Late last week we drove up to Charlotte on Lake Champlain in Vermont. In 1939 my grandfather and Uncle Wally bought a 300 acre farm. Since then four generations have been attached to this piece of land, even though The Farm itself no longer exists. This is the view from Aunt Doris and Uncle Mike’s house. It was a rainy and foggy day when we arrived so you can’t quite see Lake Champlain, but you are looking down on land that Uncle Mike and his family farmed.
I took my husband on a little stroll down Memory Lane. My father farmed with Uncle Wally for a couple of years so I have my own history with The Farm which is a little longer than that of other cousins. This is the public beach where I finally earned my ‘Swimmer’ designation. I did not like diving then and I still don’t. I always get water up my nose.
The beach at the North End of The Farm remains a family gathering place. There is room for tenting, a pavillion for cooking and eating, and a dock. Thank you cousins for making all these comforts for other cousins. You’ll notice the stony beach, rounded lake washed stone. I always bring a few of these stones home with me.
Cousins and friends make good use of the amenities. And there are still tales of skinny dipping. Oh, how wicked we were at 12!
There isn’t much farming going on here anymore, but Cousin Walt who worked for a local winery, and the vineyards of Shelburne Farms in his retirement, planted a few vines of his own down at the North End. When we drove up the air was fragrant with the scent of ripening grapes.
I enjoyed all the chicory in bloom along the roadsides. I don’t know why there is so little here in Heath.
During an afternoon visit with cousins Jennie, Bernie and Peggy, we went through a family album that included photos of my grandparents who started everything rolling.
My own childhood memories are sometimes hazy but it is fun to compare stories with Walt who is my age, and who protected me on my first trips in the ‘doodle bug.’ The doodle bug was a the little van that served as temporary school bus that took us to a two room school house. No safety regs in those days. There were two little benches in the van and by the time we picked up all the kids and got to school we were sitting on each other’s laps. I attended that school in 1948-49, the last half of second grade and third grade. I’ve written about earlier visits here. Living on The Farm, visiting The Farm over the years have left their mark on all of us, giving us an appreciation of the work that farmers do, and of the beauty of fields, woods and water that we all treasure.