Thursday, September 9, 2010

Random Encounters

It’s funny, what triggers the memories. I was on a walk this evening, and passed by a house with a refurbished 1974 Karmann Ghia for sale in the driveway. This is not a car you see very often. It made me think of Mutter, who was known for speeding around Stowe in her blue convertible Karmann Ghia, which, if I recall correctly, she eventually wrecked, breaking her leg for her efforts. It also made me think of a story.

We were still living in Bolton, Massachusetts, and had just hired Curt Plante to do some major renovation on our house. Through the process, we became friends with Curt and his wife, Holly. For my birthday, Curt presented me with a birthday card with three photos inside; two of the old Lodge from before the fire and one of Mutter at the wheel of the aforementioned Karmann Ghia. Turns out Curt’s mother had visited the Trapp Family Lodge back in the early 70’s and had taken these pictures. Although I had dozens of photos of the new Lodge, I had very few of the old Lodge, so getting these meant a lot. Encounters like this is what’s cool about being a von Trapp.

Mutter (Maria) in her Karmann Ghia in front of the Old Lodge

Old Lodge in Summer

Old Lodge in winter.

That reminds me of a more recent one: I was shopping at the Dress Barn, and when I made my purchase and handed over my credit card, the store associate did the classic and well recognized double take. Wait for it, wait for it, I told myself, expecting the usual Sound of Music reference. What came next surprised me; it doesn’t happen often out here in Arizona. “von Trapp. Of THE von Trapps….. The ones who own the Lodge in Stowe, Vermont? I grew up in St. Albans.” These are the connections I warm up to right away. She looked to be about my age, so I asked, “Really? Do you know the Walsh’s in St. Albans?” (My friend, Katie Walsh Lizewski, grew up in St. Albans, which is not a large city by most standards. She comes from a family of 10, so the likelihood of this woman knowing was good.) She said she thought she knew a Sean Walsh. I’m pretty sure that’s Katie’s brother. I left the store feeling like I had run into an old friend. And as always, I marveled at the smallness of the world.