My parents bought an RV, my dad and mom had spent most of the early years of their relationship outdoors. Dad loved being outdoors! They let us borrow their camper so we decided that we were going to go to Cambridge Wisconsin. By 2001 three of my four grandparents were no longer with us, but we wanted to go, and show the kids the Lake and place I was always talking about. Cambridge Wisconsin now seems so far away to me (it is by mileage, a long 14 hour drive). It is however for me a place I will never forget. As a child, it was the first place I existed without my parents there. My grandparents had me stay with them for a month most of the summers from the time I was old enough to take care of myself. I remember although I am not sure it is true that I spent a lot of time there, before I could take care of myself as well. I don’t remember. I just know that my grandparents house in Cambridge Wisconsin on Sleepy Hollow Road was one place I always felt like home.
I suspect if you ask my kids for memories, one of the strongest they have is of Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Bloomington. We went often, to hang out with family and to celebrate. I do miss being able to wander down to Bloomington at will, but things change and over time you move to other activities. As I loved Cambridge Wisconsin as it was, my kids love the Bloomington that was. It is funny, because if you grow up in a town, and return as an adult the scale is all screwed up. Everything, when you are older, is smaller. Things that once seemed huge are tiny. Things you remembered change, or disappear. What once was is no more. As an adult you stop and find a wistful moment, a quiet time to reflect on what once was. As a child you are just looking up. I miss sometimes, the innocence of being a child. The ability to see everything for the first time, again!
Summer 2001 was also the summer of Fran. She, Francine Marshmutt Andersen arrived that summer. She was Jakki’s dog. She announced her presence with authority taking over ownership, management and overall family decision making. If you didn’t think Fran was authorized, just ask her, she would tell you. She was a tiny puppy and prone to chewing. Over the initial year of her life she managed to chew woodwork, carpet and a number of items that could be moved. She could go through a raw hide bone in less than 20 minutes and be asking for more. Gwen, who had been our only dog up until then, was not the most receptive of this new interloper so there were a few disputes. Gwen was used to being the only dog in the house.