I’m not sure if it was the first time I visited, but it was certainly my most memorable.
Matt was two-ish, our only child back then. The men had put the dock in at Camp Cozy down the road that late May day, lake water still freezing cold. And that old wooden dock was heavy, but of course, those boys got it done.
Gram Carpenter was grateful and gracious, always.
To thank them, she invited all the families with young children up to the farmhouse and made us a country ham dinner with all the fixings for lunch. All our little kids played on her big, green lawn – the mowed part, not the high grasses just beyond that led to the woods and eventually The White Mountains.
She had an old metal swing set the kids played on all day; we still have the photos of Stephanie and Ainsley at four, Andrea, Nate and Dan. They’re running on the lawn, tiny sweatshirt hoods up and tied against the wind, brightly colored wind breakers, kicking balls, pushing plastic bubble lawn mowers.
When Matt was tired, I sat with him on the metal rocking couch on the porch and we read all the picture books Gram had, from very old days. Gram had been a school teacher, so she had books and kids’ toys.
Gram Carpenter was the grandmother everyone yearns for.
Her smile was a mile wide.
I’ve only been to the big white farmhouse a few times, but it captured my heart as much as it did for her great-grandchildren who have now started a vintage gift shop and family blog under the auspices of The Big White Farmhouse. Their charming story of naming their business is honest and heartfelt. Ashley is now the mother of five (a talented interior designer, photographer, and writer) and Andrea is an astute businesswoman and new bride.
When the big barn across the road from the farmhouse had to be dismantled, I felt a twinge of sadness. How I love barns, country places where the wind blows the grasses gently, the sun shines like it will never end, and giant white puffy clouds dot the summer sky. Air as fresh as that makes you feel heaven on earth – you can breathe there, your heart is light.
In hard situations, we’re told to think of and go to our “happy place.”
One of my mind go-to’s is The Big White Farmhouse. I never want to forget it.