Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mother Guilt

I'm feeling it. Cathrynn's school gave out a label to send a postcard from where they spent their summer vacation. Which makes me feel like I need to take her somewhere exciting in the next 6 days before school starts. We've done some fun stuff this summer - Pirate's game, zoo... lots of quality time, park, pool, crafts... but no where exciting from which to mail an important postcard. She wants to. I want her to. I used to feel the same way about Vince, even a trip to NY was better than going to school and saying you sat home all summer while your mom was stuck in the office. But, it just not going to happen this summer vacation. I'm wondering what will she remember most about summer?

And that gets me to my own childhood memories. My Grandparents' cabin at Pymatuning Lake. This is one of my all time favorite scrapbook pages - a few years old but with classic Chatterbox papers - it's timeless, just like my memories.
And here's my journaling:
I love this photo of my grandfather. He's holding up the catch of the day, in front of his boat. He's every bit Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond (one of my favorite movies).

In the 1970s, my grandparents built the 'cabin' at Pymatuning Lake. Their cabin spoiled any future camping excursions for me. I thought roughing it was wall to wall carpet, a modern indoor bathroom, a brand new two bedroom Ryan home.

Our whole extended family gathered there on a few occasions in the early days, when it was still being built. But I don't recall it ever becoming a family retreat. I'm guessing my parents were too busy working to take days and weekends off to vacation there. Most of my memories are of just my grandparents and Kim and me. I'm pretty sure they took turns taking all us kids, but my childhood memories are pretty self-centered - if it didn't have to do with me, I pretty much don't remember it!

What I do remember most is the peace and the meandering pace of our days at the cabin. (although, I can't imagine Kim and me weren't continually squabbling, nor Grandma & Grandpap, either!). The only time I remember rushing was to the water's edge.

I think it was in the mid 80s that my grandparents sold the cabin. It was too much of a drive for my grandparents, and too much upkeep during the dormant seasons. It was bought be a local family - as their real home. That always made me happy - the cabin would be loved, and lived in year round.
I close my eyes, and this is what I remember:
The deafening noise the crickets made at night.
The steep drop off on the right side of our tiny beach.
Catching minnows in the ditch adjacent to the cabin.
Waking to the smell & sound of bacon cooking, my grandfather at the stove.
Days, sometimes weeks, with out a phone call.
Fishing without a hook (to my grandfather's teasing & feigned dismay).
Endless card games around the table, while the lightening crashed around us.
The excitement of running down the path and being welcomed by the lake.
Kim and Grandpap getting up in the pitch dark to take the boat out.
Always feeling uneasy and vulnerable on the boat.
Huge mosquito bites.
Lazy days spent reading in the sweltering heat.
Walking down the street to the little store for a treat.
Chicken loaf, pickles & mustard on white bread.
Static on the old b&w TV.
Digging in the sand.
Wading up to my knees in the tepid, murky water.
The cool mud oozing between my toes.
Other people's litter on the tiny beach.
Picking berries at an Amish Farm.
Homemade strawberry jam on white bread.
Finally being old enough to walk down to the water by myself.
Days that seemed to last forever.
Days I thought would last forever.

2 comments:

Steph (aka bunnylady) said...

This, my friend, is great stuff. I love it all...the journaling, the Chatterbox (Oh, how I loved Chatterbox and still do), all of it.

No Mommy guilt allowed. Strike the phrase from your vocabulary, make up a fun, fantasy island destination, and "mail" yourself a postcard from there. It's all good.

Niesz Vintage Home said...

Hi Kelley!
I'm so glad you came to visit my blog. I LOVE yours!

I have to say that although we often took vacations to the beach, some of my fondest summer memories as a child were spent right at home.

My mom was great at organizing fun things to do. Savanger hunts and talent shows with neighborhood kids, taking my Barbies on a "camping trip" in the back yard, or carving bars of soap w/ pocket knives into animal shapes on the front porch.

Definitely no need for guilt! That's the fun stuff they'll remember.

Oh BTW, The chenille beds are FABULOUS!

Kimberly :)