Growing up in NYC, summers could be hard, hot, and brutally lonely. My mother worked and had to leave me with a babysitter because she couldn’t take time off during my school vacation. And because she had to work to support us, we never took vacation trips, summer or otherwise. True fact: I was 40 the first time I went to Disneyland.
When my grandmother retired from her job, my mother asked if she could watch me for the summer when I got too old for a babysitter, but not old enough to be left on my own 12-14 hours everyday while she traveled into the city for her job. Reluctantly, my grandmother agreed. While this wasn’t the best situation for me (my grandmother was a bit of a tyrant and didn’t really like having a kid around) it did have one saving grace: every summer she would go upstate to the Catskills for 3 weeks to visit her friend, Molly, who owned a tiny vacation resort called Griffin’s.
Since she was in charge of me, I would go, too.
Three room wooden bungalows parameterized the four-acre, wooded property, complete with a clubhouse and bar where we could have our meals and my grandmother could spend the evenings drinking whiskey and socializing with her friends. To say I spent a great deal of my impressionable years in a bar wouldn’t be a lie.
There were no televisions in the bungalows, but I didn’t care. The air was fresh and crisp, so unlike the polluted, smoggy city air of NYC in the 1970s. The property boasted a creek to swim in with clean, clean water complete with a tiny waterfall and a footbridge leading into a forest for hikes and adventures.
I swam every single day while my grandmother visited with her friends. I took hikes in the forest by myself, even walked to town and back, a distance of 2 miles on a country road, alone. I don’t think I wore shoes for more than an hour a day back then because I absolutely loved being in what I thought of as “the country.” The fresh grass under my toes felt like heaven’s carpet. I learned to climb trees – never did get good at it, but I learned! I learned how do the jitterbug by watching – and then doing – the patrons of the bar dance every night to the jukebox music.
I discovered my grandmother was a good dancer and a much nicer person when she had a few shots under her belt. She was a good storyteller, as well, but needed the liquid courage the whiskey gave her in order to be able to spin her yarns.
I learned a great deal about personal independence and how to fend for myself during those summers away. As long as I was in bed by curfew every night, my grandmother didn’t really care if I ran ragged or swam all day long. It was the best benign neglect I could ask for.
I never told my mother about my days unsupervised because she would have railed at my grandmother and forbidden me from going the next summer if she knew just how much I was left to my own defenses.
I spent summers at Griffin’s from the age of 10 until 14 when I was finally deemed old enough to be left on my own. The fact I had a summer job was the real reason my mother finally agreed to let me stay home for the summer. She figured I’d be busy every day and not able to get into trouble. If she’d only known how facilely I could avoid it, having skills honed during those summers away.
I’m 60 years old and still have never told her just how idyllically alone I was during those summers with my gran.
But those four years taught me how to take care of, and depend, on myself. Lessons I would never have learned if I’d been saddled with a teenaged babysitter and sitting in our hot apartment during the height of the summer months.
July 1, 2020
Modern Fairy tale twist, contemporary romance, billionairess, seasoned
Waking up each day is a gift….
On her 21st birthday, someone slipped a potent drug combination into socialite Aurora Brightwell’s champagne putting her in a coma for the next ten years. It’s been a long road back, and it’s time to reclaim the life she lost and find out exactly what happened on that fateful night.
Financier Kincade Enright has his own reason for helping Aurora discover who poisoned her, but for the time being he’s keeping that - and his true identity - to himself. What he can’t keep hidden though, are his growing feelings for the one-time paparazzi darling and party-girl.
When this prince of finance joins forces with the former sleeping beauty, nothing can stop them from finding the answers they seek…or prevent the powerful emotions developing between them as they search for the truth.
More Info About Peggy
Peggy Jaeger writes contemporary romances about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.