my little slice of heaven

my little slice of heaven
My little slice of heaven, click image to see more

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Reawakening

Apologies for the pregnant pause between posts. I've just returned from a long Memorial Day weekend to open our family's summer house. For generations my family has been making the long trek to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to take in the cool air, sylvan north woods and sheltered waters of the Les Cheneaux Islands. My great grandparents began visiting family friends in the 1920's and bought a cottage in the early 30's. For them, it was an escape from the muggy Ohio River valley of Cincinnati. 
For anyone who's shared the tradition of a family summer house, they know that these places are more 'home' than any place they might spend the other nine plus months of the year. Each of these places holds a rich tapestry of memories shared in common among siblings, cousins and generations. Every bedroom might be named, 'the indian room', 'uncle Louie's room', and so on and if not for the oral histories passed down through generations, uncle Louie's identity might be lost to the mists of time. 
So for me, Memorial Day is a time not just to reflect on the sacrifices of those who spilled their blood to ensure our national freedoms, but also to meditate on the rich tradition which I've been privileged to enjoy. As the cottage reawakens from it's winter long dormancy, so do all the memories of parents and family, some long gone.
Each generation inevitably faces a watershed moment when siblings and or cousins part ways, joint ownership can and often does prove nettlesome. When my father passed away nearly 20 years ago, my mother, not an avid boater, decided to acquire a mainland residence so as not to be island-bound at the old family cottage. Just a couple of years ago, my wife and I secured a full interest in my mother's place and were able to renovate. The house, not freighted with the same degree of aforementioned memories and history, allowed us a free hand to take things in a fresh direction. I think the reawakening was a wonderful one, hopefully it too will last for generations.

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