I used to believe eating Dream Cookies automatically gave you good dreams. But, we will get back to that.
Well, another summer has been and gone. Like a thin, wispy cloud on a blue sky day, I closed my eyes, for a second, and it had floated away.
Summer was mostly beautiful and a little bit crappy, like life tends to be. The highlight for me was going back to roots and my family’s cabin at Victoria Beach, Manitoba.
VB (as we natives call it), is the soundtrack to a lot of my childhood, and someday my ashes will be scattered there. It is the place I feel the safest. Oh, shit I don’t think I should have mentioned that I feel like you need to get a permit to spread ashes, and the chances of the kids remembering to do that aren’t so big, so if I’m gone and you happen to see my kids “fishing,” you know nothing.
In 1944, my great-grandfather Cornelius DeFehr, bought a cottage on Lake Winnipeg, at VB. An immigrant from Russia, he felt that a family summer cottage would help keep the family together.
VB is unique, and authentically quaint, not “faux quaint,” like many places. It has hardly changed in almost 100 years.
Once you arrive at the big arch marking the beginning of the private beach area, you park your car. From there on it’s your feet, or your bikes to go everywhere.
There is a bakery. A small shop with display cases filled with smiley face cookies, pies, feather-light bread, pecan loaf swirled with brown sugar and spices, and other treats. Then there are rows and rows of previously mentioned, Dream Cookies. Shortbread type cookies sandwiched together around raspberry filling then dipped in icing. Perfection.
The place smells like heaven, I’m sure of it!
There is a library, just slightly larger than my grandparents 2 seater outhouse. Oh, I’m sorry there I go bragging about my privileged childhood, but yes the family could go to the bathroom together in two’s. If you have exhausted your Oma’s Harlequin Romance collection, there will be some diversion for you there, but not much.
There is a general store, and the Moonlight Inn. Blue Licorice was our favorite flavor of ice-cream at the Moonlight Inn, and all us kids had blue tongues, most of the summer.
There is also a small general store for essentials like, Lik-A-Maid, limes for Gin and Tonics, frozen minnows for fishing, and such.
Over the years more and more cottages were bought, and built, and my family clumped on one side of the beach. This is what VB looks like now, and where my family has spread to.
THE OTHERS (NON-RELATIVES) live here, most of the beach. We aren’t sure what they do, but they aren’t related, so that’s suspicious.
Original cottage bought by great-Opa(grandpa)
My grandparent’s cottage, Oma(grandma), and Opa, Cornelius Cornelius (don’t ask) Defehr
Relatives (cousins) and siblings
The Janzen’s, lifetime friends and probably related somehow, potentially on both sides of the family.
The site of the revenge of the little girl cousins. We locked the big girl cousins in the two-seater outhouse. We then danced in circles for a while, giddy with victory, until we realized we couldn’t play a lot of games without them and the insurrection was over.
The area where Kyle lost his bathing suit while tubing, he improvised and used his lifejacket as a diaper. I believe there is still a reward for the shorts.
Close Beach, as in closer to my grandparent’s cottage. Anybody who tells you that is not the real name isn’t an authentic VBer
Far Beach, farther than close beach. Duh… There is a crazy rumor close beach and far beach have different “official” names. I think it’s part of a conspiracy by “the others.”
Ajax lane was named after a white horse that used to live on that street. Ajax died from a Vitamin C overdose the summer Kyle was 2. He convinced every family member to take him to feed Ajax carrots, relentlessly.
The Marsh and the site of my brother’s lifelong war with the Carp (fish). He claims they jumped in the boat to get him.
If this seems a little commune-like, and cultish, it’s because, well… it’s just families were closer then, and property just became available at one time, and… umm, OH NEVER MIND, it seems like a commune because it is! I have two cousins who are the children of my father’s brother, and my mother’s first cousin! The two cousins were the product of two brothers from one family, the Defehr’s (known for their enthusiasm and love of Genie’s cake) marrying two sisters from another family, the Neufeld’s (known for “being nervous,” and having bad back’s). I PROMISE NO CREEPY INCESTOUS RELATIONSHIPS WERE INVOLVED, in creating double-cousins.
When I was growing up, this little pocket of cottage country in Canada, was my cocoon. My grandparents, Aunt’s, Uncle’s and buckets of cousins, related in numerous ways, roamed, swam, fished, and played the summer days away. Nobody worried about us kids, there were no cars there, we were always in cousin clumps, and there was no crime.
Ooops, that is not true! To my family’s great shame, my older sister was ordered by the VB police, to pick up dead fish from the beach, as a punishment for violating the beach’s open container law. The stigma weighs heavily on my mother.
Other than that, people borrowing each other’s bikes without asking and being attacked by throngs of mosquitoes was as dangerous as it got.
