Oh to be here.
Falmouth and sea smells that run through the house. Saltwater, children shrieking as they race into the water over at the beach and the stench of dead clams and kelp lying across the rocks.
Beginning of July and a few beds left to be made before the rest of them come. The second floor done but not the old maids’ rooms up under the roof.
No more maids. Rooms for teenage grandchildren instead. Probably smoking up there and blowing it out the windows like everyone did in boarding school. Funny. Everyone doing that before. Roof must smell entirely of tobacco with gutters packed with old Lucky Strike packs from when that cousin sat up there, chain-smoking through all the bad storms because the wind made him nervous.
Garden the same with the old tennis court. Still there where Father played but the net a little bit sagged and weeds sprouting in the cracks. But having to wait. Hard. Not too old to sit and read but knees too bad to pull dandelions. A young grandchild thing like getting paid a penny apiece to get Japanese beetles off Grandmama’s roses at the end of the drive by the garage. Five pieces of candy one could get for that but not now. No, a child needing two dollars at least to get three. The same otherwise, though, a mason jar with a lid to put them in and small fingers to count them up.
Same house and room in one’s mind to go back. Seeing Grandpapa playing billiards in the old barn and the croquet set out on the lawn.
But long ago, back when girls had party dresses with long silk sashes and those huge hair bows that covered half your head and made you feel like the hair on top was being yanked out. Too many hairpins holding the things on and a feeling of getting jabbed with each one.
But a memory like the pictures in the bottom of a hope chest. . . sisters dressed like twins and together forever in the house by the sea . . .