Foreword: Once upon a time ... I resided in a log cabin on a mountaintop neglecting a tranquil valley. Abe Lincoln never ever had it so excellent. That time has passed, but the memories continue. A fortunate few of you readers will keep in mind the cabin I explain listed below. Numerous others had experienced at a household villa in the mountains or at the coast, and have comparable memories of household parties.
This essay is planned to restore and hone those memories, in addition, to explain exactly what it resembled to reside in a real log cabin. Readers who are too young to have these experiences can find in these lines some background to the household folklore they might have heard throughout the years. So, continue reading. I hope you enjoy it and if you have recollections and experiences of your very own, then by all methods publish an e-comment. It will include your contribution to this essay.
It was the time of World War II and I think the war was a consider my moms and dads' choice to purchase the cabin. My instant household included moms and dads Adlai and Elizabeth Magee and 7 kids (2 children were lost). I was the youngest. Our home remained in Chevy Chase, Md. Father owned a radio store in neighboring Bethesda. In the early 1940s, our household had made many weekends seems to Braddock Heights, Md., a neighborhood of boarding homes and an in your area popular theme park. WWII indicated constraints on travel which enhanced business at the little resort. Although Braddock remained in decrease compared with earlier years, patronage sufficed to keep local companies going. The park had numerous trips and slides, a great merry-go-round, a roller-skating rink and a mini train to ride. A neighboring pool finished the amusements offered. A trolley brought day visitors from close-by Frederick, 5 miles east. A little store functioned as a post workplace. Jim Crow lived and beginning those days. I plainly keep in mind an indication at the entryway to the park that consisted of the admonition, "This park is for use by white gentiles and their servants just." I remember remaining at many different boarding homes, among which was the Coblentz Mountain House. The attract us was that the elevation was a true blessing for me (I was vulnerable to bronchitis) and for my Father (likewise bothered by breathing issues). Unfortunately, Braddock Heights slowly weakened over the prospering years. (Braddock Heights was called after Gen. Braddock, a figure in the French and Indian War. He led a force of soldiers west along path 40, an early nationwide highway, marching over Braddock mountain, as it became understood.).
It had to do with 1942 when my moms and dads chose to purchase a villa near Braddock mountain. I was 7. The area they picked was quite remote. If you take a trip north along the crest of Braddock mountain you will be owning on Ridge roadway. A little over a mile up the roadway they purchased a little, two-room, tin-roofed log cabin on 3 acres. The lot had a west view of Middletown valley. The Potomac river space near Harper's Ferry, W.Va. might be seen from a corner of the lot. There was just a scattering of homes along the roadway in those days. The pavement ended a hundred backyards before the cabin, becoming a dirt roadway. Farther along the dirt roadway on the west side were the Clipp farm and after that a little dairy farm, where, in later years, I was sent out from time-to-time to purchase fresh milk. I expect my moms and dads (especially my Father) saw the capacity that the cabin and its area had. To a seven-year-old, it was the start of an excellent experience. Daddy rather grandly called the place "Catoctin Oaks," for the 4 stunning oak trees on the lot, and the Catoctin mountain chain that included Braddock. This remained in heaven Ridge mountains. I cannot shed any light on who developed the cabin when. I think my moms and dads purchased it from the Malones, who lived simply south on Ridge roadway and who owned numerous acres in the area.
The cabin itself was as bare and rustic as you can think of. No electrical energy, no indoor pipes (not even an outhouse), just an outdoors well with a hand pump for (non-drinking) water. The heat was offered from a good-looking stone fireplace. The interior had a big, open area with a sleeping loft above the north side. And an adequate supply of snake skins. There was a connected shed on the valley side, used for cooking. The description of the within the cabin might sound familiar to those of you who have enjoyed the TELEVISION program, "Little House on the Prairie." If you remember the interior of the TELEVISION home, the design was quite the like the cabin: a big space on one side, the main fireplace, and sleeping locations behind the fireplace (moms and dads listed below, ladies above on a loft). (My partner Thelma recommended I title this essay, "Little House on the Mountain." I took a hand down that idea.).
The absence of centers implied 2 things: First, the cabin might just be used for an outing. (The woods supplied an outdoor outhouse.) Second, Dad quickly started exactly what ended up being a nearly unlimited series of adjustments and enhancements to the cabin. But the highlight of the place was the building. Yes, it was a genuine, honest-to-goodness log cabin, its walls made from pine logs with mortar-filled fractures. The connected image reveals the cabin about 1950; this is a picture of an oil painting by my sis Elizabeth. Today the painting hangs above the fireplace in my home in Gettysburg. As quickly as practicable, a well was drilled, an electrical line was run in, and the "valley space," cooking area, basement, and restroom were included. All this required time, obviously. On the other hand, we would "rough it" on sees.
Here's an intriguing anecdote: Building the Valley Room needed an excellent little bit of excavation. It so occurred that Camp Detrick in Frederick housed German prisoners-of-war; the detainees were hired to residents. (I think the detainees have recorded U-boat teams.) So, for a time, we had a team of young, blonde employees plus an armed guard. I observed that the detainees took unique notification of my teen-aged siblings whenever the women would appear. (Of course, there were no events.) This memory of the detainees informs me that the cabin's significant adjustments were finished by the end of WWII.
