Last weekend Valerie, the kids and I took my mother on a nostalgia trip. We went to Giessow’s Cottage Farm. Giessow’s is a small village of cabins between Morse Mill and Ware
In the 80s I took my girlfriend Joanie out there to find it. We did and it was as beautiful as I remembered. This time, just like then, we came to a small rock road with a bar across it. If we’d have blinked we would have missed it. Just like when I was with Joanie, my heart sank having gotten so close and just like then it had been left unlocked.
My son Dylan and I worked the bar open and I drove in. Memories began to flood my mind. The road was lined with a barbed wire fence. My mom said, “That ditch by the fence is where a momma pig was always feeding her babies.” I remembered it vividly.
The road wound up to the top of a hill and split off. The high road was called Tuxedo Junction because the rich folks lived up there. It’s where my Uncle, cousins and grandparents had cabins. I used to stay there with my grandmother. There was a huge deck that shot way out from the hill. The view of the
We met a woman up there that told us we should find the current owner for information about changes the place had gone through.
There really weren’t many changes. The cabins were much smaller than I remembered. That was a little unnerving.
We drove down to my old cabin. Man, it was tiny! The screened windows that ran most of the way around had been replaced by solid walls. “Old number 19,” my mom said.
My dog Sinbad used to sit staring at a tree in the front yard. He sat frozen, waiting patiently for a lizard to scurry down. The tree looked exactly the same.
A giant metal barrel we burned our trash in was still on the side of the cabin. There was a path that led down to an outhouse and all was the same. The cabins still don’t have water.
From our cabin you could see a building across a field we called the Fun House. There were dances there in the summer. Some nights we’d take blankets out to the field and lie watching the northern lights.
Across the rock road from the Fun House is an artesian well where the residents still get their water. Behind that is the home where the original owners, the Giessows lived. Behind that is a cable car that runs down the hill into the river valley where we swam. It looked the same too.
We found the new owner at the little general store by the well. His name is Ken. He said he’d been out there for 60 years. I told him several generations of my family used to stay there and my name was Dave Udell. He said he remembered Jerry Udell. I told him Jerry was my dad and Valerie said, “Everyone remembers your dad.”
Ken told us no one ever went down to the river anymore since they put a pool in. I told him I would much rather swim in the river. He told me our old dock was still down there.
I asked him if anyone went to Sunset rock to watch the sunset. He said it had been so long that the path to it was overgrown. We drove up the road to the top of the hill and walked through he weeds to the rock. The view was still incredible.
When I was a kid we shared the cabin with two other families. We were always there together. I really never did understand where the grown ups found places to sleep. My brother and I slept in the only real room in the cabin and that was heated by a pot bellied stove. Rent was $150.00 a year and we all split it.
On our way out I asked Ken what the rent was now. He said a couple of thousand a year. I asked if there were any cabins available. He said there were about 15 families on a waiting list but he took my name and said he’d call if anything opened up.
I’m not really sure if I could go back.
If you follow the shape of the roof you can tell the cabin I’m in front of with Chloe and Dylan is the same one I grew up at in the pic with Sinbad. Sinbad at his tree. Me at Sunset Rock. My dad, grandpa, uncles and Aunt Gladys at their cabin. The last pic is me on the old Morse Mill bridge. It was obscured by overgrowth. There was a pavilion next to it in the old days where kids used to dance. My dad told me about a kid that dove into the river from it when he was a kid and hit a boat. He died instantly. While I was there I met a woman who hadn’t been there in 30 years. She said when she was a kid her brother climbed to the top of the bridge, dove off and hit the bottom of the river. He’s been quadriplegic ever since.