I can't begin to tell you how exciting it was for the little city girl to spend two weeks every summer at the Catskill Mountain home of her aunt and uncle in New York State. The little girl came from an apartment in a brick tenement that housed five other families. Hot city sidewalks and stoops were the only scenery she ever saw.

As soon as school finished in June, mama and daddy and the little girl would board the Erie Lackawanna railroad train to Binghamton. At Binghamton, they would switch to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and get off at the town of Deposit in Delaware County. A car waited at the station to take them to the country home of her aunt and uncle in Sidney Center, New York.

The house belonged to Aunt Mabel. Uncle Peter married Aunt Mabel late in life and moved from the city to the mountains. It was a beautiful white house with fancy gingerbread trim on the porch. In the evenings, they would sit and rock on the porch, and that was much nicer than sitting on the hot cement steps of the little girl's city house.

Aunt Mabel had a plaque in the entrance hall that read, "Christ is the Head of this House, the Unseen Guest at Every Meal, the Silent Listener to Every Conversation." The words on that plaque amazed the little girl. She learned that Christ was Aunt Mabel's special friend, not the somber figure she had always feared.

Aunt Mabel's dining room table was wonderful. There was a fancy lace tablecloth. Centered on top was a round glass mirror. On the mirror was her collection of blown glass figurines--a swan, various birds, fish, and flowers. When the chandelier was turned on, the entire arrangement glowed magically. On the wall of the dining room was an ornately carved cuckoo clock that sounded every 15 minutes.

Best of all was the outdoors--being able to sit in the grass and play with family pets. The sweet smell of fresh grass was exhilarating. The animals were playful and she learned not to be afraid of them. Having a view of mountains from her bedroom window made her feel like she was living in a fairy-tale castle.

The village of Sidney Center consisted of dirt roads, open fields and flowers, pine forests and mountains all around. There was one main street. It was home to the Post Office, the Ice Cream Shop, the Barber Shop, the Methodist Church and Parsonage, and a gasoline filling station. On the side roads were beautiful two-hundred year old houses.

This faded memory of those lovely summer days remains in her mind. Aunt and Uncle died many years ago. The house no longer exists, but she still sees it in her mind. And she's sure the air smells just as sweet today, and the grass is still as soft as it was beneath her bare feet many decades ago.

~ Frannie (Frannie516@aol.com)

October 2004


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