|Birth: ||Jun. 16, 1892|
|Death: ||Jan. 9, 1990|
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace."
Bible verse that Helen Paine Robbins Drake recited to her niece, Janet Lee Haeger, whenever they would be apart for awhile.
The daughter of Joseph K. Robbins and Helen C. Paine Robbins. The grand daughter of Captain Nathaniel Robbins and his wife Hulda A. Kelley Robbins. In 1930 she married Asahel Drake, who was a cousin of an acquaintance. Helen inherited the three-quarter Cape House built by her grandfather Nathaniel. Captain Nathaniel Robbins was a packet owner who went to sea when he was 17 years of age. He was a descendant of Pilgrims who sailed to this country on the famous "Mayflower." In an article for the "Cape Codder" dated Friday, February 8, 1980, Helen Paine Robbins Drake statd:"In all my long life, I never thought to ask my father where the packet went...my town has always been very dear to me and my father, I think, was as concerened with the welfare of the town as with his own." In the interesting article entitled "Harwich's 'Drake-The-Dragon' she described some of the history and buildings of Harwich: "Down Sisson Road, about where the highway garage now stands was the alms house.When you could no longer support yourself you were sent there, to the poorhouse and the town would take care of you. I remember father Robbins telling the story of a poor old soul there who was mortally afraid of tempests. Well, there came a tempest and he was told to go down into the cellar and sit on a bucket Lightning struck the alms house, went in his room, then went down the cellar and knocked the bucket out from under him. It really went looking for him. That was a true story.Mrs. Drake also recalls that when her father Joseph Robbins (see memorial)was a selectman she spent time with him at the office. At noon, the selectman and little Helen would go to the poorhouse for dinner. She also remembers some of the town's more well-known characters: the "Peter's brothers", the "Snake Boys" and "Scaldheaded Calvin." She said "Scaldheaded Calvin was the Telly Savalas of his day. On his head he wore a kerchief with the four corners tied in a knot. My father told me about the time they told him to cut a limb off a tree. He climbed up the tree, sat on a limb and cut it off. One of the "Snake boys had two sets of teeth, she said, and had been in a sideshow. 'They couldn't talk right. They were harmless but revolting to look at. Those characters have passed from this earth and their like is not seen now...When I first went off to school, I got the feeling that people thought all of us on Cape Cod were like that. They looked at me as though I'd crawled out of the woodwork... My mother (Helen Paine) died when I was 17 days old. An aunt of mine was to take me to live with her but my father said 'no' to that. He got a housekeeper and I stayed right there." Describing her husband Asahel Drake (see memorial) she stated: "He was good looking and was as good as he looked." After their wedding, "the Drakes went to live in Sharon, then Canton." Helen was a school teacher. "When they moved back to Harwich in the mid 1940s she was asked to take over an elementary school class.. I loved teaching. I never wanted to do anything else, and I would do it again if I could. Some of those experiences are the things you treasure, especially when you come toward the end of your life. You have no future, really, so you look back. It's only natural... If a good fairy came and granted me one wish I would wish that I might know what happened to all my pupils, what became of them. I used to look at them on the last morning of the year and wonder what I had done or what I should have done." As to the name "Drake-The-Dragon" she discovered years later that that was a nickname that some of her students had called her."Gregory Winston said he was scared to death of me the way I stood there in the hall, so straight, with my hands behind me. I never had him in class either...My views are obsolete now. I believe, first and foremost,that children do just about what you expect of them. If you expect them to be ladies and gentlemen, they are. If you expect certain things of them, and they know it, they rise to the occasion."
Helen Robbins Drake took playwright Anne Nichols (author of "Abie's Irish Rose") into her home with open arms whenever Anne needed a secluded retreat to begin writing her autobiography "Such is Fame" (this autobiography was never completed). Anne was treated like family by Helen and the rest of her relatives including Adelaide Matthews (another great playwright and friend of Anne). Anne was blessed to know Helen Robbins Drake through her friend ship with Adelaide. Anne was also fortunate to live in the wonderful and historic Captain Nathaniel Robbins House. It was there that Helen's young niece, Janet Lee Haeger, got to know my relative Anne Nichols. Janet, like her aunt, has welcomed me into her heart and has shared the many wonderful stories of Helen, Anne and Adelaide. I want to thank Janet, Helen and Adelaide for all of their kindness and generosity towards Anne. Helen Robbins Drake,if a "dragon" is the kindest, most affectionate and unselfish "dragon" that I have come to know through the eyes of my forever friend, Janet Lee Haeger. May thanks to Janet Lee Haeger and to "The Cape Codder" and article by Marcia J. Monbleau dated Friday, February 8. 1980.
Asahel E Drake (1895 - 1976)
Island Pond Cemetery
Maintained by: Wiregrasswalker
Originally Created by: ditdit
Record added: Mar 14, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 34792633