Ma is hanging the clothes on the line when I run up to her to tell her the news. A summer resident has invited me to return with them for a week to their home in Massachusetts!!! I am so excited. Can I go, Ma? She carefully removes a clothespin she is holding in her mouth as she struggles with a towel she is trying to pin. I can see a little worry in her eyes and she says, are you sure you want to go? Oh, was I sure?? It sounds like an adventure to me and I am ready to go! I help her pin on the rest of the clothes and she asks, what are you going to do for clothes? You don’t have too many good clothes, you know. Yes, I know, Ma. She hmms through her teeth and says, well, if you really want to go, I think I will ask Winnie if maybe her niece will let you borrow some clothes.
Well, that was a couple weeks ago, and here I am with a borrowed suitcase, borrowed clothes and ready to see the big city. It is near Boston in a place called Watertown. I can’t imagine what it will be like. This is the day and Mr. and Mrs. J and I get into their beautiful car for the four hour drive. Wow! This has to be the best car in the world. I sink into the seats and am ready for the adventure.
I have never seen so many cars in my life. There are four lanes of cars. Mr. J is driving at top speed and actually I am a bit afraid as the cars look like they are coming right at me. I can take four long steps at home and cross the road and maybe we have five cars go by in an hour! Well I shall hang on and know that Mr. J knows what he is doing.
We pull up in front of a huge house that looks like a mansion. Maybe Ma had a right to have a bit of worry in her face when I asked if I could come. I step on to the rug and I sink way in. Sink way in, I tell you. I have never been in a house like this in my entire life. I stay very quiet because I am not sure what I should say or do. Mrs. J takes me up a long stairway and shows me my room. MY room, mind you. I have never had a room of my own in my life and can you imagine? I have my own bathroom right next to my own bedroom. Well, this is like out of a movie!
Mrs. J leaves me to unpack and I look around. There is a glass by the sink in the bathroom and a beautiful bath tub. I wonder if I can figure out the hot and cold water in the bath tub. I don’t want to ask because then they will know I have never used one. I will figure it out some how and I guess the glass is for me to use . Yup, I guess Ma was right to have a bit of worry in her face.
I will be glad when Ann comes..she’s their granddaughter and she is flying in for the week too, so that will be fun. Mr. J has to fly to Philadelphia on business so Mrs. J and I will be alone for a couple of days.
The night has passed and I was so tired I fell asleep right away! When I came down stairs, Mr. J had already left and Mrs. J and I had breakfast. There was half a grapefruit on a little plate and a tiny spoon with a jagged edge sitting next to it. Well, I guess there is a reason for it. I have never eaten grapefruit, so I will remember to tell Curt about this and all the other new things. After we clean up from eating, Mrs. J tells me we are going to have a day in downtown Boston. Secretly, I am wishing that Mrs. J likes the Red Sox and I can go to Fenway Park, but first we go to a salon and I come out of there with curls you wouldn’t believe. Then off to Jordan Marsh for a little shopping and finally into Filene’s Basement where Mrs. J buys a bathing suit for me.
There is a method to all this I find the next day. Mrs. J has arranged for me to go to the ocean with some kids from next door. We go, we stay all day, I have no sun tan lotion and come home looking like a red lobster. Mrs. J is not pleased. The kids were not happy to be saddled with a country mouse but I cannot tell her this. I am just glad that Ann is coming tomorrow!
Ann arrives and Mrs. J has plans. I like Ann and first thing I take a picture of them in front of the big white mansion. I think Mrs. J wants to instill a little culture in us, well, probably me, because we go to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I trail along, looking at all the art work but I fall in love with Gainsborough’s Blue Boy. I want something to show Curt, so ask Mrs. J if I can buy a postcard of it. She says I certainly can and shows me where. I tuck it in my purse and then she whisks us away to the Boston Gardens, or something like that and takes a picture of me sitting by a little pond.Well, I figure I have about enough culture for one day. Ann looks a little tired, but we are having fun and I figure Ma will really like hearing about these adventures. Off to the Isabelle Stuart Gardens we go for a mid-afternoon string concert. I don’t mind telling you that I am a little bored. It lasts just about long enough..just when I am wishing I was listening to my brother Tink play his guitar, the strings quit and we go home.
Tonight Mr. J comes home from Philadelphia and tomorrow we drive to Maine. I think I will be glad to see the little road with no white lines that I can jump across in four big steps. It is fun, but it is scary too. I don’t think I will ever like living in a big city. But oh, the adventures I can tell Ma and Curt. I bet Ma will never believe me when I tell her about soaking in that big tub and learning how to use everything. Country mice aren’t dumb, you know!
*Footnote for my New York friends. Mr. and Mrs. J were the parents of Tom Jacobs, who passed this past April and just been recognized with a beautiful plaque in Glens Falls for his contributions to the community and the Ski World in general. Tom skied in the 1952 Olympics and his parents sent me a Christmas card with his picture on it. Unfortunately, during my seven moves, I lost the card. I met Tom when I first moved here by accident. My husband and I were shopping for a bike for me and went into the Inside Edge. I saw a man who looked so much like Mr. J that I told my husband the resemblance was uncanny. My husband went over and told the man and yes, it was Tom, Mr. J’s son. He was elated to know that I was one of the “Martin” kids who lived across the road from his parents’ cottage. My oldest brother and Tom were friends every summer he came to Maine. I hope they both are talking over old times now.