The other day, I was mixing a vodka and tonic, enjoying the civilized tinkle of ice in the glass and the refreshing scent of lime. For some reason, the sharp lime fragrance reminded me of the cocktails my parents used to have with friends of theirs, the Kixmillers. We often stopped off and stayed overnight with them, breaking up the epic annual summer trip from New York State to Maine.
The Kixmillers lived on and owned an island in Lake Champlain. Even as a child, this impressed me. Dr. K would pick us up in town and take us to the island in his motorboat. Apparently boat is still the only way to reach the lovely island with the unlovely name of Fish Bladder Island.
I curiously Googled the island and discovered that it is for sale for nearly $2 million dollars. I was surprised to see that the house I remembered, with its lovely wood paneling, gracious porches, and, most impressive to me, the wraparound upstairs gallery where the many bedrooms were located, is long gone. In its place is a new house:
which bears an uncanny (although luxe version) resemblance to my current home:
In the old days, the grown-ups would sit on the porch overlooking the lake and sip their gin and tonics in the evening while we played on the lawn and in the lake (where we acquired leeches, removed by salt after much squealing). Dr. K raised the flag – I can see no sign of the flagpole in the listing – every morning, and in the evening, he lowered it to the sound of “Taps”, finishing off the ceremony with firing a very small cannon. You can see why this place impressed itself so strongly in my memories.
Sometimes I think I’d like to go back and see the house where I grew up, and my grandparents’, and revisit our old stomping grounds in Maine. I haven’t been to Bar Harbor in 20 years, and found it refreshingly unchanged at that time, but perhaps it’s better to remember things the way they were.