Last time I went with my youngest daughter to my mother’s apt. we had a blast with an unexpected takeover of the flies.
I can hardly wait to find out what is going to happen this time! The punch line in that episode when my Mom walked in from
dinner to see the 2 of us swatting and laughing while balancing in our bare feet on the furniture was priceless.
Before that I had spent a week long visit around July fourth, helping my brothers prepare the cottage on Lake Erie for sale. It
was more devastating to me than losing my own house. So many memories of the extra lot having been set up with croquet,
badminton or soccer games, depending on how old my children were. Innumerable memories of walking the beach looking
for lake glass or watching my kids run over the uneven blocks of stone that make up the pier until they reached the end to
jump into chilly early summer water, shrieks of laughter and basking on those same warm stones with our bare bodies facing
the sun to dry off.
It was the year I was graduating from college, getting ready to marry when we were talking about Mom and Dad retiring from
their respective jobs, buying a house on the lake in Vermilion, Ohio and starting to live the life of freedom and relaxation.
They shortly after selling the house we lived in that we all attended school (suburb of Cleveland) bought a Transvan and
often traveled like vagabonds without any contact since this was before everyday use of cell phones.
Once I had their only grandchildren they settled down more into their home and prepared it with loads of kid-friendly stuff. It
was the shelter I sought during the first divorce with 2 kids, the second divorce with an additional 1 baby. We loved the way
Dad made a double decker deck with a neat trap door and the rails tight enough the kids could sleep out on the top without
any fear of falling off it. We would arrive and find Dad setting up stuff, carrying those silly large styrofoam noodles and life
jackets with oars somehow stuck in the mix.
He would be so excited to show us any new floating devices or the way he made a wooden launch from our high cliff down to
the rocks and sand. Off would go canoes, kayak or rowboats. Soon I would be sitting on a large flat stone with a book,
unwinding from the drive.
Memories sifted, way too much, during that week this summer. Too hard to write at first about it. Now, nostalgia and
over the sadness! We were very blessed with my father being an only child and a street kid who would hitchhike to
Covington, KY to sweep out White Castle to pay his mother’s rent. He really wanted to marry, really wanted to have kids, he
thought of us a little bit like experiments, but he did not mind doing all the legwork, necessary baths, diapers, etc. and go to
both boy scout and girl scout outings, too. His favorite books to read were A.A. Milne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Dr. Seuss,
first to his own kids, then grandkids.
We had a lot of his books and papers to discard, neat satellite and land rover models to sell at the yard sale along with his
fishing gear, other miscellaneous stuff. The croquet set went to Rich’s house, the jars of lake glass, mostly blue glass, were
dispersed among us, and the fireplace where the grandkids’ stockings hung looked bare without the metal grate, tools and
lake found items that had collected dust for awhile. Mom’s beautifully sewn dresses along with her purses, hats, and
embroidered handkerchiefs got donated to a local oldies but goodies shop. No need to make money on them, more fun to have
the owner “Oooh!” and “Aahh! at their uniqueness and antiquity.
I may go by with a friend to the lake house over the weekend, but we three have all agreed: Mom is not to go back!