|Souvenirs Page 1 - Page 2|
Downing Park - The Top: This is where my story, my "history" of my actual "life" began, believe it or not. A rather small, Hudson River Valley "city", as it's known, full of people with minds of equal size. It was late 1971 (as memory serves), though this image is a rather current Internet satellite view, in the twilight-to-evening hours when what became my social circle, my "world" to be honest, would gather at the end of Summer days. We'd sit on the cool grass, under the old trees, listen to the radio, talk or just lounge about. The group's number would fluctuate from time-to-time as the "core 3-4 or 4-5" would be joined by others or would disappear else-where round the park. But for me, no matter how the place may change, no matter what it may become across the manipulations of time, that one, small spot on the planet which we all inhabit, will be, forever, my "Garden of Eden", where my "meaningful" existence, my "life", began. From this minute patch of earth, the story of Mr. G's Round Hill Lodge commences. (Thank you Dennis... It's claimed that our hearts beat because of some "electrical charge" in our beings. Well? I know where my first "spark" came from... and even as I compose this paragraph, build this site, it's still the same spark. Time may have pulled and kept us apart physically, but no matter the time nor the distance, you've never left me alone, nor I, you.)
In perspective of the location G’s, it’s difficult, at best, to understand the one-sided malevolence of the town’s folk, directed at and toward the place and the people who visited, frequented and lived there. Meanwhile, for those of us who were “guests and residents”, even with the exuberance that swaddled the area, primarily on week-ends, it was a bucolic place of retreat, respite, and euphoric rejuvenation of the soul (for the most part, since, after all, it could be only as perfect as Earth allows), and too… “Love”.
Some of the “fondest” memories of travelling “out to G’s” was taking alternate routes, through the back roads, so as to avoid driving through the village. Those of us who were “locals” and those who were familiar with the region knew well, the potential atrocities that might befall a pilgrim in transit to “The Lodge”. You could find your-self “detained”, for moments, hours or even over-night, at road-side or in the village’s “facilities”, for any number of allegations but primarily because of your destination. But for the rest of us, there was a “comfort” and consolation in the voyage along almost un-inhabited and rather dark country roads. At the “end”, true “Friends” were to be re-discovered each and every evening. Even other-wise “strangers”, whether spoken to or not, were, essentially, good Friends there.
Today, more than 40 years later, the land is governed by different people. The “Main House”, “Stone House” and cabins are gone. The spring-fed pool has been filled-in and all but vanished. Old structures have been demolished. But still, from Heaven (satellite), the foundations and other remnants call up and out, and to those of us who remember, who know, we still hear the sounds of the music, the conversations, the laughter and the tears, and we can still “see” the buildings where we used to wander, walk and dance. Time and the course of Creation may have removed “The Lodge”, but in the eyes of hearts and souls, for as long as even one of us breathes, Mr. G’s Round Hill Lodge will remain, stead-fast, preserved as it once was, and in the core of souls, will always be. (Personal Note: I can’t help but think, looking at this view, that this is how the souls of those “now gone” see the place… from “up above” the rest of us, from some-where “up above” us all, where they’re still dancing, as we did.)
My fondest memory...