I understand how love of family and of home motivated certain people to do loving things. My Uncle Jim drove (from Marblehead, Massachusetts to Schenectady) nearly every weekend for about eighteen months, to help our family cope with my mother’s illness (Tuberculosis) and absence. Great Uncle John risked losing his job at G.E. when he took up a political fight against powerful foes, all in order to prevent a power company from damaging the islands of Lake George. Mary Ingles chose to leave three children, including a newborn baby, and venture through the uncharted wilderness to return home to her husband.
Here, as I sit at my computer, I am surrounded with images and reminders – of home and family. The eight foot table to my left was once the centerpiece of life and hospitality in Appy’s main camp. After holding a barn sale in 1994 and being tempted to keep as many important relics from Lake George as possible, I had to admit that the rustic benches were much too heavy to transport back South. However, I insisted that my brothers help me tie the heavy old table on top of my car. Somehow it managed to survive the journey, and I use it now for meals, for writing, and for woodcarving and other crafts. Prominently displayed nearby is a quilt I made, with the figure of a raccoon and the outline of Lake George, obvious reminders of Appy, Dad, and Uncle Jim (who loved to feed and befriend several raccoons on their nocturnal visits to the camp.) A beautifully framed old photograph is also nearby, of the New River and the tavern at Ingles Ferry, taken at least one hundred years ago.
I understand why I value so much these artifacts and images. They help this transplanted New Yorker and Virginian feel at home here in North Carolina. Despite the wrenching changes and transitionsin life, I am conscious of my identity, my heritage, and my roots. If I can instill a portion of this wisdom in my children, I will have been largely successful as a mother. If I can pass along this wisdom to a wider audience, I will have been largely successful as a steward and a writer. That challenge motivates me to get out of bed