Nantucket Portraits

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Caren Oberg Gomes

Rob Smith

What brought you to Nantucket?

"I came to visit in 1986, because my brother had come down, and my dad and I came down on Columbus Day Weekend.  We stayed at this old broken down house on Washington Street and I fell in love. So I knew the day after I graduated high school, I was like "Mom, Dad, just drop me off at the ferry", and I came over. I came over with $100, and a little backpack, and a bike, and I lived at Florence Frazier's house on Westchester Street. I had a job at the Sweet Shoppe, but once that ended I rode my bike out to the airport gas station, which had just been built, and I got a job pumping gas. Only girls pumped gas back then, which was very strange. But the owners were very kind to me. I worked there for a long time, and I met lots of nice people there. Back then, I could ride my bike in the mornings down the middle of Old South Road. I would just see if I could stay in between the two middle lines, and not a car would go past. Naushop wasn't there yet, it was just trees and the smell of honeysuckle, and roses... it was amazing."

What's your big focus in life right now?

"My number one focus is my family, and raising my children wholly, and maintaining our home. But as far as making money, gardening is my career. I also teach preschool on and off at Exploration Station two days a week. But with regards to gardening, I have five clients, and they're amazing people. I started out with fifteen, and when I had one child I weeded that number down to ten, and then I had another child so now it's five. My clients are people who are kind, and loving, and giving, and we have a friendship. I'll do anything for them and they'll do anything for me. We're just buddies. I can sustain myself with that, it's such a delight. And when I go to work, it's meditation and mindfulness, it's not work. Work is a gift. It isn't a chore."

What inspires you?

"Nature inspires me, and simplicity. I couldn't really work for a big company, using chemicals and stuff like that. I need to do something that helps the Earth in every aspect. I struggled for a long time after college, asking myself "What am I gonna do that's not gonna harm the Earth?" Making it more beautiful is what I found. That's what inspires me, is making the world a prettier place, a nicer place, a healthier place."

What advice would you give to anyone who might be reading this?

"Gratitude. Just be grateful for everything. Be grateful that we can wash the dishes and that we have water and soap, or that you have a roof over your head, or that you have a good friend. The more gratitude you have, then the more your dreams start arriving."

Anything else you'd like to add?

"Here's one of my favorite quotes. "My wish is simple. I wish each person warmth, safety, food and love." -Anonymous"

Subject: Caren Oberg Gomes
Location: Folger Ave
Date: December 19th, 2015

Humans of Nantucket, modeled after the famous Humans of New York, intends to portray various members of the island community who share with us their lives, dreams and hopes.

Robert Smith is a local landscape and portrait photographer. He will soon begin building a website to feature his work, and will also shortly provide links to his Flickr and Instagram accounts. He can be reached at 508-221-6926