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June 30, 2012

I was born in a hospital (as opposed to my mother who was born “at home”) in Minneapolis, Minnesota but we lived in St Paul…where my dear older sister was dislodged  from her  bright sunlit room to the dark “Rat Room ” in the back of the house when Mom brought me all smilingly home….to my crispy white sheeted bassinet

We moved to Philadelphia…where my brother Rick  was born.

We then moved to Washington DC where my bro Sumner and sis Liz were born…

I attended the Horace Mann public school for the 2nd grade – as Father felt it VERY important that every child experience “public school”…..which I hated…and then was moved to the private school Beauvoir….where I had to be tutored as the public education I had received put me behind the other guys….and then when 4th Grade started was enrolled in the exclusive (though back then to me it was JUST school) St Albans where I stayed through the 12th grade.

St Albans was an experience that I will never forget…. it was  Wonderful  in  my formative years…with some really great teachers…I am thankful for the Latin I was taught…as it is the basis of most of our language….and for Mr Willis’s (our English Prof)  “Word Wealth” ….which basically was a book that told you what a word meant …which I remember to this day …when I come across the word “extenuate”…after the definition was the sentence explaining how to use it: “Ignorance of the  law does not extenuate a crime “…

I went onto Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota…where my father and the uncle I never knew went (he died there from pneumonia…back before they had penicillin or was it antibiotics)…oddly enough I caught pneumonia and was put in the same “infirmary” there…thinking at the time I was in the room he died in…….

Carleton was a wonderful experience….as I had never been in a coed school before  except for Horace Mann in 2nd grade    ..

Carleton was  where I lost my virginity ……. I fell in and out of love many a time….the first girl was Sarah Weems…who was a Junior when I was a Freshman…she was short, busty, gorgeous and FIERY….she knew what she was doing was kind of wrong…corrupting an innocent…and I totally loved it……she had  Greek oval olive eyes that burned with passion…..and the way she stroked  my socks with her foot….in the libe…just turned me into a flaming idiot…..

I remember back during one winter having sex with Joan Wolf…who was a townie…and one was not supposed to date “townies”…as well they were supposed to be “below us ..socially”  …but Joan was …well just out of this world…short again…and had bigger breasts than Sarah…I think of all the women I bedded she had the biggest…yup she did!!!!  God she was great sex…..but I will never forget THAT winter as we made love outside over the gym’s  vent that exhaled the interior air…….snow on the ground….(it was TOTALLY freezing out)…… the sky was aflame with stars as was my passion….

and then there was the love of my life..well one of em….Cherie…another townie…but just drop dead gorgeous..smaller breasts though……..but she was a devout Catholic….so  no penetration ….but I  do remember as if it was yesterday …borrowing my grands Caddie …………we were in the back seat in the “arb” – a nature preserve  at Carleton –  the windows were all fogged up  from our breath…yes it was winter again…(seemed  that part of the world always had winters)….and on the radio came a song I will never forget…it was Frank Sinatra singing “Somewhere in the Night”…….

I have lived in the Los Angeles area…primarily West Hollywood …before it became a City…since I graduated in 1969…I was supposed to have graduated in 68….but dropped out of college because of my love for my roommate and a girl we both loved….so I went back and finished college in 1969…and since they had run out of rooms….due to my father’s influence ……they gave me the “guest room” of the college…(the best room in the college)……which was on its own landing….with its own bath…its own telephone…..and off it was flat rooftop…and I will never forget Rose climbing up the drain pipe to get into my room…(sigh!!!  that is another story…)

But for me “Home” has always been and will always be our summer home at Burgundy Point….(way outside the small town (200 people) of Cable, Wisconsin)…across the bay from our “aunts” estate (a word that I never knew really existed until Paris Hilton started throwing it around…and man an estate is a word that you do not use if you have one…as it to you is just an ordinary home)….but her home is called “Forest Lodge”…and thus the name of my blog….

My parents were given Burgundy Point by my mother’s best friend …my Aunt Mimi …and the reason she is an aunt…was that her mother (Aunt Mary)…took my father and uncle in to her house in St Paul when their parents were killed as they were wintering in Palm Beach… the chauffeur driven car they were in, hit a Gas Tanker Truck ..due to a storm that had knocked down an electrical line that fell across the road….the gas tanker slammed on his brakes…but the chauffeur failed to stop …and crashed into the back creating a fire ball…that consumed their car….my grands were burned to death…well my grandmother did…my grandfather  lasted long enough for my father to leave Carleton (he was a Sophomore)…to go down and visit him…..though for some reason Dad went to a ping pong tournament that was going on…. play and win it…..as his father was dying…..

(Dad was wonderfully different…such a jock…was the Captain of the Baseball team, the Basketball team, the Boxing team, and President of the Student body at Carleton…and his first act as President of the Student body was to dissolve all the Fraternities……)

Aunt Mary had houses in St Paul, Cable, Palm Beach, and a flat…. she owned   one floor in this doorman – elevator man run building on the East side of  Manhattan..where you could call down to the kitchen if your maids were off and order up lunch or dinner or anything….into your dining room…which is quite big….

