My maternal grandparents had a large summer home in Craigville Beach when I was growing-up. We had a big family, with 17 first cousins on their side alone! My family had moved out-of-state, but everyone else lived in New England, so my siblings and I got in touch with the extended family when we went to the Cape in the summers.
My grandparents house was full of character; it had secret passageways-designed originally for staff to come and go, but we kids all born in the 50’s and 60’s thought it most magical-it was our Hogwarts. We were accustomed to a home where there were no secrets- the parameters of our house back home was new and clean, but ever so boring!
So, needless to say, my grandparent’s house was exciting for a child. However, the sheer joy of our summers encompassed much more than the wonderful house. The house had, as all the homes did in the area, a walkway behind the house that went in two directions. One direction led to the beach-and it was lovely; copious trellises with overflowing roses, which lined the walk in each direction. The aroma was pure delight, and even now the smell of roses evokes a childlike delight that is not at all about valentines and wine-but rather is about pure childhood sensory happiness!
In the opposite direction the walk led to what can only be described as a fairy tale village. The village was composed of a small inn, a penney candy store called Mrs. Walker’s store, a beautiful wood A-framed church, and many small cottages-which looked like they were straight out of The Hobbit. It also bosted a tiny post office(resembeled something from Masterpiece Classics), and a shuffle-board court.
We kids would amble in the directon of the village when we had our fill of the beach. We would fill-up small paper bags with 50 cents worth of candy at Mrs. Walker’s store. Often, we would send post-cards to our (disadantaged) friends back home, and then we would play a few rounds of shuffle board. My older sister and I once ventured into the church where we stood stunned by the magnificent pipes of the organ. We, and this is a serious confession- tasted the wine that was intended for the parishioners the next morning. What a guilty pleasure that was! We reasoned that we were Catholics and the church was Protestant, and therefore we were safe from damnation for drinking the church wine! (O.K., it might have been grape juice).
I could go on and on! However, I will conclude this remembrance with a few thoughts. One, make sure your children have a little mystery and danger in their lives; boredom leads to bad behavior, and kids come into this world craving adventure. Two, let them indulge in something unhealthy occasionally, as they learn quickly that it doesn’t feel well when they go overboard (another story). Three, a wonderful family vacation is not just about resort destinations, it is about finding a place where there is history, there is variability, and there are small delights to explore and savour. Did I tell you about the bullfrogs on Lake Elizabeth? Oh, no- I guess that will have to wait till I get back in the story chair on the porch that overlooks- well there I go again . . . definitely another story!