on the Mall in Cape May. I’m not a traditional poetry reader-whatever that means. Holding and reading a book written in the “house down the street” just feels different.  Buying a CD after a great performance by your favorite band creates a similar meaning.


I Googled Margery Wells Steer and developed an even deeper appreciation for her poems though this is not a review.

In her obituary Margery was described by granddaughter Janice, “She championed the cause of peace and international understanding by writing columns, actively supporting organizations such as People to People International and the Experiment in International Living, and by opening her home to many exchange students.”

Janice also tells me her grandmother belonged to the Woman’s Temperance movement. Hope she doesn’t mind me reading her over a pint!

Hidden vignettes like this are part of the fabric of Cape May’s history. Perhaps widely known by some, I enjoyed this tidbit of enlightenment.

*24 Congress Street from The View in Winter by Margery Wells Steer, published by Southbound Press and used with permission.


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  1. Ben Miller
    February 4, 2015 / 4:53 pm

    Beautiful poem and great column. That house is beautiful too, and filled with history. It was built in 1848 and is among the oldest on the island (fires of 1869 and 1878, then urban renewal and other demolitions).

  2. Tremor
    February 6, 2015 / 11:11 am

    BEAUTIFUL !!!! The irony of using a picture of that home and then finding out the history within it!!!! Things like this are fascinating to me as well…. Beautifully written …. I love to read your thoughts !!!!! Well done!!!!!

    • JohnCooke
      February 6, 2015 / 11:54 am

      Thanks Maureen it’s nice to know you enjoy it.