First Things First Saturday the first thing we did after dropping our things off at the cottage was to go to 4:30pm Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church, the same place where my parents got married in the 70s, where I brought Kevin even before we were dating to attend Mass with me, and where he later went weekly on his own once he came back to the Catholic faith in which he was raised. Most recently, St. Charles Borromeo was where my grandmother, Marilyn Lohwater’s funeral Mass was held. The weather was so bad this past February, Kevin and I were unable to make it up there, since airports were closed due to the blizzard. It was also through involvement at St. Charles that my grandmother knew Kevin’s aunt and uncle, who rented us their side of the cottage some sixteen years ago, initiating a friendship that may never have occurred otherwise.
-2-With Grandma Gone It feels strange being in Rochester without my grandmother alive. So many of my memories here have to do with her. Growing up, this was the one place we returned to each summer. During the year, Grandma would come visit us wherever we happened to live at the time. I lived with my grandma in her two bedroom apartment off of Lake Avenue the summer after I graduated from high school, so Kevin and I would only be three miles apart rather than 500 miles. So many connections, so many memories.
Want to Make Mudpies?! I can still picture my cousin (who is now a teenager in high school) when he was just a toddler. My aunt, uncle, and their two children came to spend time with us at the cottage and enjoy the beach and the lake. With the utmost enthusiasm and a huge grin on his face, my cousin would approach our grandmother and ask in what came out in almost a high-pitched shriek: “Gamma, wanna make mudpies?!” as if this was the most thrilling activity on the planet (which, of course, to a little guy playing at the beach, it was).
Playing Cards One of the many things I learned from my maternal grandmother was how to enjoy playing card games. We started out with Crazy Eights, Go Fish, and later progressed to War, Gin Rummy, and Conasta. When four of my cousins came to visit one time, we all ended up in a line on our living room floor, paired off playing cards.
When the Cousins Came My grandma also taught me how to knit. One of my earliest knitting projects was a baby blanket for my soon-to-be-born youngest sister. Another memorable, amusing and definitely Grandma-inspired activity when my cousins came to see us was wearing the knit slippers Grandma had made each of us and seeing how far we could slide in them on the hardwood floors in our house. That was an interesting Thanksgiving break!
-6-Sweet Sixteen My mom, sisters, grandma, and I met Kevin and his dad, the real Harry Potter, when I was only sixteen. All of us became friends when we rented the other side of the cottage where Kevin and his dad lived, so we could spend a week right on what my mom refers to as “her lake.” None of us imagined what God had in store for the next sixteen years, but here Kevin and I are, back where it all began, coming up on our ninth wedding anniversary. Just like the lyrics said in one of the mixed tapes Kevin made me when we were dating, “I can tell you my love for you will still be strong after the boys of summer have gone.” It’s a pretty fitting song for Kevin and me that you can listen to below, if you like.
Family Ties Now when Kevin and I come to Rochester, we spend much of our time traveling down memory lanes (because there are multiple ones in this town for both of us). We also have fun spending time with family, mostly Kevin’s sisters and their families, who we usually only get to see when we’re in town staying at their side of the cottage.
God has given us so much to be grateful for!! Thank You, Lord!