When I was a sophomore in college I met someone who turned out to be one of my best friends ever. One of those people I can sit in a room with and say nothing at all and be completely comfortable. I could drop my kids at her house snotty nosed at midnight with no explanation, and it would be fine (if we lived closer). Her family "adopted" me, and I ended up spending many Christmas holidays and summer weeks with them. During the summer they live at their beach house in Connecticut.
Now, to look at, the beach house isn't glitzy. It's over 100 years old, and hasn't been modernized much other than electricity in the 50's. The items inside are relics of a past age, many from her mom's father's childhood (that would be when her Great grandparents lived in the house!) The truth is, though, the beach house is magical. When you get there, all worries fall from your shoulders. Your biggest concern is making sure you don't track in sand. Chores that normally drag you down (doing dishes, cooking) are fun there. And you're almost never alone (unless you want to be). Sigh.
Take in all the loveliness. Feel the ocean breeze and the sun on your cheeks. Listen for the sound of the ice cream man coming down the beach road (LG's favorite thing. I didn't realize he's never seen an ice cream truck before! He loved it. Even better, it came during nap time, so he could order all the blue treats he wanted with no little o to worry about!)
Ok, now take a deep breath. This is that same house from across the street last Sunday:
I know it could have been much worse. Whole towns were wiped off the map. People had houses split in two. But to me, this is just a tragedy. The house has been in her family for many, many generations. The notion that they still use the plates and couches and things that her great grandparents bought before the depression always afforded me some comfort. Some things do last more than a life time. We don't all fade away immediately into memory.