Kindred Farm Revisited

I finally dragged my entire crew, not quite kicking and screaming, but a bit under duress, to Goshen. Robert Wolfson, my second cousin, and his wife, Donna, and his sister-in-law, Ginny, hosted an afternoon get together for any relatives who could make it to what is really a family compound, although one on which the March contingent no longer owns property. We could, if we wanted to, buy in again, but my Gramma’s old house is in such a state of decrepitude that it would be a mistake – Pittsburgh is so far away from Goshen, and Curtis already has his cottage in Pleasant Mount. Investing time and $ on renovations to the Goshen place does not really make sense for either of us. At least not right now. We basically ate all afternoon long, because first there were appetizers, then there was a lunch with food from a Middle Easter restaurant, which was yummy, and then a couple of hours later, a barbecue! Our hosts really knocked themselves out for us – Robert’s and Donna’s daughter, Michele, is getting married next weekend, so the timing for putting this day together probably could not have been worse – but they insisted upon doing it in the most gracious way possible. My kids and cb all finally understood what I was talking about when I spoke of Kindred Farm and all my great times there in my youth, the weeks of liberation every summer from all worries and cares. My Dad would be in Ardsley during the week, working, and come up for weekends, and my Mom, Curtis and I would stay at Gramma’s for either three or four weeks in a row. We would “time share” with my Mom’s brother and sister because Gramma had neither sufficient space nor forbearance to deal with all three families at once. So I think every summer one fam got four weeks and the other fams got three. Anyway, although it was a good long time, it was never enough for me. Such excitement upon arrival there each summer, and such sorrow and despair upon leaving my beloved oasis. I think part of my freedom from most anxiety at these times had something to do with the differences in my Mom. Since we spent most of our time outdoors, and there was not much mess to clean up, Mom was never on our cases. Curtis and I would be released every morning after breakfast and wander all over the farm playing with our cousins. Even on rainy days we would be out of Mom’s hair – off to the social hall to play ping pong or rehearse one of our annual plays, or to someone’s screened in porch to play cards for hours and hours and hours. It was so great for my Mom not to have to supervise us constantly – something that drove her insane and into foul moods back in Ardsley. For my Mom, motherhood of small children, even very good, well-behaved children like us, was fraught with tension, which manifested itself in constant irritability. She was too much of a control freak to be a content, stay at home parent. There was nothing Mom liked more than Curtis and me out of her sight, the only time she was at peace. When we were underfoot, we were either demanding something of her or making a mess that either she had to clean up or force us to clean up according to her specs, and she hated all of it. She also despised cooking, and shopping, and in Goshen, she did not do any of that. My Gramma hired someone every summer to cook and clean, although sometimes Gramma did the cooking. But Mom did not. Often I would get meals from all the relatives – one after the other. Mom could chill for the only time all year, mostly visiting with her own cousins, or uncles and aunts, or maybe just reading. She would leave us completely alone. Never was she more relaxed than when she was in Goshen, as close to a reprieve from parenthood as she could get short of being away from us with my Dad on one of their romantic getaways. And when Mom was relaxed, I could relax, too. At Kindred Farm, there were no constraints, no yelling, and no social or school pressures.

I felt that so much yesterday. This tradition was carried forward by other families, something very nice to see, but our kids missed out on it because of the rift between my Mom and her siblings (on Gramma’s behalf) and their cousins. Now, maybe we can visit at least once a year and stay connected. Mark and Sheri are responsible for the reestablishment of relationships because they are the ones who have steadfastly been having Grashow, Asbell and Ginsberg reunions in Brooklyn every few years.

One more quirk in my fam I forgot about. I have already explained that whole thing where Uncle Sam Asbell – brother to my Great Gramma Luba Grashow, nee Asbell, who married Victor Grashow – married Tante Fannie Ginsberg, who was my Grampa Leo’s (Ginsberg) older sister. Sam became both an uncle and brother-in-law to my Gramma Mollie Ginsberg nee Grashow, resulting in every relationship among Asbells, Grashows and Ginsbergs to be double-sided. What I neglected to mention is the incestuous connection – that my other great Gramma, Bubba Rosie, who may herself have been a Ginsberg originally (I will need to corroborate her maiden name), married her first cousin, Julius Ginsberg. Marriages between first cousins were common back then, not to mention perfectly legal. So this just adds intrigue to our already unique family saga.

We are all together now – my brother, Jenna, Harry, Buddha, Mollie, Max, Woody, Shannon, cb, and I. We are all going to be here for the rest of the week. No one is taking off early. Today was our jaunt to Wegman’s, but from now on we will not be driving so much. Unforch, so far. have been eating like a pig, not really counting calories or points, just knowing they are too too much. Did walk five miles yesterday and about to do this again now.
Also almost done with Mollie’s quilt, although there will be a remaining troublesome corner Sara will have to help me figure out I cannot do so myself. Cannot believe it is almost done.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2015 at 4:47 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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