Oakwood Cottages, Briggs Highway, Greenfield Park, NY. My grandfather owned the place and every summer we packed the car and traveled just 10 miles from our large home in Ellenville, to move into a tiny bungalow. For my brothers and me it was exciting. We had a new canvas to paint adventures. We had friends from the Bronx, we went to camp during the week and swam in the colony pool every day. We learned how to play mah jong, we walked up and down our local country road to Newman’s for candy after dinner. We ran to meet the bakery trucks, the pickle man’s black Buick that housed his array of pickled delicacies: pickles of course: sour, half sour, green, pickled herring, lox. I wanted it all and we always got samples. I just had to stand in front of his laden trunk and breathe it all in and I was in pickle heaven.
Every so often we were treated to a truck that carried an amusement park ride, Rocky’s Whip, imagine. We didn’t need Disneyworld!
But somehow, even with everything the colony offered, when the weather began to turn in the second week of August I began to yearn for my bedroom, our street, everything I’d left behind. And I stood with my mom who never enjoyed our summers in the tiny bungalow, thrown to her in-laws. I was with her as we demanded we get home asap, to prepare for school in September.
When my aunt and her daughter were visiting recently, they found their way to Briggs Highway and snapped the photos of Oakwood but my Oakwood Cottages is layered
It’s not Oakwood anymore and hasn’t been for many years. When my grandfather died the colony was sold to the family across the street and I was already finished with Oakwood Cottages
The layers of summers live beyond place and I have lots of stories to remember and share.