Getting Ready for The Catskills

23 Jul

Next week my son and I are going to New Jersey/New York for 11 days. It is the first time in five years that I am going back east without a purpose. I have no ailing parents anymore, as, sadly, they passed away. I do not have to clean out an apartment or a house. This is not the unveiling. I do not have any meetings plan. We are just going for fun. I have not gone back home just for fun for a long time.

We are staying with my sister for a night and then my son and I and my sister and my niece are driving up to the Catskills to stay in our family home. My brother, and perhaps his wife and/or daughter will meet us up there.   We do not have to clean the attic, basement or house out. We do not have to fill up a dumpster. We do not have to do anything but enjoy the house, the grounds and relax.

Wow. We will see our cousins. We can walk into town. We can eat at a restaurant. Perhaps we will go to Bethel Woods? Who knows? We have no plans. It will be like old times…. Sort of.

My parents will not be there. The annuals my grandparents and then parents planted so lovingly will not be planted. There is no food awaiting our arrival. No special treats hidden away in the special cookie tin. We have to buy all the food ourselves.

There will be no one to welcome us when we drive up the long driveway to the house and no one to stand outside and wave as we drive away.  We will miss their smiles and their welcome.  But I know that they will be so happy to know that we are there, and that the house is alive again.

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Our home in Kauneonga Lake is our happy place. There are so many wonderful memories. SO many stories embedded in the essence of the house. So much laughter, and some tears. So much of my being was formed by events that occurred in that house. I would not be who I am if I had not spent my summers there.

I close my eyes and see the many outside activities that reside in my mind’s eye: croquet, bocce, baseball, running in the rain, watching the stars.   Each memory is a delight. My grandfather was colorblind, each year we never knew what color the furniture would be: a crazy quilt of chairs and tables. Sitting around on brightly painted wooden lawn furniture discussing whatever topic we decided.

My grandparents’ laughter; my parents’ commands; my brother’s and sister’s voices; the house resonates in sounds of love.

And then we walk down West Shore Road to where my grandparents’ bungalow colony once stood, we do not miss out on memories. We pass what used to be Kauneonga Park, the Fink’s bungalow colony, home to our grandparent’s good friends, Sidney and Bertha. The colony has changed now, but in my mind I see them and the way it was when I was a child or a teen. We also pass the White Lake Homes. If we walk through the streets there we can pass the home of Nan, a friend of my grandmother’s who was always embroidering tablecloths.

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Further along was the house of a friend of mine. His house abutted the Lake. Now there are giant homes there. But in my mind I still see the little homes.

We pass Cooper Drive…so many memories there as well, with friends who stayed there over the years. Then we walk on to the area where our bungalow colony once stood.   Now two of our cousins have homes there. Although some of the original bungalows no longer exist, houses stand in their places.

Our cousins are part of our childhood. We had so many adventures together. We grew up in the heyday of the Catskills: the 50s, 60s and 70s.   No one can take that joy away from us. We are more than just cousins. Our summers in the Catskills made us so close. We were more like siblings. And sometimes we bicker like siblings. But we share the joy of being in the Catskills.

We will share meals and memories with our cousins. We will sit by the beach and perhaps go out on a boat. The children, not us, but our adult children, will go boating and jet skiing and waterskiing. And now there are grandchildren to watch as they learn to love the Lake and the Catskills.

I CAN NOT Wait!

This time next week I will be getting ready to drive up to the Catskills. My heart is already singing with joy.

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4 Responses to “Getting Ready for The Catskills”

  1. Amy July 23, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

    What wonderful memories. Although your sense of sadness about who will not be there touched me, I know that your happy memories and being with your family will far outweigh the sadness.

    • zicharon July 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

      Yes. I am hoping that is what will happen. We will make new happy memories.

  2. Robin July 24, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    Your blog entries are wonderful. And from your previous entries, I know that your home was near my bungalow colony, Sheppy’s. Interestingly, your blog here was especially well-timed because my brother was up from Florida for my uncle’s funeral service, and I asked him if he wanted to take a ride up to Kauneonga Lake. He did, and we enjoyed reminiscing about our many summers there. Newman’s Drug Store is now a group of restaurants, and we had a wonderful dinner eating at The Tap and Table overlooking the lake. I highly recommend. There is a wonderful farmers market on Sundays in Callicoon, and we ate at another restaurant on 17B called The Dancing Cat Saloon that is also a distillery. Bethel Woods Museum is a must-see. While the area has undergone many changes, some good, some bad, I can still drive up West Shore Road, stop and close my eyes, and hear so many happy echoes of the past. Enjoy your time east!

    • zicharon July 24, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Thank you Robin. I have been to some of the restaurants in Kauneonga Lake. We all Love the Fat Lady. But I will try the new one! I have been to BethEl Woods Museum, and you are right it is a must see. So I want to take my son! My condolences on your uncle.

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