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The Club (aka All Inn)

(This morning I'm just trying to remember images of the family's summer cottage.)

Kitty Mom at Club about 1938


Three-story frame structure -- narrow clapboard, is that the right term? -- preserved with coal tar creosote, which had to be re-applied every so often. Smoky, burned smell. Maybe my uncle Lester was applying creosote on a ladder when he ran into a bee's nest, fell and broke his back. Either that or painting the white trim.

Enter through the screen door, which slammed constantly all summer. The heavy wooden door behind it was rarely closed, except when my grandparents locked up to go home on Sunday nights.

Living room. Two cane club chairs, with leather-cushion seats. Giant mission-style lounge chair, painted white, with tied-on plaid cushions (ugly). The back would rachet back by notches (there was a movable bar) -- is this right? Occasionally used for sleeping by someone who could not make it up the stairs.

To the left (step down) was the "porch" -- originally just screened in. I guess the large square openings between the living room and the porch were originally windows. By my time the screen windows had been replaced by crank windows with screens. June bugs bounced against these windows at night. And thousands of moths. This was the dining room and game room, with a big table and later a tv. A small black GE oscillating fan (and a lot of beer!) kept the hot air circulating.

This is where Ewald served his famous breakfasts to everyone on Sunday mornings. And where I had to stand (at the front windows, looking out) that 4th of July when my dad wouldn't let us stay outside where my cousins were exploding fireworks. (Maybe that was the day my sister Ellen ate the little gunpowder "candy" and it exploded out of her mouth -- luckily not in her mouth.)

To the right of the living room (up a step) was the narrow kitchen. Two refrigerators, storage cabinets, and stove along the side; sink under the front window. This was generally my grandmother's territory (except for Ewald's Sunday breakfasts).

At the back of the kitchen (down a step or two) was the bathroom. I think this was an addition to the building -- maybe 1940-ish. An innovation over "The Annex" -- an outhouse way out back. This bathroom has a history all its own. It had a shower head and drain. I remember taking showers there with my mom when I was little enough that she didn't mind me seeing her naked. On hot days, when no one felt like taking us to the pool, we kids could put on our bathing suits and play in the bathroom shower (later moved to the basement).

I remember sitting on the toilet with adults fussing over me because I was constipated. I remember my head bleeding into the sink after Jimmy Tighe beaned me with a rock and adults saying it was nothing, head wounds bleed a lot. And Kitty Mom liked to tell the story of reaching down the drain and being bitten by a scorpion.