Blog Post: The Cottage

It was always just The Cottage to me, the way Lake Ontario was The Lake.  Sometimes I have to remember people down in Ithaca don’t have the same context.

My aunt and uncle – my mother’s older sister & her husband – are selling their cottage on Lake Ontario. (3)

It got flooded badly in 2018 – standing water for months 🙁 (1) and it got very moldy, and they are not young (my aunt must be, let’s see, 50+2020[year]-1+7… 76, and I think my uncle is within a year of that) and not in phenomenal shape.  I understand why they are selling it. 

On the other hand, I am mourning.

This is the last family childhood memory place still in the family – Grandma’s House, my great-grandfather’s house (other side of the family) are both gone.  All that remains is my parents’ place.

So I wrote them up a thing on Facebook, and I thought I would share it here, too.

This was part of my childhood.  I think it’s okay if I’m crying a little.


I’ve been thinking about this for days. There are so many memories for me associated with the cottage – it’s more like a feeling, a set of emotions, than a memory.

For me, thinking about the cottage says “summer” and “family” in one breath. It brings to mind sand castles and sailing and German Potato Salad; it brings to mind Andrea at the kitchen window saying “Service!” and bridal showers and baby showers…
Grandpa at the kitchen table, telling us things he still remembered, even then, about his earlier life.

I remember when there was still a little cottage between [house of last-name], and [cousin and cousin] and I played make-believe in its doorway/on its porch. I remember, vaguely, the renovation, the new wall, how it looked before the garage.

Summer picnics, of course, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day. It never seems right, not being at the cottage, Uncle [Uncle] manning the grill. Bacon and cheese on triscuits and asparagus wrapped in bread.
I love that the cottage was part of Uncle [Uncle]’s family history, that it became part of our family history. It will always be a part of the geography of my childhood, one of the few places in my life that were not my home that felt, nevertheless, like home.

3 thoughts on “Blog Post: The Cottage

  1. i wonder if you will dream of it? i find i often visit places that no longer exist for shaped my childhood in dreams [often a slightly skewed dream version 😉 but still!] and its rather welcome if amusing.

    • I find that I have generally three sorts of “home” dreams, or at least I have:

      * My grandmother’s place (my grandparents’ place, but my grandfather wasn’t a very cozy person, and he started really falling into dementia around the beginning of my years-that-have-2-numbers, so it was always Grandma I was going to see); we sold that place probably 10+ years ago.

      * my parents’ home, that they built when i was 4-5. They still live there.

      These first two almost never look exactly as they do IRL. The second one is almost always Home Now, like in my dream, it’s where I live now and that doesn’t seem wrong, although there’s often a parent or two and sometimes also Grandma living there.

      (Grandma passed when I was in my early 20s.)

      For instance, I had a dream where All Our Friends (this included people we haven’t seen nor talked to in a decade and some people who don’t really exist AFAIK, some people who I don’t really like but including one I lived with for a bit…) anyway, all these people were Helping Redo Our House.

      Have you seen the Simpsons episode where they rebuild Flanders’ house?

      Yeah, it was not that bad, but like, someone used the circ saw and cut into the actual floor, they painted the ceiling but got paint all over the place, and I was trying to smile a whole lot.

      BUT. My parents’ place is like… 36×24′. 4 rooms and a bathroom on the first floor.

      This house in my dream Kept Going Around In Circles. I think the room they ended up painting the light fixture was in my mom’s cousin’s house. It had no logic at all…

      So that happens a lot in my dreams.

      And the third is Places T and I Are Moving To But Aren’t Home Yet or Are Moving Out Of and they are always strange, weird, sometimes dangerous to the cats, and never everything we want.


      Right, so. I don’t think I’ve dreamed of the cottage, but I DO dream about Grandma a lot, and maybe the cottage can show up there.

      Maybe I can give it to the Aunt Family? They need a cottage.

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