The following story was meant for #WordPressWednesday but due to the fact that I make plans and the Universe laughs it didn’t get done.
My thanks to Trish for her kind understanding and patience.
By Trish Hubschman
Dad had a small hunting cabin in the Catskill Mountains. He inherited it around 1980. I don’t know the story on that. I do know that Dad wanted to make it bigger. That was the way he was. He liked expanding on things. So that’s what he did. The cabin became known as The Villa.
He added two extra bedrooms on the ground floor off the back. Dad and his second wife, Belinda, had ten kids between them. We needed the sleep space. The four guys had one bedroom. Four of us six girls shared the other. Two girls had to sleep in the older cabin part. My younger sister, Claire, and I shared a queen-sized bed in the new bedroom. The new kitchen spanned the length of the side of the Villa. Above that was the master suite and bath. I never saw that. The old part of the Villa had a small master bedroom downstairs and a loft upstairs. Dad wanted a basement, so the workers dug a ten-foot deep trench around the place. It was about five or six feet wide. So the family could get to the front door, and of course we had to go up when the work was being done, a wood board was placed from one side of the trench to the other. I don’t know how I managed to get across. I have a balance problem. I believe I held Dad’s hand and inched across it. It was like walking the plank. On those occasions, I never left the Villa until it was time to go home. When it rained heavily, I was certain the trench would fill Up with water and would become a moat around the castle.
We had a lot of fun at The Villa. I don’t remember too many times when all ten of us kids were up there at the same time. It was mostly my younger sister, Claire, and I with Dad and Belinda. One time, when Claire and I were welking down the mountain, we spotted a bush with big purple berries on it. Of course, we had to taste them. Yum, they were good! We raced back to The Villa and told the folks about our find. Belinda gave us plastic bowls to put berries in to bring back so we could have them with our cereal for breakfast. We filled the tubs and our bellies and got sick from eating too many berries.
Another time, Claire and I were out walking and I tripped on a branch or something and rolled a few times on the hard dirt down the mountain. I badly hurt my knee. Claire suggested she’d run back to the Villa to get Dad, but I was terrified of being left there. What if a bear came along and ate me? I grabbed her arm and begged her not to leave me. She didn’t know what to do, but felt It would be better to get Dad. She was right, but I wasn’t going to be left there. Finally, she helped me to my feet. I leaned heavily on her and limped back to the Villa.
A friend of Dad and Belinda’s was having a fiftieth birthday party that night. I didn’t want to go. My knee hurt. I wanted to stay at the Villa and keep my legs up on the sofa and watch TV. But I had no choice. I went to the party with them. I even had to get up and dance. I was crying from the pain.
One time when we were up there, Belinda tried to teach me how to apply makeup, but rather than teaching me to do it by feel, she insisted I look in a mirror. Since I could barely see myself looking back at me, learning to apply makeup by sight wasn’t easy. I know she meant well, nonetheless, I never learned the proper way to do it and don’t wear makeup.
I can go on and on. I have so many memories of the Villa. They sold it in 1990 and moved to North Carolina.
Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition/Miss America, and Ratings Game/Talk Show Queen. Tracy is a Long Island private detective. Her sidekick, Danny Tide, is the leader of the rock band, Tidalwave.
She is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She worked for New York State Civil Service. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, and their dog, Henry.
Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/