Monthly Archives: January 2021

The Doll from Aunt Ginny

I’m finally thinking of letting go of a folk-angel doll that my Aunt Ginny gave me one Christmas. It was definitely her style, not mine. We kept it with our Christmas things and put it up each year after we received it. It went more with the style of our Christmas things than with our general everyday eclectic-but-not-folksy style.

Aunt Ginny died shortly after Christmas 2015 and I didn’t put the doll back with the Christmas things after that, but kept her on my office sofa.

At the moment it is in the give away box, but I will probably transfer it to a Christmas box when I finish packing everything up for the season.

Some Books from My Past

I’m finally getting to that “To Blog About” box in the closet on my side of the study. I found a few books that I am surprised I brought back from my mom’s house because I either have no memory of reading them or just plain didn’t like them much. I left many that I fondly recalled.

This is Maggie Muggins by Mary Grannan

This book must have been a gift. I probably read it more than once, but don’t really remember much. Actually I don’t remember it at all. Looking at the first paragraph, it seems like I should have liked it more than I did, but maybe I was too old when I got it.

Surprise in the Tree by Sara Asheron, Illustrated by Susan Perl

I do remember this book and I remember liking it enough to read several times. It was likely one of the first books I read by myself. I remember the illustrations and the cat named Penny who liked to get up to mischief.

Treasury of Christmas Stories ed. Ann McGovern

I think I got this as a hand-me-down from my cousin Cindy. I remember none of the stories so I suspect I never read them. While some of the authors (Edgar Allen Poe, Marchette Chute) are familiar, the rest are not. And the titles! Lord Octopus Went to the Christmas Fair, A Miserable, Merry Christmas). Another book I don’t know why I kept.

The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber

I definitely remember this one and read it many times. I think I also checked other Lyle, Lyle books out of the library. This copy was from a book subscription my parents got for me through the Weekly Reader. There’s even a musical based on the book that I watched part of a while back.

Sir Kevin of Devon by Adelaide Holl, Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

Another Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club book, Sir Kevin of Devon was never a favorite. I barely remember reading it — perhaps because it was a long poem and not prose.

The Adventures of Robin Hood adapted by Eleanor Graham Vance, Illustrated by Jay Hyde Barnum

Likely another gift that I don’t remember reading, although it was probably my first introduction to Robin Hood.

Taro and the Tofu by Masako Matsuno, Illustrated by Kazue Mizumura

Another Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club selection. I remember having this book, but not being very interested in it. I think I will give it a read today.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am grateful to my parents for buying me so many books as a kid. These books helped define who I would grow up to be, even if I don’t remember reading them.

Unfinished Letter, Never Sent

I’d promised someone a letter several years ago and began one while visiting my parent’s vacation home. It was written on June 22, 2015 almost a year before my mother died.

Dear Name withheld,

As I write this I am sitting in my family’s lake house in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. Dean reads a book by an author whose name I cannot spell. It is our 30th anniversary. Dean is also cooking sausages for breakfast.

I awoke at 5:30 am and after a quick cup of tea did some birding. I also sat on the small dock and watched the mist-sprites dance across the lake.

To get here we drove the 750 miles from Bethesda to Ludington, Michigan where we spent a night with lovely couple in their B&B. In the morning we took the ferry to Wisconsin and drove 3 hours to Hazelhurst.

My nephew is living here for the summer and is glad for our company.

Yesterday I rode a bicycle for the first time in at least 10 years.

This house is owned by my mother — but she doesn’t like leaving her home anymore. It is supposed to go to my brother and me when my mom’s gone, but a few years ago, at Dean’s suggestion I told my brother he could have it. I told Mom and she was supposed to start the process of turning it over to my brother. I think she did — the financial advisor remembers knowing about it, but the process stopped when my dad died.

Anyway, the point is this — instead of making things better between my brother and me it has created more tension. I thought he’d be grateful to have the house — and he was — he now seems to resent having to feel grateful.

Mom is going to need expensive in-home care soon. I foresee some problems. Until today I felt a sweet nostalgia, listening to the the echoes of my past visits here. Today that is gone.

[End of letter]

I stopped writing this because I realized I was not writing to my friend but I was pouring my complaints about my relationship with my brother and my feelings about the lake house into what was supposed to be a light-hearted letter.

Re-reading it, maybe I should have finished it and sent it.

I still have ambivalent feelings about the situation, four and a half years later. It will never be the same. My brother and his wife moved to the house permanently a couple years after my mom died. It’s no longer the vacation house and never will be. For the most part I have let it go. I have many great memories of it and I am happy my brother is enjoying it. It was always his happy place.