..my dear Aunt Mimi who is now 96 still has all of those homes …except she gave the house in St Paul..(which I loved as it had a marble ballroom and probably one of the first elevators in it back in the 50’s)…

she   has another wonderful Japanese inspired one at  Oyster Bay, Long Island….with  a grass bowling green – pool and pool house larger than most house that I have ever owned…..

but she gave the St Paul one  to the Minnesota Historical Society who…. well ran out of money and had to sell it…it is now broken up into condos….all of the interiors were imported from a French Chateau by Aunt Mary’s husband …back at the turn of the century…..when there was no middle class….

….scoozie but I seem to be digressing….

but the reason Burgundy Point and Forest Lodge are “Home” to me…is …well I have known them all 66 years of my life….Aunt Mary use to have Treasure Hunts for Daidie and I …and later my bros and sises…but it was TOTAL MAGIC…as you would follow a string…around the old “Fairy Stump” through her pachysandra..and find tiny treasures she had either made…and yes she was QUITE an artist….to little things she got at Tiffany’s ….and also at Forest Lodge she had a FULL staff…workers in her two vegetable gardens….she had her own Fire Engine lodged in its own house…she had Swiss cows with the softest of ears….that made the most heavenly milk and the cream was so thick you  had to ladle it out onto your cereal…you could not pour it as it was too thick….

she had her own dairy with Milk bottle stoppers that said “Forest Lodge”…the dairy is now a mini museum..that no one visits except us…until  the whole property goes to the State Forest system on her death…………

a doll  house way out in the woods for her daughter Aunt Mimi..that you could walk stooped  into ….with a wind up bird cage..she had Tiffany’s and Meissen  make child sized accoutrements,everything was made miniature…even the pot bellied stove in the kitchen…a bedroom and a dining room…and a deck on the front of the house…and it is still there and the help still open it up every year….have since the 20’s

she had the first and only grass bowling green that I have ever bowled on…and the first clay tennis court I played on …..FABULOUS cooks….so growing up I naturally thought everyone had this and this was the way life always is….as a young kid  only knows what is in front of him….

as I have grown older…my “home” is that earlier beginning ….which I am so thankful for…

I was hit  by a motorcycle many year ago as I was crossing a street at night in Los Angeles…and was in intensive care for 10 days….and then another month in the hospital….and you know what pulled me totally through…

well there is this fabulous boulder that sits like 10 feet off our  old picnic point at Burgundy Point….where my sister Daidie use to do the “Skinny Man Dance” to the wind up victrola my parents would bring down ….to enjoy during dinner

……well this boulder  as a child I loved to sit alone on  and just watch the whole lake…the waves as they rippled in….as my sight luxuriated in the view of the lake and   “Champagne” Island…which Aunt Mary also owned…..her father had bought 1/4 of the lake for his hunting lodge…. it had been a lumber company………….and back then you traveled up from St Paul by train and took a horse and buggy over log laid roads to Forest Lodge…so it was quite a jaunt….

anyway as I went through this ordeal of being hit by a motorcylce (they never stopped …just raced on)…..

all I could envision was sitting on  my boulder at Burgundy Point…looking across the lake listening to the loons call to each other……I had a non verbal chant that I kept saying..

“you are getting better…I am a Tiger….I am getting better than BEFORE ”

(and the resson I would say “Tiger” was my father who was a GREAT tennis player said at one point in my life…the ONLY way you can beat me is if you believe you are a Tiger)

..and  you know the weird thing…I was never in any pain thanks to the drug “demerol”…..my Uncle Sumner ..who always loved law suits…had his attorney sue my auto  insurance company…since I was walking across the street to my car  …(and the fact that I was leaving his restaurant and slightly inebriated never was questioned) under the clause of “uninsured motorist” ….well I collected – or the attorney did $40,000…think I got a few thou…but the whole experience was quite wonderful….

and I overheard a doctor talking to my doctor….when I went back on my crutches  for a follow up saying …Dr (shoot what was his name…he was so wonderful…was from Seattle)…..anyway the one doctor said…”I am shocked as I thought he would lose his leg”…..

and another wonderful thing was that I was born with one leg 1/2 an inch longer than the other…well that was corrected too…so that both legs are now  the same length………

“Home” to me will ALWAYS be that wonderful boulder off the old picnic point  at Burgundy Point … on Lake Namekagon

I sort of wanted to go back  this summer…but Aunt Mimi who is now 96 ..and has Alzheimer’s…. well they aren’t bringing her out this year …(sigh!!)…they have flown her out the last few on a private plane with her nurses…

“Home” is  a physical place……..but no matter how many leaves fall…it will always be the mental state of sitting alone on that boulder at the age of 7 looking across the lake…..listening to my parents wind up Victrola play “Begin The Beguine”

Life could never get better…..as  a woman (Nora Ephron) whom  I have always adored said …….

…………..Don’t WAIT  to eat your “last meal”…….

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