Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer vacations at the Trapp Family Lodge: Part 1

Every June until I was 10, my family piled into my father’s Oldsmobile and headed north to Stowe, Vermont to spend two glorious weeks at the Trapp Family Lodge to visit Mutter, and various aunts, uncles and cousins who had settled close to home. We sang songs on the way - in round and harmony. (Hey, what can I say, we're von Trapps, it's what we do.) Over the years, the memories of these trips have blended together for me into one montage. My earliest childhood memories of all are connected to this place.

The first time I ever rode on a horse was the summer my oldest brother George worked in the riding stable at the lodge. Her name was Rosie and she was old and slow. I was three. I don’t actually recall when I really got to ride by myself, but in my memory, my sister Stephanie and I signed up for trail rides every day of the two weeks we spent at the lodge. My brother, Chris, hated riding. I think it’s because his horse took off with him across the meadow. Steph was the one who really took to it though. She even lives on a small horse farm, and is an accomplished riding instructor. (photo: Steph and I on Rosie, Tizzy's holding the bridle, Monique is standing behind George. Chris is nowhere to be seen - did I mention he's not a fan of horses?)

I had my tonsils out the June I was six, but that didn't stop us from going on our annual trip to Stowe. Swimming in the outdoor pool tucked in the woods behind the pine grove was a favorite past time, but because of the surgery, the amount of time I was allowed to spend swimming that summer was limited. I’ll never forget the frustration of having to come out of the water BEFORE my lips turned blue.

My two oldest sisters spent summers working at the lodge; Monique worked at the Front Desk and Tizzy waitressed in the dining room. I couldn’t WAIT to be old enough to waitress too, and learn how to balance trays on my shoulder. So when we were visiting, I’d don the little dirndl my parents brought back from Salzburg and “helped” them (I couldn’t have been much more than five or six at the time). They let me carry small items on a bar tray and help the hostess seat guests. I remember a woman from Germany named Ingrid who worked there for several years. I followed her around like a puppy dog, and when she went back to Germany she sent me letters and gifts. I still have the doll, (which I of course named Ingrid) that she sent me.

So whereas Steph first discovered her love of horses from these annual trips, I, it seems, got a taste of what was going to be my first career – working in the Trapp Family Lodge dining room….. (Suddenly the memories are flowing like water. I’m going to stop here for now, but I’ve got at least two more parts to this particular story that are writing themselves in my head. Coming soon….)

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