So … I’m here … on the porch. At camp. Ahhhh. Breathing a huge sigh. It’s Monday morning. But I did this last night too with the Lighthusband. We sat out here and made friends with the mosquitos while we reconnected and shared the tribulations of our separation. Well, I had shared my tribulations moment by moment … now he needed to download.
Ahhh … how to describe this place. First of all, it’s been here for about a hundred years. Literally. The old part was built in 1890-ish. The “new” addition (which includes my bedroom) was built in 1914. We still call it the new addition. I have to tell you we are stiff-necked New Englanders. This camp (or cottage) came to our family through my maiden (though not virginal) aunt/cousin. She was my grandfather’s cousin. The only child of my grandfather’s father’s brother. We were her only family. So she left this place and her whole estate to my mother. If it had happened that my mother had pre-deceased her, it would have all gone to my brothers and I. Funny. Not to my father. He was not her blood. Her grandfather (my great, great grandfather) put all the newfangled indoor plumbing into the grand mansions in Newport, Rhode Island at the end of the 1800s. That’s the kind of stock I come from. Plumbers.
But … back to camp. These “cottages” were built back at the turn of the last century … when the Victorians held supreme. They were built by the rich men who ran New York City and who wanted a place for their wives and children to get away to when the heat, humidity and stench of summer became too much. So they built these getaway homes on Lake Champlain, Lake George, and in the Poconos. The families and serving staffs would come for the summer, the husbands for long weekends. You can tell that there were serving staff here, because the kitchen is on the back of the house away from the lake. There is a hole on the outside kitchen wall that used to lead to the “icebox”. My mother keeps threatening to change things up and move the kitchen into the downstairs bedroom (which is in the old part and used to be the livingroom and which faces the lake). I think this makes perfect sense and challenge her to do it. But she always chickens out at the last minute. Two years ago when we were here they had the roof replaced. This year the wrap around porch has been replaced, but the workers will not be here while we are … this is a welcome relief. The downstairs bathroom has also been replaced. We thought this would be wonderful, but it’s almost too clean and nice. We had gotten used to it being “campy.” I think we’ll get over it.
The place is full of antiques. But to me it’s just full of stuff that we use. My friend came here a couple of years ago and felt like she’d walked into a museum. She about fell over when I insisted that she actually use the stuff. But we do use it … all of it. We always have. So did Opie. That’s my aunt/cousin who we inherited it from. Aunt Opie. Her real name was Margaret …. but she would have knocked you over if you’d called her that. Everyone called her Opie … my brothers even went through their “Star Wars” period calling her OpieWan … they thought they were hilarious; she just indulged them.
So … I’ve discovered that a very happy circumstance has happened this year. All my favorite people are here at once. Shirley and Bob are next door to our left with their children (who are friends with my children). Georgia is here from San Francisco with her children down to our right. And across the street Carolyn is here. She has managed to keep their family camp in the family one more year. She is the only one left of her siblings who has any interest in keeping their camp. Her other brother who liked it died two years ago and their parents are now too infirm (because they are in their LATE 90s). I usually get to see all my friends, but usually one at a time … not all at the same time. And we are here for a short time this year, so I despaired of seeing any of them at all. Especially Carolyn.
So … that’s a little … or really, a lot about where we’re staying and where we stay every summer. Our children are growing up here (partially). I grew up here (partially). It’s part of my DNA now. I remember one summer I came here for a week when I was 15 and brought a friend to stay with Opie. We decided to make pudding one afternoon, so I asked her if she had any. “Yes.” says she. And she went to find the box. She pulled it out of the cupboard and my friend and I looked askance at each other because the box was at least 10 years older than we were!! The pudding didn’t work.
I’ll post some pictures later this week so you can see what the place looks like.