Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Going Back

“There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better;
Some have gone but some remain.”
~ ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles

During this time of staying “Safer At Home”, I have begun a photo project converting snapshots in my family albums to digital files so that I can share them online with my loved ones, most of whom live on the West Coast while I live in Wisconsin. Scanning these precious images, I keep returning to a very special vacation spot that has been in the family for four generations.

We call it simply The Cottage. It’s a beach house built on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan some time in the 1940s by my father’s parents. My father first brought my mother there when they were courting as college students at Harvard/Radcliffe in the mid 1950s. I spent long weekends and extended weeks there in the summers while I was growing up. Here are some images from the party we had for my third birthday.

I last visited The Cottage with my mother, my sister and brother, my husband, and my four children in 2007, following my oldest daughter’s college graduation.Β 

To me, The Cottage will always be about the feeling of summer freedom. Walking right out the front door onto the beach at any time, free to explore the sand, the water, the endless horizon, the numerous bits of driftwood and stone, I felt that my life was my own to create. We built sand castles, buried each other up to our chins in sand, jumped waves, collected “glassies”, scared seagulls, threw balls and Frisbees, and lit campfires. I wanted my children to have that same freedom.

We also challenged ourselves to bigger adventures, like canoeing down the White River and riding over the huge dunes, and treated ourselves to local summer pleasures, like root beer and ice cream.Β 

Freedom and fun are the summer hopes of many children. In the present climate, these are threatened. But these are not frivolous dreams, these are the experiences that demand and build real growth. The ability to make choices and the motivation to make choices for joy must be modeled for the next generations. Limiting choices to staying insular, to keeping things as they are out of fear, is a dangerous example to give our children.

I fervently wish for this global pandemic to teach us the moral lessons we need to learn about continuing exploration and adaptation while treating all living things with compassion and wisdom. May each of you be safe and healthy while you look forward to freedom and fun.

Thank you, John, for hosting this week’s challenge and inviting us to go back into our travels, to remember fondly and to learn.

18 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Going Back

  1. It’s a great idea to convert those old photographs. A few years back, that became my project. We were lucky, though a fire damaged much in our home, the boxes of photos were spared. They now reside not only physically, but also virtually in an online “vault.”
    My best to you and yours in this uncertain time.

    • They certainly are precious, those photos. They are my memories, my legacy, my witnesses. I feel like I am passing my father’s gifts down to my children, not only the beach cottage, but the also his role as family photographer. I’m wondering which of my children might pick up that baton? Thanks for hosting, John, and for the post on La Posada. I’ve heard that place recommended by others, too

  2. Thanks Scilla – for the toast to Freedom and Fun for the children. Now I’m hearing Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the background. Sounds like a wonderful place to have those golden days in.
    All the Best to You and Yours in current times. M

  3. What a great idea Priscilla. it’s amazing how creatively so many have found ways to use their time effectively. Wishing you and yours many years to come with family gatherings that pass along the importance and joy of family.

  4. Excellent idea and memories for us to see. This is such a good thing – wish we could decide on that as well. but we have the whole basement and cellar full of old dia frames.

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