A Special Place Called 'Liberty Street'
Why? Why? our friends have been asking us–and I find it difficult to answer them. Maybe the best I can do is to quote Sally’s late mother, who, when she moved into the same retirement home in which Sally and I now live, said, “It’s time to turn the page.” So true. When one goes beyond 80, as I have, age is more than “just a number,” as our younger friends maintain. It’s when it’s suddenly quite difficult to get into One Egg–and even more difficult to get out! It’s when that staircase up to the bedrooms at Liberty Street seems pretty darned steep. How did that happen? And the boys? Well, most of their children are either in college or scattered far and wide. Need I explain more?
It’s hard for all of us in the family to imagine summers without Liberty Street. On the other hand, I have to assume that it’ll always be with me. Always. So I’ll end my “House for Sale” story this month with something I wrote years ago. When I was young. It always chokes me up a little–especially now. But here goes …
“At a certain time when I’m old, I know where I’ll be, wherever I am. It will be very early on a calm, warm late-June morning on Lake Winnipesaukee. I’ll walk down to the water’s edge below my house on Sleepers Island, rest on the bench we had built there years before, and sip from a mug of hot coffee. From the distance, I’ll hear the faint sound of an outboard motor, but the huge lake before me, lying there in its myriad of undulating reflections, will be otherwise free of human activity. Then, far down near The Witches and Forty Islands, I’ll see a dark, faintly ominous-looking band of ruffled water creeping slowly toward me along the entire breadth of the lake, from Meredith Bay to Moultonborough Neck. There’ll be long-ago voices and laughter like distant music. A solitary leaf on the poplar tree leaning over the shore near me will flap lazily as if in preparation for the daily summertime wind–inevitably on its way, as always. While I wait for it calmly in the temporary magical stillness of early morning, just as I’ve done a thousand times before, I’ll look across the water to the hills that rise over the faraway shores and then on and on beyond for miles and miles of misty blue mountains to the north.”
Well, at least, after 43 years, Liberty Street has made it onto the pages of Yankee Magazine.
Read stories about Liberty Street written by Jud Hale’s three sons.