As you are all aware given recent link to YouTube video of a kid rapping the benefits of Princeton, technically my ‘hometown’ is Princeton. I grew up there – attending 4th-HS as well as coming home throughout college. For whatever reason, Princeton never really felt like home. Maybe because we picked up from Dad and Mom that it was temporary locale for our family…a stepping stone of sorts that ended up being a semi-permanent destination begrudgingly? Regardless, although until very recently no one in our family ever officially lived here at the Cottage…it has always been the nucleus of our family, that which we orbit around and gather to. It has always been our home away from home.
This place has been a regular weekend getaway for us in our childhood. Mary and I out in the yard exploring and playing. Dad working on some project. Mom working on landscaping or mowing. Basically in perpetual year round preparation for this coming weekend – the 4th – where impromptu family reunions occur each and every year. I know no better place…at least until they moved the fireworks to Hubbard Park…to watch fireworks. Big people v. little people wiffle ball. Croquet. An annual golf outing composed of the White brothers.
Dad has done an incredible job in the transformation of this place. Although museum like…it archives the history of the place…starting from the Englert clan and through my grandparents lee and Mary chopek…and into our family. Coming here, especially around the 4th, brings a wealth of feelings, a flood of childhood memories, and anticipation for future memories.
I can tell time by the size of the oak I planted there in 3rd grade. Seemingly just five years ago it wasn’t all that big. However years have gone by since that seedling was planted and now it is becoming monstrous. Avery no doubt will not remember the size of that tree that she played with this weekend. But I hope the Cottage continues to perpetually be a place in her and Micahs life for many years to come. And someday they can keep time and years by watching the wonderful place change as decades flip by.