We used to while away the summers, as if the days would never end, we would never grow up, and all our grandparents and parents would live forever. It was indeed our age of innocence, a place to eat dream cookies and think of plans… far off in the future.
As I am sure you can imagine my Dibbuns (small woodland creatures who read my blog), knowing my intense type A personality, I had big and impressive dreams in my childhood. They went as follows,
Lee-Lee’s Childhood Dreams.
- Grow up and live in a car. I thought that would be “cozy,” I was hoping to inherit my Mom’s 1965 Green Nova. I thought the back seat would be plenty big for me, and some cats and dogs. Now I understand that it’s called being “homeless,” not “cozy,” to live in a car.
- Win the costume contest at the beach by dressing as a Mermaid, a costume triumph of iridescent scales, made from real shells! There actually is no winners, we all just enjoy “participating” It’s Canada!
- Becoming the next spokesperson for Wella Shampoo after Farrah Fawcett was sacked for that tawdry red bathing suit poster.
- Get married at the tiny church in Victoria Beach, then sail off with my groom, Sean Cassidy, to Hawaii for our honeymoon by boat. I am not great at geography, and I’m not sure that’s even possible. How I wish my Uncle Harry were alive to ask…
Here is what I did NOT dream of doing
1.Live in Georgia.
The Dukes of Hazzard and Designing Women were my reference points for GA. My sister, Carla and I loooooovvveed Designing women, but we thought those big-haired ladies were exaggerating the southern stereotype. Wrong. As a matter of fact, after 20 years in the south, I consider Designing Women & The Dukes of Hazard to be documentaries.
My husband, Dennis, born and raised in the GA, had girls in his class named, Holly Wood, Candy Cane, Grier Faye, Sweetie-Pie, Clarabel, Willadeene, Imogene… I could go on, and on. Let me tell you there is still a whole generation of gals down here who are going to give up their x-large canisters of Aqua-net hair spray when you pry it from their cold, dead hands
2. Get Divorced.
Nobody dreams his or her marriage will explode like, the previously mentioned, Aqua net hairspray can near a flamethrower
3.Perform the tasks of a trained Nurse without the paycheck, title or qualifications. NOBODY SEEMS TO HAVE NOTICED I’M NOT QUALIFIED FOR WHAT I’M DOING! (see blog post from Nov. 2017, “Well I guess I won’t have any secrets left after you read this!”
4. Having the letters MS shadow and stalk me much of my adult life.
This year I was able to go to the cottage for ten blissful days.
One day, at the end a picture-perfect day at the cottage, I stared at my evening dream cookie, (not my breakfast, lunch, cocktail hour, or late-night snack, dream cookie.) It’s often hard to tell if its dream cookie crumbs or sand in your sheets at the beach. I was eating and thinking, my life today does not look anything like I dreamed.
But, you know what… I’m happy. Not just that I’m not living in a car. Real life has stretched me much further than I would have thought. I have embraced the twisty, turny, sometimes going in circles until I barf and finally stop, pattern of my life. I have improvised, forgiven, and re-thought my way to new and better dreams!
So, my little Dibbuns, here are my current dreams.
- Accidentally discover a cure for MS while making salad dressing.
- Be the best Oma in a long line of awesome Omas. Let me tell you my Omas, and my Mom set the bar incredibly high.
- Not dwell on the things Dennis and I can’t do and focus on the things we can. We cannot go ice-skating in matching glittery outfits, but we can watch Dancing With the Stars with our handmade glittery paddles and score the dancers!
- Not languish in melancholy, that my kids are grown up and making their own lives. It’s a privilege we are all here for it.
Some of my dreams may come true, but I have discovered, often the things you never even dreamed of, are the best parts of your life.
This was going to be the end of this post, but then I got handed a true dream ending.
There is a dream that I have held in my heart for over 28 years, that has turned out just how I imagined. I hoped that, someday, Kyle would find a partner to love and share his life. A few years ago, Kyle found his dream girl, and on September 23rd, he proposed in Prague.
I found this journal entry from January 15, 2016. No comments on my handwriting. I journal in the hot tub, a glass of wine may be involved, and I write as badly as possible so if some nosy Nancy attempts to read it good luck!
Ha! I couldn’t have dreamt up anything sweeter than CC, for my baby boy!
Love Mummy, aka, Auntie Lee Lee (mother of the groom.) Ick! That sounds desperately frumpy and dowdy. It has me imagining lavender lace with a little bolero jacket to hide “mom arms.” Deb (CC’s mom), and I will have to blow that stereotype out of the water. Hmmm, I wonder if she would be up for color-coordinated jumpsuits with sequins?
XOXO Auntie Lee-Lee