Ultimately, the cabin ended up being appropriate for prolonged sees
When the seasons allowed, we (my moms and dads and I) would make the one- hour drive to invest a weekend at the cabin. In the summertime, remains would encompass weeks, with Dad showing up for the weekend. Our household weren't the only ones to use the cabin. Auntie Corona and Uncle Frank typically obtained it for celebrations with their pals, primarily from St. Ann's parish in NW Washington. In truth, I'm sure mountain living provided Aunt Corona and Aunt Mary the idea to purchase a lot next door and construct a retirement community on Ridge roadway (now Tom and Jane Magee's home).
From the late '40s on, my moms and dads hosted household parties frequently. The cabin quickly ended up being the focus for an extended household. Barely a Sunday passed without household or visitors visiting and being served mixed drinks and supper by my generous moms and dads. Marilyn and Jack Barrett with their household were routine visitors Uncle Paul Magee would holler down the driveway in his Plymouth and soon he and his bro would be trading good-natured barbs. His children, Paul, Jr., Jim and Bernard came over households in tow. The Renehan cousins checked out from Baltimore every summer season; these were 2 women who constantly welcomed me with huge hugs and kisses, much to my shame. I described them as the Kissing Cousins. "Otherwise" Burdett, the cabin's structure professional, would periodically appear with his household. (He made his label from his regular use of "otherwise".) The Daly household and the Klaks from Bethesda were periodic visitors, as were other good friends and loved ones, lots of from Montgomery county.
A lot of these checkouts were unannounced but Mother constantly appeared to be able to extend the food readily available and make everybody delighted. The very best times were those summertime days when we would have an outside banquet-- grilled extra ribs (I was the designated cook at the BBQ pit), a bushel of steamed crabs, or fried chicken suppers were the favorites. After a softball game on the "front lawn" we would have a round of mixed drinks while resting on the stone outdoor patio, then line up at the buffet table for potato salad, sliced up tomatoes, baked beans, buttered hot dog rolls, and so on. Every household go to was made a unique event by my moms and dads, but there was 2 times each year that everybody anticipated. Suzanne and Frank Maddox and their kids returned from their home for a go to that constantly ended up being a household party. And every August, Uncle Will and Aunt Celeste Hennessy and their 4 children would check out from Wilmington, Del., for a couple of days bringing an automobile filled with deals with and delicacies. Cool or rainy weather condition indicated the banquet was moved inside your home. There were numerous days that we enjoyed the sun setting over South mountain while being in the valley space.
All these checkouts continued for several years. Father offered the TV/radio store in Bethesda c1951 and we relocated to the cabin to live year-round not long after. The grandchildren of my moms and dads need to all have their own memories of check outs to the cabin. Their number grew throughout the years too, by my count, twenty-two in all. Despite a great deal, Granny and Paw-Paw had the ability to make every one of them feel unique. One specific reward for going to grandchildren was for Granny to send them up the hill to choose ripe blueberries which she would make into blueberry pancakes. That's an example of exactly what my Mother resembled.
Daddy was a unique guy. 2 of his greatest attributes were his stability and his funny bone. I'll offer an example of each quality. I used to accompany with Dad on his local business journeys. One time, throughout WWII, Dad made a shipment of many containers of radio tubes under a federal government agreement he had bid on. I found out that he won the quote because his cost was at-cost. I asked him why he didn't consist of some money for revenue and he stated just, that this was his contribution to the war effort. One creative trick that he pulled on a checking out good friend included some target practice behind the cabin. I viewed him as he packed a. 22 nine-shot revolvers with 2 different cartridges-- one, a typical.22 slug, and the other a "rat shot," a mini shotgun shell, filled with small pellets. He filled the weapon with the cartridges in alternate chambers and we headed out to sign up with the waiting sucker - I simply "visitor" - to fire off a couple of rounds. To finish the charade, Dad repaired a little piece of metal hanging on a string as our target. Let me explain that at 10 rates it would be truly tough to strike a 2-inch broad target with a revolver. But with rat shot, it would be practically difficult to miss out on. So, they took turns firing, the visitor simply missing out on every shot, and Dad triggering the hanging target to swing whenever. I'm sure that good friend of Dad's disappeared with the impression that Dad was the very best shot this side of Buffalo Bill. There is something I have not forgiven my Father for. When he was residing in St. Louis several years before, an old chef provided Dad a dish for BBQ sauce but he made his guarantee not to provide it to anybody else. Well, Dad took that dish to the tomb instead of breaking his word. That's regrettable because I sure might use it to enhance my BBQs.
I have my own memories of cabin life. I especially delighted in checking out the woods listed below the cabin. A telescope provided me a way of checking out the sky, as well as to inform time by the clock in the white-spired Lutheran church in Middletown, 3 miles remote. I slept by a window dealing with the west. On a clear night, I might really see stars set over South mountain. I understood that was a unique experience even then. And, yes, the noise of raindrops falling on a tin roofing system does lull you to sleep.
The enhancements my moms and dads made ultimately covered the logs, within and out. When Dad and Mother passed away in 1977, we offered the cabin to a brand-new owner who redesigned it into a two-story home, not identifiable as a cabin. But the cabin, despite all its memories and beauty, was just a structure of pine logs. If life at the cabin was unique it wasn't due to a rustic home on a Maryland mountaintop, but to exactly what was within, at the heart of the cabin, Adlai and Elizabeth Magee.