So my Mom’s house in NY is in the sticks. For a really long time the house was at the end of a dirt road. It was a summer house when I was a kid, boarded up all winter. It had no heat and no insulation. We would come out to the house (go to the country) as soon as we got out of school in June. We would open up the house, cut the lawn, put in the screens, clean up and put out the lawn furniture. Then we would hang out on the beach for the entire rest of our time there (usually a week). The house sits a short distance from the beach (Gardiner’s Bay) and there is a fair expanse of lawn before you reach the path to get down there. The beach is nothing like Hawaii. It is full of rocks, shells, crab carcasses, beach glass, bones, pottery, almost anything you can think of can be found on the beach. It is an explorer’s paradise. Large boulders separate “our” beach from the neighbors on one side. We used to climb all over them when we were young. They were our houses and boats. My Great Grandmother warned my mom not to let us play on them because she said there were rats in them. We never saw any and my Mom never really tried to keep us off.
The house itself is really small, two bedrooms and one bath. Before my Mom had the house winterized, the second bedroom (my great grandfather’s room), had no ceiling. It also had a giant set of bunkbeds. Huge and wooden and perhaps built into the room. If you were lucky enough to get to sleep on the top bunk, you could peek over the top of the wall and spy on the grown ups and their grown up conversations out in the living room. The back porch (now enclosed) was just screens with a little fold down table attached to the wall and a cushioned recliner that someone had to sleep on. We would stay for a week and get the place ready for my Grandmother, her husband and my Great Grandfather.
When I got older I would sometimes stay with my Gram for a week or so while they were out here. I remember the refrigerator was covered in this awful shelf lining print. My grandmother drank Meister Brau, made the best sausage and peppers and taught me to play solitaire. I was in what is now my Mom’s bedroom when I learned that Thurman Munson had passed away (I was a Yankees fan at the time). My Great Grandfather was this wizened, bald man who always seemed to be wearing a sweater and smoking a pipe (when I smell a pipe now it is like this time machine moment and I am there). I remember I was at the age when you spend your summer yearning for a romance.
The house now is still small with three adults, a child, two golden retrievers and one springer spaniel. It looks a lot less like it used to although some things remain. The old dark wood doors and door frames from the original iteration of the house. The creaky wooden floors. The huge picture window. My son was sad today and missing his Dad. I question this move. I hope that he is able to experience the joys that I did as a child out here as well. I hope that he is able to feel that this is his home even for a short while. I hope that he is able to create wonderful memories in this place full of family history.