❮PDF / Epub❯ ☆ The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home ✪ Author George Howe Colt – Memovende.co

I found this memoir interesting as the author took us through the life of a huge summer house shared by several generations of his very large family House history and family histories made this part memoir and part biography a bittersweet story, slowly moving to the story s close. Best of all, there were books Although it didn t take rain to get us reading in the Big House in fact, reading inside on a sunny day gave us a deliciously guilty feeling , on an overcast afternoon people would be curled up with a book in almost every bedroom, with three or four of us draped over the sofas in the living room, physically proximate yet in separate worlds.This book was just so incredibly charming and tragic It made me nostalgic for something I have never had nor never will a summer home on a rocky beach It also made me think of my grandma There s a lot of talk about older generations and people getting older It definitely had me tearing up a lot I fell deeply in love with this book, but I know that it is definitely not for everyone If you have ever described a book as boring then this probably wouldn t be to your liking For me personally, no books are boring The simply stories of the Colt family and local history was just lovely and transported me to Wings Neck I find myself feeling really sad that I will never get to see this house, explore its hidden passageways, or spend a day reading in George Howe Colt s favorite reading room in the house known as Mariah s room This has become a new favorite book added to the list of many. Faced With The Sale Of The Century Old Family Summer House On Cape Cod Where He Had Spent Forty Two Summers, George Howe Colt Recounts Returning For One Last Stay With His Wife And Children In This Stunning Memoir That Was A National Book Award Finalist And A New York Times Notable Book Of The YearThis Poignant Tribute To The Eleven Bedroom Jumble Of Gables, Bays, And Dormers That Watched Over Weddings, Divorces, Deaths, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Breakdowns, And Love Affairs For Five Generations Interweaves Colt S Final Visit With Memories Of A Lifetime Of Summers Run Down Yet Romantic, The Big House Stands Not Only As A Cherished Reminder Of Summer S Ephemeral Pleasures But Also As A Powerful Symbol Of A Vanishing Way Of Life Reading G.H Colt s The Big House you may find yourself shutting the book at page 150, and thinking to yourself, Wait, why do I feel sorry for this dude in the original sense of the word who summers every August in Wings Neck Because he s losing his summer home Errr Yet, you can t help but be intrigued by Colt s well written book He has tale after tale to tell about his time spent at his summer home, built many generations ago by his great great great great grandfather, Ned Atkinson the original Bostonian Brahmin.I did raise my eyebrow than once as I read through certain sections Like, the table of contents, which contains chapters titled, Sailing and Tennis which is fine, except for the fact that they sit directly under a chapter called Plain Living And it s quite plain, from the sum of his stories, that he embraces this type of irony This book does read a bit like a collection of 20 college admission essays, each answering the prompt, What makes you tick And, how does it impact the way you look at the world around you Which is to say, you might get bored at bits here and there, but if you actually stick it out, you may find than you might immediately expect. I need a map And a geneology chart And what the heck is a Brahmin How have I not heard that term before Granted, I am no Bostonian, but I did spend most of my life in the northeast I m so glad I m past the architectural history and into the family s stories I m now able to keep my eyes open for than 2 pages at a time 6 11 11 Okay finished reading it this morning Obviously we are finished in the playoffs, or I never would have had that kind of time It did get a little bit better But how is it that there is not one single picture of this Big House in the book All you get is an illustration of 1 4 of a house on the cover, and who knows if that s what it really looks like While the author went into plenty of detail about the house s structure, some of us who aren t so architecturally gifted have a hard time imagining a house that fits this description I loved this book for three reasons 1 His wife, Anne Fadiman, is one of my most favorite authors, so it was fun to see her from another perspective 2 We had a summer house up until 2003 that I loved loved loved We called it camp Sadly, unlike The Big House, it did not get sold to a member of my family, and I miss it terribly I do not think there will ever be another place as good The Big House made me miss it all over again and feel better about being so emotional over a house 3 He has a chapter called Money I thought it was just my family, but it turns out there are other families who keep the thermostat at sixty, wear their great grandmother s raincoat because it s still good and have dragged their great uncle s moth eaten wool blankets to boarding school and college still with Uncle Fred s name label on itwhy bother replacing it , rather than buying a new one I was actually at my aunt s over Christmas break, and mentioned my blanket had holes in it, and she pulled out scraps of its twin from her rag bag and gave it to me so I could patch it Apparently there s a whole book on this subject by Nelson Aldrich, which I can t wait to read, because it s like an ethnography of my family. I have read few books so desperately in need of editing as George Howe Colt s The Big House Colt tells the story of the grand old summer house on Cape Cod that has been in his family for over a century If he had stuck to the story of that house, this would have been a very fine book But the endless meditations on the peculiarities of Boston society are profoundly wearying I can t even imagine a proper Bostonian putting up with page after page after page of his blather That said, there are some fine passages in life in an old summer house on the sea through our