My favorite time of the year has always been the summer. School was over. I could go out and be with my friends, ride my bike and play at Stephen’s Field from sunrise to sundown. And of course, my father would pick up my sister and me for a 2 week excursion to the Cottage.
The cottage was my grandfather Papa Bob Levin’s idea of paradise. My grandmother on the other hand wasn’t a big fan of not having running water and dreaded making the trip. She enjoyed the comforts of home and to her, it was simply torture to be in a shack with her rambunctious boys. Bob couldn’t wait to go and every year they would pack up and drive to Plymouth from their modest home in Weymouth.
In order for her to stand living there, it was important for my Nana to have her cookware, dishes, glasses, coffee cups and furniture to match what they had in Weymouth. Much of her kitchen ware is still there sitting in the cupboards. The sofa looks very chic and retro with its matching beige club chairs, the coffee table and stools. Her scrabble board is still in its place on top of the bookshelf waiting to be played while the letters are sleeping in the crown royal bag next to it.
My father would take us every year to stay for two weeks during the summer. I can’t remember which two weeks it was but I remember a few July 4ths there with the hippies next door lighting off God only knows what. In the morning, Laurie and I would find them with their heads stuck in the sand very much like the fireworks they had been lighting off all night.
I loved every minute I have spent in those four walls. From smelling the pancakes my dad would make for us in the morning to how the sand felt around my toes in the afternoon sun. I can still hear my aunt Minna’s voice in my head “Wash your feet off before you step in the house!” Sometimes that would be a chorus when we were particularly rowdy.
Much of my childhood was spent at that cottage. And when my childhood was over, my time there changed dramatically. I can’t blame my uncles for spending so much time there even though there isn’t any time for me anymore. Perhaps they feel the same way I do when they walk in after a long winter and spring. Maybe they get great joy watching their grandchildren play in the sand where they played for days on end. I don’t know. What i do know is I miss it. I miss being able to wake up and smell the pond first thing in the morning. I miss hearing the peepers at night. I miss sharing these moments with my own girls and I know my cousins do too. They don’t get much time there either so it isn’t all me.
There are many reasons on why my situation at the cottage has changed so much. Reasons I care not to get into and really don’t belong in this context. The reason I am writing this is to share that I brought isabelle there today to cool off in the water. She is really having a hard time in this heat which is making me increasingly more nervous about Florida next month. I wanted us to go for a swim without having to struggle with a long walk to sand while balancing a variety of luggage and chairs.
And I wanted to share my favorite place with her. Because in spite of the limited times I have able to go down there, it truly is my favorite place in the world. And I never thought I would have the chance to bring her down, to be honest. I never thought I would see her sitting in the sand or putting her feet in the first body of water I ever stepped into. Tonight I am overwhelmed with how grateful I am for the opportunity to see her joy as she splashed her heart out.
I am grateful for all my aunt’s efforts that have gone into making the cottage what it used to be. It went from being a place where hardly anyone would go to a place people fight over. I am happy that my cousins get to use it a little more this summer. There are very few places in my life that give me the happy memories that place does. There are even fewer places that connect me to my Levin family. The cottage connects me to all that was good in my father, when I felt loved by him and part of our family. Sharing that connection with her today was a blessing.