It's different here for me in Cape May this year. I'm vacationing by myself in the old house on Stockton Avenue, at least for the first five days. Four of my sisters arrive after that, and about twelve more, the day after that.
I feel that I am vacationing with ghosts. I've been coming here for a week at this time of the year since 1986, and have only missed about two or three years. But so many of the women who vacationed with me have died; if they lived, they would be in their hundreds. Around the quiet living room, and on the quiet front porch, I see Margaret D, Denise, Dolores S, Marcella S, Jackie K, Beatrice W, and Maureen B. That's only a few. And of the living, so many can't do the steps anymore. Our declining and aging population really shows itself this year.
My parents visiting us down here in 1992.
Of course, the young and able women are here, but most are still in school, and many live so far away, now that our province stretches from Texas to Massachusetts, that they vacation elsewhere.
But I am still here, and in many ways I am relishing the solitude. I'm out birding a good part of the day, as I was when there was a housefull. But I am an Only Child, and I rarely mind being alone.
I have lived with women who have never been alone in their entire lives. Some of them come from families of ten, and joined the community right after high school, and have lived in community houses with as many as twenty sisters, and they are actually afraid to stay in a house alone.
So I'm reading and writing and birding and listening to books on tape and watching DVD's...
and walking around this beautiful town.
Perry Street by Jennifer Ward