Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Looking Back

This afternoon I found myself in the basement with a pair of Logan's dirty shorts that needed to land themselves directly in the washing machine. (I'll spare you the details. You can thank me later.)  I looked around at the mess of boxes and papers all spread out, still from our flooded basement incident over a month ago.  I had left some things on the ironing board and needed to put them away, so I sifted through some of the loose papers on top.  One of them is about to be recycled.  It is all crinkled and somewhat brown, and I can't really read my professor's handwriting in his comments, but it is a very short piece I wrote for English 465, back in 2001.  It describes my childhood in only one and a half typed pages, but I think that if you read it, you can grasp why I love New England so much, so I thought I would share before dropping it into the big blue bin in the garage--


"Set in the outskirts of a quaint New England town, home is a secluded three-acre wonder at a little place called Russell Reservoir.  There I spend my summers canoeing past turtles and frogs and swimming for hours on end.  At least once a year I climb the breathtaking Mt. Monadnock with my father.  We stand at the top for hours, gazing in awe at the land below, basking in the cool mountain breeze.  At night sometimes I swim under the stars with my sisters and my brother.  As we walk barefoot down the old dirt road, we wonder at the bats overhead.  The moon on the water is bright, and we've been waiting all day for our mystical midnight swim.

At autumn's arrival we delight in the cool, crisp air.  A family trip to Hancock means it's finally apple time again.  Soon the house grows warm with the scent of Marme's fresh apple pie, and we've packed the freezer with enough applesauce to last until next season.  After the fall of the last red leaf, the cold settles in, and we snuggle by the fireplace in our old sleeping bags.  Every day we watch deer sample leftover apples in the garden, and by Thanksgiving, we suspect the ice will be almost ready for skating.

Winter brings with it plenty of snow and cold, and Dad makes us stack wood for the stove.  While he swings the axe, Andy loads pieces into the wheelbarrow and pushes them up the icy hill to the bulkhead.  There he dumps them all into a big messy pile.  Becky stands inside and stacks the wood that Jessi and I throw down to her.  I'm little, and I get very cold, so I sneak inside every once in a while.  Marme is always there with a hot cup of cocoa, and Jessi gets jealous, but I take full advantage of the privileges that come with my age.  Later Jessi's happy to show me a new game in the snow, and I'm impressed by how brave she is to sled so fast down the long, steep hill.

Come springtime we can't wait to haul out the bicycles and baseballs.  We all rush outside every chance we get, even though the mosquitoes swarm endlessly.  Dad takes us up to the school to throw the baseball, or we swing a bat in our own front yard.  Becky is a pitcher for the Varsity team, and Dad's convinced that some day, when I throw the ball to him, it will strike his glove just as hard as it does when she throws it to him.

Marme is always there, watching, helping.  She listens to all our problems and cures them with her motherly skill.  Her care is the true reason we're all so close, and it's because of her that we've learned to appreciate all that is home.  In times to come, we'll all return to her and to one another.  We'll always remember best our childhood days together at Russell Reservoir, and as we begin to raise families of our own, we'll do our absolute best to ensure that our children enjoy all the wonder and excitement that we did at their age."


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