Ways of Life

Ways of Life airs every second Monday at 8:40am and 5:45pm.

Our series Ways of Life is a collection of stories about people who live down the street... our neighbors:  Fishermen, scientists, craftspeople, recovering addicts, surgeons, dog rescuers, motorcycle gang members, nursing home residents, musicians, the homeless, kid athletes, social activists, and all the others who share this place.

Each portrait becomes part of the surprising, interwoven tapestry of our lives together here on the Cape, Coast and Islands. 

Ways of Life is edited by Jay Allison and produced by our production partners at Atlantic Public Media 

Ways of Life is made possible by The Circle of Ten, ten local businesses and organizations committed to local programming on WCAI.

Hayley Fager

Mike Martin has been playing flute on Surf Drive beach for years. He's become a fixture for visitors and regulars, probably because he's usually surrounded by ducks. Mike has gotten to know the birds pretty well over time. But his favorite fans still haven't learned how to clap. 

Photos by Sam Kimball. September 2017.

In a smokey shop in Barnstable, Norah Bourbon is doing her best to hold on to the ancient craft of blacksmithing in its simplest form, with hammer, anvil, and a coal-fired furnace. Learning the craft directly with master blacksmiths, she aims to carry on the art for new generations on the Cape who might want to take up hammer.

A Vietnam Vet Finds Solace in Baseball

Sep 10, 2018
Photo by Otis Gray

Keven Joyce wears his Vietnam medals in the form of stickers on the bottom of his umpire’s mask. He’s proud of his time in the marine corp, but those stickers are among the only indicators that he served at all. That’s because he was in the Battle of Hue  50 years ago in 1968, and he’d rather not remember it. It was an infamously bloody battle that lasted 26 days and took the lives of over 200 marines. While other veterans find solace in reminiscing and reuniting, Keven has his own way of dealing with memories he has no choice but to carry.

Joe Navas/Organic Photography

Tianna Esperanza has struggled to find her place in the world. As a biracial young woman, she’s mostly had to find that place on her own. Now she wants  to share what she’s learned -- and she’s using her music to do it.

Courtesy of Lydia Hicks

Artist Lydia Hicks has always loved to swim. But when she was growing up, she was told that black people like herself can’t float because they have denser bones. She knew that wasn’t true. 

Don't Throw Away Those Roller Skates

Jul 23, 2018
Photo by Robin Miniter


When was the last time you laced up a pair of quad skates? You better hurry: roller rinks across America are closing. The rink in Taunton was almost one of them. But there’s good news: life-long skating fanatic Forrest Welling came along to save it. That was three years ago. Since taking the place over he’s been determined to keep the doors open, and to keep skating. 

Photo by Jessica Yung 2018

It’s been 44 years since Shop Therapy opened its doors in Provincetown. It sells everything from drug paraphernalia to incense and MAKE LOVE NOT WAR t-shirts. But the store isn’t just any novelty head shop; it’s more like a portrait of founder Ronny Hazel’s life. 

Facing Down The Black Hole - When You Stop Hiding

Jun 25, 2018
Courtesy of Ralph Reese

Ralph Reese had a hardscrabble life in New York City before he met the legendary comic book artist Wally Wood. When they met, he was just a teenager. But after Wally took him under his wing, Ralph learned to ink, draw and color comics, setting him on the path for a career of his own. But even in his heyday, he felt a sense of dread gnawing at his gut. It was only in his 60’s, once he retired to South Dennis, Massachusetts that Ralph had the courage to face his past.

Photo by Bayla Metzger

Plenty of dogs are taught to do tricks, yet they still bark and bite. Dog trainer Melissa Berryman says that’s our fault. So, she doesn’t train dogs; she trains people. Her philosophy includes – among other things – teaching clients to speak “dog language,” a mix of high- and low-pitch tones. Melissa admits that training with her isn’t for everyone. Her clients have to work through their own issues in order to be effective leaders for their pets.


John Ohman of Dennis has been running Liam’s Clam Shack at Nauset Beach for the last 28 years. Since taking over operations in 1989 and naming the restaurant for his first son, John has been a fixture at Nauset Beach for locals and tourists alike. Liam’s is most famous for its onion rings, which have received a national reputation with rave reviews from both East and West Coasts. But this summer, visitors to Nauset will find that things have changed. 

Photo by Scott Christy

In Falmouth, architect Charles Orr has been patiently working with bonsai for over two decades. Right now he has over thirty active pieces, many of them growing in a workshop he’s built specifically for the trees. While Charles designs houses professionally as an architect, working with the trees has changed the way he looks at design today.

Age Is Just a Musical Number

Apr 16, 2018
Photo by Nicole Gowan

Beachside condos and bingo games may be how some people handle old age, but not Naomi Turner and Wilderness Sarchild. A dancer and a poet, they used their combined experiences to create “Wrinkles: The Musical, a celebration of women and aging.

photo by Hayley Fager

Artist Jeff Smith set out to build the smallest house in the world. No one else had done it, so why shouldn't he? He doesn't live in the home. It functions more as a performance art piece. And because it's bright green, he gets a lot of questions when he parks it in public places. It's also for rent...but it's complicated.

Photo by Alvin Melathe

Quirky local history. A chance to encounter the paranormal. Ghost tours are a staple of tourism all over the country...and Cape Cod is no exception. Since 2005, Derek Bartlett has led multiple ghost tours every week in Barnstable. Is there anything to be scared about?

Powassan: How One Tick Can Change Everything

Mar 5, 2018
Photo by Aviva DeKornfeld.

There are a few guarantees in life—death, taxes, and on Cape Cod, ticks. 2017 was the highest record ever for ticks on the Cape and with that increase have come new diseases, including one called Powassan.