stay, the Big House has a well settled look The doors and windows are wide open The front porch is littered with baseball mitts, snorkels, buckets, flip flops, strands of dried and slightly odoriferous seaweed, scallop shells, and a rubber ball painted green and blue to resemble the earth Wiffle balls, bats, Frisbees, badminton rackets, and a bicycle are scattered across the lawn The clothesline is draped with colorful beach towels, fluttering like the pennants on the New York Yacht Club boats that used to anchor in the harbor each Fourth of July Inside, a modest natural history collection accumulates on a bedroom sill several jingle shells, a whelk s egg case, a moon snail s operculum, a beige horseshoe crab cast the size of a silver dollar No matter how much we sweep, small shoals of sand linger here and there, making a soft shuffling sound under our feet One of the big themes of the book is the tremendous resistance to change that typifies old guard Boston society Like Plimoth Plantation or Colonial Williamsburg, the Big House is to be preserved intact, uncontaminated either by throwing anything out or by willingly introducing anything new Any change is likely the result of serendipity a book left on a bedside table, a shell on a mantelpiece, a toy car on the kitchen floor If no one removes them immediately, they will likely be granted tenure Several years ago, an iron bedstead in the Little Nursery lost a caster For two summers the resulting tilt was ignored This summer we arrived to find that a copy of Tess of the d Urbervilles had been placed under the shortened leg We haven t touched it Recently, sweeping up after a weekend of houseguests, I came across a guitar pick For the time being, I put it in the wooden dish on the front hall shelf where the key to the Chelsea clock is kept I know that if the house were not being sold, that guitar pick would remain there for decades, as immovable as a barnacle My grandchildren would assume that Ned Atkinson played the guitar, and would venerate the pick as a holy relic Charming If only the author had stuck to the This Old House theme Really, a nice magazine article, perhaps for The Atlantic, would have been than enough. I was disappointed with this book It was mainly the author s incessant whining about all the wonderful events in their summer lives, on Cape Cod as opposed to their winter lives in Boston and of course dispersed around the world in wonderful places London, New York, Greenwich, Montreal It reminded me of a certain columnist in the York Sunday News who wrote about his kids college experiences as though they were the only two teenagers to ever go away to college The author writes as though he and his extended family where the only ones in history to have gotten up before dawn and rowed a boat into the bay to fish, or play croquet, or sit on a porch and husk corn, or read a book sitting on the porch when it was raining, or collect seashells, or have a camp fire and sing songs, or talk about crazy ancestors, or swim, or play tennis etc etc etc ad nauseam Get a life So maybe this is the purpose of memoirs, somewhat cathartic, but it was not worth the time I spent when there are so many other good things to read Glad I only paid 50 cents at for it at the Salisbury Free Public Library Oh there I am bragging about my wonderful summer and that no one else is having one I was unpacking books today and found this great books in the bottom of a box It is written by a man whose family has owned a home on cape Cod for 100 years and now, because of the cost of upkeep and the number of family members, it is being sold He begins the book with his last visit to the house he has been going to all his life and then goes back to the memories of all the years it has been in the family It is a poignant book about family, legacies, memories, and how to say good bye to a place that has meant so much to the author and his whole family It is a tear jerker I read this on an airplane and had to hide my face next to the window so my seat mate wouldn t know I was crying when he wrote about remembering his grandparents waving good bye to them at the end of their summer visits It is so worth reading. The Big House has been part of the Colt family history since it was built by the author s great grandfather, Ned Atkinson in the very early years of the 18th century Build on Bluff overlooking Cape Cod, it is the epitome of a bygone era, during which time all the old Boston families were building summer homes as an escape from the city And though large and rambling, one time staffed by a host of maids and boasting a separate cottage to house the chauffeur, like other summer homes of it s era it was built to showcase the Puritan spirit that infused Boston at that time humble, almost shabby, and certainly not a showcase for the family s immense wealth Over time, the Atkinson family, later the Colts, lost their money and their name ceased to hold the sway it once had, though it was still loved and recognized by those with similarly prestigious pedigrees The house, like the family, began to fall into disprepair, but despite that the family returned here every summer to fill it with laughter and memories And that is what this book is, the memories and history of not only the house and family, but the Cape itself, as the George Colt brings his own young family here to spend one last summer before it s sold I didn t go into this book expecting much I mean, how interesting could a book about the history of a summer house be But it was a loving tribute to a man s life, to his family, and to the place he loved than any other It is a nostalgic and bittersweet, and utterly captivating tale of a particular American experience And though I didn t grow up on the Cape, or even anywhere near the ocean, it made me homesick for days past It also filled me with a desire to find a way to give my family these kind of memories We aren t vacationers, and we certainly don t return to the same place year after year, but this book makes me wish we were I absolutely treasure every word this author wrote and I m deeply thankful that he wrote down his memories of that last summer, shared his family story warts and all.