My family has a camp house that was built in 1909 by a group of friends, which has since been shared by about twenty families (mostly descendants of the original group). Ours has been involved for four generations (five now, including my own children).
It is set up so that each family may use it independently of one another, and in turn. Though I have no doubt it is special to every family involved, it is so quintessentially linked to my own childhood that it is sometimes hard to imagine it belonging to anyone but us.
When I was growing up, my dad worked a lot and was very involved in the community. He lived a busy life, and when he took time off he wanted nothing more than to be at the camp. There was no phone, no television, and (of course) no internet. The camp was only forty-five minutes from home, but when we were there, it felt like we were a world away.
Dad would never bring a razor to camp – refusing to shave for the entire week. As a little girl I remember looking forward to this uncharacteristic act of rebellion with glee. It meant no rushing off in a suit and tie. He was ours.
I have so many fond memories of being with him there – of long walks with him in the woods, precarious trips in the sailboat, heated card games, and even just the comforting sight of him sitting on the porch, reading or napping in a lounge chair.
Arriving at camp has always felt like a sort of homecoming to me.
I always pause as I walk in, to breathe in the familiar, rustic scent. It calls to mind many of the happiest days of my life. I am filled with adoration for this place; a feeling which connects me timelessly to each generation that has come before.
I know that my love for the camp is not only built upon my own memories, but upon the memories of those who loved it before me.
When I am there these days, the sensation that he is there permeates everything.
As it should.
Many years from now, his granddaughters will take a moment as they enter the camp, to breathe in the familiar, rustic scent. It will call to mind many of the happiest days of their lives. They will be filled with adoration for this place; a feeling which will connect them timelessly to each generation that came before.
They will know that their love of the camp is not only built upon their own memories, but upon the memories of those who loved it before them.