Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We had a frog named Willoughby. Nobody really “had” Willoughby. He chose to visit when he wasn’t doing anything else. We (Reenie, Debbie and I) chose to believe that he was ours. He lived, we thought, under the boat dock at the summer camp we shared on Silver Lake in Clinton Corners, NY.

He was a tremendous Bull Frog with a deep “Gaaaarumph” that could be heard all the way up to the cabin and across the lake where we swam. It never occurred to us that there may be other, friendly yet unknown, bullfrogs making the same sound in different areas of the lake. The frog spawn that we saw around the lake was made by lady frogs; and, I think, we thought Willoughby was married to all of them.

He was ours! He was big and greenie black with lots of bumpy warts and a throat that would expand like the largest bubblegum bubble you ever blew. That part of his throat was yellow when it blew up. We wondered if one day it would pop.

Willoughby was ever present. We would see him whenever we took out the boat. We would see him when we brought the boat back. We would see him if we went to the dock to skip stones and he would always make that loud “Gaaaarumph” which we loved to hear.

At night he would sing us to sleep as we imagined all sorts of pictures on the ceiling of the cabin which was severely water stained. In the morning he was singing when we woke up. Willoughby was ever present and he was our special frog.

Every summer we would go to the cabin. We would run down the road to the boat dock to see if Willoughby was still there. There he was.

Years passed and every year our friend would great us. How reassuring to have him there always waiting for us. It was like knowing which Tree Ornaments went where on the Christmas Tree every year. We always knew where to find Willoughby.

Eventually we stopped using the cabin regularly; but on the rare occasion we went there, we would individually or collectively stroll down the road to the boat dock to see if Willoughby was still there. Years had gone by and we were always surprised when we saw him, reassured that all is right with the world-with our lives-with our families; because Willoughby was there and he certainly was a part of our childhood when the world was safe.

Our parents passed on about 15 years ago. Eventually I took a ride out to the old cabin, now owned by someone else. The boat dock was still there, no boat; I walked down to the dock just to see by chance if Willoughby was still there. I could hear him. I couldn’t see him but I knew he was very close. I waited. “Gaaaarumph Gaaaarumph ” He was there, though I never saw him that day; I knew that he was there especially for me as a sort of message. “I’ll always be here, he seemed to say.” “Your days as a child are still here and so are your Mom and Dad” Smart Soul that Willoughby!!!!!
“Gaaaarumph Gaaaarumph ”

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Not long ago my sweet cousin Betty came up here to Savannah for a visit.

I've been living here since December with my baby daughter Krissy. Doesn't matter if you turn 26 this year - cause you are still the baby.

What a gab fest we had. We ran it in free form style. That way we couldn't forget anything too important.

So now you need to know some background information. Betty's father died when she was about 3. My mother had lost her own mother at child birth and our grandmother, GiGi raised my mother. The connection is Betty's father, Edward, was GiGi' son. Betty and I are only 1 year apart.

My mom had this fetish of not spending money on nice household goods. No fine sheets, towels, linens, blankets were to be found. No sir we were just going to find the most common varieties for everyday use.

If we had special company they got the good stuff the little that there was.

I told Betty I had been on a crusade over the last several years to replace all my household goods. After all I'm worth it.

Why should only the occasional visitor get all the pretty treats. So we giggled like school girls with a new quest.

I have made a huge change in the way I buy and I feel so special each time I pamper myself.

Cousin Betty called me a couple weeks after returning home to Florida. She had taken our talk to heart and decided she was worth it too. She hit Marshall's, Targets, T.J. Maxx among others and has made a House and Garden TV makeover to her sweet little condo. And why not. We are each more than deserving of looking around our modest homes and seeing small vignettes that tell a little story about us and who we are.

I hope the movement spreads among our family and close friends.

Those special decorator gifts we are given were meant to be used. Those candles and lotions were meant to be pleasure now and not to be tucked away. Shout it from the roof tops - I"M WORTH IT!! By Noreen Reilly