My pond

This originally ran on New England Mamas. I’m going to be pulling some of my favorite posts over here to keep them all under one “roof”. Hope you don’t mind the repeat if you’ve seen this before.


It is a quiet place. The house is nestled in the pines, almost on top of the waterfront. The water is fresh, clean and teaming with sunfish who, upon hearing my feet on the dock, rush to me in the hopes that I will have some old bread for them. I might see an old turtle swimming in the waters or hear a duck quacking around the bend. Or, I might hear nothing at all.

I have been coming here my entire life.


It was my grandparents’ place, then my bachelorette pad, and now the place my mother calls home. Before I was 18, there was a boys’ camp across the way, and I’d wake to hear a voice on the loudspeaker telling the boys what their day held for them. I flirted shyly with them as they canoed on the pond, banging their metal boats into each other as if fighting some primitive war. If any came too close, my grandmother would yell from the second floor windows, Get away from my granddaughter!

My own personal body guard at 13.

When I lived there alone, I was never afraid. I’d come home late after working in the city, open the door of my car and hear a thud at my feet. Two shiny eyes would be looking at me. It was my neighbor’s large black lab who had come to play catch in the darkness. I’d hold the drooly ball between my fingers and play catch for five or ten minutes in the heat of the summer or the freezing cold of winter.

When I swim, I feel the span of generations all around me. I remember swimming up to my grandmother and holding on to her sturdy wrinkled arm. I remember watching my dad diving off the end of the dock and swimming off into the center of the pond. I recall my sister doing bobs in the water. I think of the friends, family and my new husband all swimming in the dark waters after our wedding.

And, now, I see my own children playing in the waters that have soothed me my entire life.


This is a place so special to me, it must remain secret. However, that isn’t to say that it is closed to you. Families now walk through the former boys’ camp and ignore the “Do Not Enter” signs that lead to a quiet, sandy, no-frills beach area. For the determined, there is a way in. And, if you see me on the other side, wave.


Field Trip to The Big E!


Today, we made the almost-two-hour trek to Western Massachusetts to visit The Big E with friends. The Big E is not just a “fair”, but a fair I attended year after year when I was growing up in that part of the state.

Not much has changed; except for maybe the increase of disgusting fried things (Fried BUTTER!?!?) and the number of people in motorized scooters.

I will never, ever understand the line that snakes back and forth at the “Maine Building” so that people can spend $5 on a baked potato. Don’t they realize you can get a baked potato in one of those neon food carts and skip the line?

But, some things aren’t meant to be understood, like a giant sculpture made of butter:


One of my favorite things about the day was seeing the people demonstrating old-time skills, like using a loom or spindle, or hammering tin into candle holders and decorative objects. And I am humbled at how time-consuming, yet beautiful, hand-made lace is.

The kids loved that they were even pulled into the demonstration. Here is Jilly with the loom:


And Belly with the tin man (Tin Maker?)


He showed them how to make a star ornament that is hanging in my kitchen right now:

It was weird to be back with the kids and to have such different feelings about the place now that I’m older. When I was young, The Big E was all about the food, the rides and hanging out.

Now, the food looked so much more expensive and unhealthy. I had made a “NO RIDES” rule ahead of time. And “hanging out” today mostly meant that one of the kids was too tired to walk anymore and needed to sit down, right there on the ground.

It was different. But it was still fun. Though I still don’t understand the baked potatoes.

Mean girls and skates

I’m ranting about mean girls (while weeping for Phoebe Prince) and revealing my fear of ice skating (Thanks Damien!) over at New England Mamas today.

Would love for you to stop by and visit.