A hundred years ago, or so the story goes, my grandmother and her cousins used to gather at a great big house on Lake Erie. They would spend their days laughing and playing at the lake, and gather at mealtimes for big dinners together. There was a large yard, a small pier, and many minature rooms in this house, each just big enough to hold a bed and chair. When the sun had set, the families would retire to sleep, in as many rooms as that great old house could hold, and one tacked on back above the kitchen, called the sleeping porch.
Twenty years ago, my parents brought us to the same house, still owned by distant relatives, and we met my own cousins there for some last-century fun. We walked out on the pier. We played badminton in the yard. We cooked barbecue together, and we all retired to the great big house to sleep. I slept, as I imagined my grandmother had, on a lumpy old mattress on the screened-in sleeping porch.
All these years later, I still remember lying there, where my grandmother and mother had slept before me, listening to the sounds of all that family settling down to sleep, and then the hush of the crickets, the brightness of the full moon, and the delicious breeze that wafted in over me as I snuggled in to sleep.
There, in that new-old house, I felt safe, and surrounded by love. It is a memory I will never forget.