An envisioning. . . 2016 and the family compound on Mount Desert Island.

Oh to be here.

Maine with summer coming in and a sunset to want to sink into the sea with. Water still so cold even the children run in and out.

Pastures with blueberries and deer that roam through the mist. Fisher cats that come up on the porch when no one’s looking and bears somewhere one doesn’t want to look.

Cousins in every house and living out of each other’s pockets. The only way to live, really. Husbands very nice but not the same.

Someone you sat in a playpen with to watch the world go by. Fought over the same turkey drumstick at the same children’s table every Thanksgiving in Grandmother’s apartment on Central Park West. February in the southwest and ponies to race into the sun.

Boarding school and then finished at ecoles in Switzerland. Young men in London and more in Rome and finally one that stuck. Two houses of one’s own in Connecticut but Maine being home.

Great grandmother’s big house up in Bar Harbor gone after the war. Five maids needed and no one wanting to be a maid anymore, at least not there. But the move south and three houses now instead of just the one. Nicer views, too. Old house looking out at a twin with a matching porch and these staring out at sea.

Lunch a bit late and the framed pictures on the mantelpiece taken down. On the wall with Cousin Patricia in those sailor outfits that everyone wore for best. A great aunt’s birthday, it had been.

Fun it was. . . running across the lawn while the grownups drank their cocktails . . . but oh no . . . .Patricia riding into the goldfish pond on her bicycle and the mothers running . . . .that part not fun for sure but a memory for later to last one’s whole life long.


Peregrine Andrew Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire and Lady Emma Tennant (detail). 1951.
Peregrine Andrew Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire and Lady Emma Tennant (detail). 1951. Photo credit: Norman Parkinson. © Norman Parkinson Archive. Fair use license. via

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