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Archive for May, 2018

Do you remember my December post, before my break from blogging? I wrote about Alice and Emily’s visit to their Aunt Maria in San Francisco after the death of her dear husband.

https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/this-n-that-in-the-bleak-mid-winter/

Yesterday Maria flew back home after a week visiting relatives in the Cleveland/Akron area. It was a wonderful visit, at least from our point of view. And I think from Maria’s as well. She stayed with my dd Alice and there were several events connected to her visit. Last Saturday Alice had a huge family party for her.

Alice may 2018 party 2

The kids were all playing with the zip line and on the tree house and racing around. But you can see it was rather overcast, so when the rain began, the party moved indoors for dinner.

Alice may 2018 party 5.JPG

The younger generation went to the basement or playroom after, but the “grown-ups” stayed to catch up. We had people from New Jersey and Michigan as well as our local family. And no one got a photo of the whole group, alas.

Maria enjoyed getting to know her younger great nieces and nephews. Stevie played Legos with her quite a bit.

Alice may 2018 Stephen the cruiser from Maria

One afternoon Maria wanted to visit Paul’s grave. My husband was her youngest brother.

Alice may 2018 party cemetery with Maria.JPG

Tuesday Andy, Aniko and I drove up to Rocky River and met another sil for lunch at our favorite restaurant. We spent nearly three hours! No one quite wanted to leave. But finally, Andy, Aniko and I returned home and Susie took Maria home with her. She stayed with them overnight because they live very close to the Cleveland Airport. Maria was flying home from there the next day. She will be in San Francisco for two weeks and then fly to Alaska to visit more family. Maria and her husband were the greatest travelers in our family. It began with her two years in Africa in the Peace Corps in the 1960s. I think India was the only major country they never visited….Paul used to say some in his family had this wanderlust and others did not. He and Maria certainly did.

Today is the last day of school for my grandchildren and Saturday is another graduation party!

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Young animals have an amazingly strong appeal to almost everyone. Yesterday a fawn appeared in my garden. I don’t really want to see deer, though I think I am stuck with them and their devouring ways. But the fawn touched my heart.

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When Andy was at the cottage last weekend he caught a photo as he came up the road. I really like this one. There are so many memories of this place we all love.

Chautauqua cottage may 2018

Alice and Emily went to a memorial service in Buffalo over the weekend. It was held for our wonderful neighbor Helen Conkling who died last December. Helen and her husband Ed were incredible neighbors when my kids were growing up. They had no children of their own, but all nearby children benefited from their generous hearts. They had hundreds of tea parties in their back yard, but anyone could knock on their kitchen door and be welcomed in with enthusiasm if they were home. Helen did a lot of art work with the neighborhood kids and kept a folder of their drawings, stories and poems which she presented to each one when they reached the age of 18.

FnF Conkling Helen with Meredith HC died 12 3 2017

Here is a photo of Helen with our neighbor Meredith. They were year round neighbors for years until they moved to Buffalo in the late ’90s. Ed had been a professor of Economic Geography at SUNY Buffalo and Helen was a poet. She won a prestigious prize from the University of Pittsburgh (the University of Pittsburgh Press, Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize)  and had a book published, Red Peony Night. We all treasure our signed copies! Helen had been working on another book and a friend from her poetry group read aloud from it at the memorial…It’s still available from amazon, though only used copies. When she was younger, Helen and Ed had been professional musicians. He played the viola and she played the oboe. A couple with amazing accomplishments which they shared so freely. A lovely memory from Chautauqua, long ago, were evenings when Ed’s quartet of string musicians played classical music in the backyard.

Helen and Ed founded the Point Chautauqua Historical Preservation Society and Ed wrote an excellent book about it – Frederick Law Olmsted’s  Point Chautauqua: The story of an Historic Lakeside Community. Helen was the first president of the Society.

Ed Conkling book

All this remembering of time gone by is making me have to work hard to be happy that it happened and not too sad that this time is over.

Helen Conkling ted peony night

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Possibly the most lavish blooming time is over, but spring is still astonishing here in northeast Ohio. Driving through Cuyahoga National Park with my granddaughters today I saw many people on the short piece of Bath Road between Riverview and the Akron Peninsula Road. The herons are still flying overhead, still on their nests. I see families of geese looking like toddlers now, where only a few days ago they were a mother sitting her nest and a gander standing guard. All manner of birds are singing in the morning. Thousands of peepers enliven our evenings.Chautauqua july 2016 flowers

Many wildflowers and blooming trees have come and gone but the new daffodils we planted last year came up and bloomed their best, after we had given up hope. The Redbud tree I planted so long ago but could never see from the house is beautiful and visible this year due to the loss of the Norway Spruce which blocked it before…It’s an ill wind, etc.  And the aliums I planted two years ago and have not yet seen, surprised us yesterday with their nice purple balls of flowers. The deck is planted with flowers and herbs and one pepper plant. I’ve rather given up on tomatoes and cucumbers. They don’t do well here. We had a tough winter and some things died which have been living for years. Two different sorts of sage need to be replaced.

Driving through the valley today I saw that turkey buzzards were flying overhead. They are not here in winter. There is always a celebration in nearby Hinckley when they return. Read about it here: https://www.tripsavvy.com/buzzards-of-hinckley-752532.

Most of my family are at Lake Chautauqua today, putting in the dock and getting the house ready for the summer of 2018. I will be going there on the 9th of June to see six dear friends from my favorite book discussion group who are coming for a week. One of our group is coming from Maine, driving her truck, and bringing lobstah for us all. Exciting! I haven’t tasted a lobster in years and I’m sure these will be delicious! There is even a hint of lobster bisque later on. Besides Maine, I have friends coming from Canada, the Pacific northwest, Tennessee and Virginia.

(The photo of blue hydrangeas is from last summer at Chautauqua.)

Andy and his friend Istvan  (Hungarian for Stephen)  are getting ready for a two week Great Lakes Sailing trip and are testing Istvan’s sailboat, the Circe, at Lake Chautauqua this afternoon.

After this long hiatus, I have decided to blog again. There were some serious health concerns in January – not mine – but I think things are much better now. And I wish all of you good health and a very happy summer!

 

Alice june 2017 fern lodge sign

 

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