Franconia – Part Two

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  • **This week we continue our visit to Gale Cottage in Franconia, New Hampshire where Elisabeth’s mother, Katherine, recalls her honeymoon at the cottage…

    Elsewhere I have told of the famous HAM we ate in all its forms on our honeymoon, but I don’t think I told how it was cooked. There was no kitchen in those days. A small woodshed contained a two-burner kerosene stove. It was not the most ideal arrangement, but honeymooners are not too particular about such things and we had a glorious two weeks in the place I came to love even more than I had loved Monmouth. Then what about the summers when we were there with our children? Betty has told (in All That Was Ever Ours) of what the cottage meant to a small child (we will visit these writings next week!) and then to a mature person. I can’t possibly say it as well as she has. I can, however, make a few comments from the point of view of the mother…

    In the early days when Phil, Betty, and Dave were very small, facilities for washing clothes posed a problem. A kitchen had been built by then but there was only one way to wash clothes and diapers. No laundromat was even heard of then. Three big blue enamel pails served for washtubs, two big kettles heated the water on the kerosene stove. As for cleaning the big place—I used to say that if Aunt Annie Slosson had had to clean it herself, it would have been built very differently—but aren’t we glad she didn’t? There is just no place to compare with it in the minds of most of us, I’m sure.

    What those mountains meant in the lives of each one of our six cannot be imagined! They prepared Phil for many a trek out into the bush with his Indians. Betty had no problem in biking into Auca-land, over rough terrain and wading through rivers. Dave surmounted the mountains of Colombia on more than one occasion. Ginny found it easy to push through rough trails to see her missionary friends in the heart of Pala wan (Philippines). Tom broke records going up and down Mt. Washington in a matter of hours, and Jim snowshoes over the northern Minnesota landscape with no effort at all…

    In the evening, as the mist slowly formed on the meadows, and the haunting song of the whitethroats vied with the bell-like tones of the veery and the hermit thrush, and the purple light faded from the sides of Lafayette, there was a longing in one’s heart to just keep things that way always! But this joy could not stay with us, as there was another added joy as we turned into the big cottage living room and a huge fire was lit in the lovely fireplace. These memories cannot be taken away from us, and as Amy Carmichael says, “All that was ever ours is ours forever!”

    **Excerpt originally published in Shaping of a Christian Family, pp 148-150.