In the summer of 1986, Rob and I met his parents in Bay View so that I could see first-hand what a “Bay View Day” was. It had been over 15 years since his family had been back and the visit was filled with reminiscence. Within a few years, Rob’s parents decided that the pull of Bay View was too strong to resist and in the summer of 1990 they purchased a cottage in the place that had, by now, become a National Historic Landmark. Our son, Samuel, was six weeks old when he made his first visit to the new Scarrow Cottage. He has spent some, or all, of every summer since, making him the 5th generation of the Scarrow family to fall in love with Bay View.
Many families have a beloved place that they go back to year after year. Bay View is that place for our family. It’s the place where Samuel’s height has been faithfully recorded each year on the kitchen door jamb, and the place where the great procession of family photos- in-front-of-the-cottage takes place.
Over the past few days I’ve been listening to people share their stories of Bay View. One thing that comes up repeatedly is how greatly people value a place like this, where they can gather each year with those they love. There is a rootedness here that enables friendships to form over time, and families to know that – wherever they are – they will do their utmost to return here for some portion of the summer. Bay View is not unique in this way. I know many families who find the same rhythmic solace by the lake in Northern Minnesota, or at the house on the Jersey Shore, or in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. Those places we return to year after year can become such important touchstones in our lives.
Last night, Rob and I and our 13-year-old Jack Russell Terrier waited for the arrival of Sam’s inbound bus from Chicago. After a year of living abroad, it seemed fitting that Bay View would be one of the places where Sam would need to touch base. Despite the fact that it was 11 o’clock at night, Samuel’s grandmother – who had not seen him in six months — would need to do one important thing: stand him up against the kitchen wall and mark his height on the door jamb.