The house at the top of the long green lawn is enormous in my memory.
It is one of those gracious homes which sprang to life, with its wide open porches, turrets and gables, near lakes, in a bygone century. The clapboards are white, the trim a green so dark as to seem black.
From where I stand, near the windy edge of the Lake, the lawn is a vast, up-sloping expanse of manicured grass, the house a straight-spined governess with her hands on hips. She stands alone watching over me.
I don’t remember who else is with me, but neither do I feel particularly alone.
The Lake smells like fresh water in early spring. It’s at my back, but I know the edge is rocky more than sandy, uncomplicated by scrubby vegetation or wild grasses. Like the green lawn, the water is vast. Foam tipped, gray-blue water as far as I could see, were I to turn around.
The sky is clear and pale.
This place, so vivid, has been with me as long as I can remember having memories. It comes to me now and again, when my mind wanders, or when I smell lake water in cool weather. I associate it with the absentminded way my son holds his Beek to his face. It’s a comforting memory, one to savor.
A safe place.
About ten years ago, I asked my mother which of their friends my parents had been visiting when we stayed there. I described the house, the memory of standing with my back to the water, watching the house watching me.
The memory plagues me because I can’t place the owners or the other inhabitants.
My mother had nothing to offer. No friends or family who’d ever lived in such a place, no vacation we took that brought us there. No houses by great Lakes.
And yet, the memory persists. It is an important place. I have been there.
This is response to The Red Dress Club’s memoir exercise in two parts:
Part I: Make a list of some of your most vivid childhood (or more recent) memories. Pick one and write it down in as much detail as possible.
Part II: Investigate what this memory means to you.