A treasure map of stories
As my mother hands over the keys to the new owner of her lake house, my childhood home, I feel a rush of emotion, a desire to share with her a treasure map highlighting stories of this beloved place.
I want to warn her about the poison ivy over by the birch tree. Tell her the west basement door sticks when it’s humid, that I feel the tiger lilies to the east have been grandfathered into the property, as they were there before we moved in, over forty years ago.
I look out from shore and reminisce about the time we had a big party on the lakeside patio and the dock fell off it’s footings while the United Methodist minister and youth group stood on it, slowly sinking into the water while calmly eating home churned ice cream.
The time my dad had a stringer of fish in the lake attached to his boat and I grabbed them, pretending they were dogs on a leash while I took them for a walk on the dock.
The hours I spent watching my dad skillfully clean fish while swatting mosquitoes on the east side of the house. The sunfish and crappies I scaled, working by his side, trying to keep up with his fast paced fish cleaning assembly line. The hundreds of fish my mother cooked and her creative recipes she concocted to introduce a new way for us to experience fish for dinner.
The bushels of rhubarb, asparagus, carrots, radishes, green beans, corn, swiss chard, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, onions, squash, pumpkins, raspberries, grapes and everything else under the sun my parents grew for decades in the garden.
The award-winning flower arrangements my mother created from the flowers she and my dad tended in their flowerbeds. The gorgeous floral arrangements she created for our wedding in 1997, all from flowers they grew themselves.
In this kitchen, the decades of homemade meals prepared, pies baked, bread kneaded, tomatoes canned and jelly strained.
In this sewing closet, the garments tailored and clothes mended. On that shelf, my grandmother's button box.
On these walls, framed watercolor paintings by my mother who was happy here, enjoying nature and creating art.
In this shop, the radio plays in my mind where my father crafted furniture pieces for the family. I can still smell the sawdust.
Living here brought a privilege of seeing both the sunrise and sunset reflected in the lake. From my bedroom window, I saw fish swimming in the lake, loons, muskrats, ducks, beavers, hundreds of birds and the Milky Way.
Will my mother show the new owner where the wildflowers bloom in the spring? Encourage her to continue her diligence in feeding the hummingbirds nectar and the orioles jelly? Highlight to her the bounty of the grape vines my father planted in the garden?
No. We’ll probably keep it to ourselves, knowing the new owner is now the steward of this land. She will discover the wonders and grow to love this place on her own. Just like we did.
I say a tearful goodbye to my childhood home, knowing I’ll carry my treasure map of stories with me forever.
Producer Audrey Robinson Favorito explores the craft of digital storytelling