An envisioning. . . 1970, three days and the rental house on Mackinac Island. . .

Oh to be here.

Everyone gone to Saint Louis for the weekend and the house to oneself. Mid-May, no one around and the house sort of ready for the season.

Food from the little grocer and lunch on the porch. Funny. No family and whatever one wants, not just what they say to eat. Muffins and eggs for breakfast with a plate covered with bacon. Two bowls of fruit for lunch and nothing for supper but a big bowl of shrimp and a jar of cocktail sauce with a flute of champagne. Healthy on Tuesday but not today.

The porches swept, beds made and the old towel rack in the maid’s bathroom covered with face cloths. Bag after bag of little shampoos and toothpaste to be put around. A pain, six bathrooms and each one needing three.

All right back then. Great-grandmother’s wedding present house. Wintering in Detroit and up on the island from June to September with a nurse for every child. The Detroit house gone after they lost all the money and winters in Florida in a tourist camp with the train up nearly as soon as the ice thawed. Their real home it was.

Games of sardines and freeze tag on the lawn. So many rooms that the cousins from down the road got lost playing hide and seek.

But fun now too. Only two weeks or maybe three and tenant hunting all winter. But worth it. Family homeplace with a boat house and a bunch of canoes. Long table on the porch for suppers with corn on the cob and three pitchers of iced tea as the platters of steak and bowls of salad make their way around.

But all that later. The last spot. Grandmother’s vanity with the drawer stuck. Funny. All the pictures taken out but one stuck inside with the names of the back. Great-grandmother and her little sister the year they lived in Paris.

A memory in flood and rushing back. . . In the gardens of the Tuileries, it must be and looking like little girls done up like the puffballs in the flower bed. . . A dolly apiece and a bonnet . . .happy they were there but only the one time. . .never got to go back, to Canada instead. . . but a happy bubble in time and that no one can take.

The daughters of grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia, uncle of the last tsar. Photograph ca. 1906.
The daughters of grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia, uncle of the last tsar. Photograph ca. 1906. via Facebook.

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