I am blessed to have been born into a family that has one of the greatest cottages in the world. I don’t feel that I am exaggerating. Situated in Chaffey’s Locks, a tiny town about 3.5 hours outside Toronto, it is close enough to be a weekend destination, but far enough away that it is a vacation. And it’s certainly far enough away from the city that it promotes a rural rather than urban pace of life. The cottage is owned by my father and his two siblings. They received ownership of the cottage when their parents died, and my grandparents received it from a relative as well. My children represent the fifth generation of the family who have spent their summers at the cottage.
There are actually two cottages on the property, along with a garage, a boathouse and a bunkhouse. The smaller cottage was built early in the past century and served as the home for the teacher at the local school. The log cabin was built in the 1940’s and family legend says that it was built from telephone poles. My great-great uncle, who built it, was Minister of Natural Resources and it seems he may have found a way of getting some telephone poles from the stockpiles. The cottages, combined, comfortably sleep fifteen people, though they are normally bursting at the seams when the family gathers in the summer. It is not unusual to have every bed and couch occupied with a couple of tents pitched on the property to supplement. This is the place that my family gathers. The more the family has scattered, the more this place represents the family’s home base.
My parents and aunts and uncles have decided to sell the cottage. They are visiting less than ever and are moving to the four corners of the continent. They no longer feel that the benefits outweight the expenses of maintaining a cottage.
This is a place where I have visited several times a year, every year since I was born. In fact, I spent my first summer there before I was even born! This is a place that my children have come to love. This is a place that is my haven. And it won’t be my place for much longer. The elder generation hopes to have the cottage listed and sold by the end of this summer. And I don’t have the money to buy it. Three or Four hundred thousand dollars stand between myself and my cottage.
Anyone want to share some ideas on how I can keep this cottage in my family? Or is this God’s way of telling me that material posessions, even cottages, are merely fleeting pleasures?
Here are ten reasons I cannot bear to see the cottage go:
Because they just don’t make them like this anymore:
Because of this porch. I have done more reading and socializing here than any other place in the world:
Because of the family history. Here is a picture from the fifties. Almost nothing has changed since then:
And speaking of history, here is my father sitting right where my son now loves to sit and play with his dog and his toys:
See? Everything at the cottage is an opportunity for a game:
And while they play, I can sit, read, and enjoy this view:
Or how about these sunsets? There is a new show every night at sundown:
Because it is the ideal place for cousins to build memories:
Because it’s the only place I ever see Nick, whose mother sat with my mother and discussed their pregnancies many, many years ago while he and I were still months away from being born. We’ve been fast friends ever since, though we live many miles apart. Here is Nick with my son who bears his name:
It is the only place the family gathers as a family: