By Ray Auger - There's a smell that lingers from 40 some odd years that can't be matched. The front exterior hasn't changed in the least. A patchy mix of grass and sand front yard, tiny shed for the beach chairs and charcoal grill, same sound of tires on earth as you pull in from a gravel-covered dead end road.
The interior has been updated and modernized but the structural vibe remains the same. (I am sitting where the kitchen sink once cleaned the evening dishes... when dinner didn't consist of solely Sundae Schoolice cream) and the kitchen sink now sits where I cut my finger on a shaving razor as a curious child.
Walking through the front door of this classic cape cottage, maybe bungalow is a better description, I can close my eyes and see the fishnet and shells decor to the left. Hanging on the wall above the TV that seemed to only play reruns of The Monkees. Or maybe that's all I allowed it to play at the time. I can feel the sand from the beach, just a couple miles down the road, covering the floor in small patches. My muscle memory wants me to turn backwards before I get too far in and rinse myself off in the greatest invention of all time... the outdoor shower. But I press forward in my mind.
The ceiling has since been vaulted and gives the main room a more open feel but as I reach up in my mind I can touch the dropped ceiling.
A short walk forward, 12 to 15 steps or so, lands me at the fridge where I could almost always find a grape freeze pop when the carving arose.
Another 5 to the left and it's a good chance I'm ready for bed or a nap. Cottage bedrooms were strictly for just that... not video games and relaxing. Relaxing was done on the beach. The entrances to the only two (tiny) bedrooms met in a "V" pattern. The loosely sliding closet-like doors were just enough to keep the air from the fan in and made that broken, tired swoosh sound that loosely sliding closet-like doors make.
The bathroom, on the opposite side of the cottage, another 12 to 15 steps from the bedrooms, was hardly used for anything other than waste relief and the brushing of teeth. All cleaning of body parts was done in the aforementioned outdoor shower... the greatest invention of all time.
There were few seats for lounging and when it was a full family weekend we sat on top of each other. Enjoying every uncomfortable minute, cramped in my Memere and Pepere's Dennis Port cottage on Holiday Lane... one of the many joyful memories of my youth.
Stays from the family years, where a tshirt from the screen printing shop at the end of the road was always an end of the week treat, to the high school friends years, where we bonded like only teens away from home can, to the now. It's still in the family, a family who squeezes every minute out of this gift from the relaxation Gods. (The same Gods who run the Get Away From It All Department.) And, from time to time, I get lucky enough to share this with my wife and children.
Like I said... it's a little different than what's etched in my mind... but the ghosts remain and at this moment I couldn't be happier.