In which we visit the farm of an eccentric family and wish to stay– or at least return.
Click on the image to see the larger map. It’s another long dream…
The connection was through Joe– the place belonged to the family of one of his classmates, but Jon, Flip and I were there as well. A perky yet complex blonde girl with several amorphic older brothers, whose eccentric parents seemed to drift in and out of scenes for reasons entirely their own. The mother was tall, socialite, and loved to meet her children’s friends like it was theater (but she was the star). The father a tall, slightly corpulent man who took things rather more seriously than the rest of them and was given little to talk. He was a thinking man, and shrewd. The family buzzed around him and almost didn’t notice him as he moved more deliberately through life. Though it was his shrewdness and seriousness that paid for their leisure, he more or less allowed them run of the place. I think he didn’t have much choice in that. The mother’s personality loomed large.
Not so much a farm at all, really, but more a compound– The main house was large and sprawling, and there were outlying buildings but none of them were barns. The land sprawled as well and there were overgrown thickets and stands of trees on their way to becoming woods; the only well-tended area was a back yard surrounding a vast aquamarine swimming pool. At one point, everyone (even the father) was in or around the pool. The point at which I arrived at the pool found a crowd sitting along the steps at the end near the main house, parents (and perhaps some other adults?) sipping drinks and basking, talking. Jon was younger– we all were; Joe and I being teens, so Jon would have been around ten or so; gangling and running around, jumping all squeals and naked into the pool at will. In contrast, I was feeling a little self conscious in my bikini, so walked around the outside to the far end of the pool and dove in.
There were animals everywhere at this place, and one of their pets was a small fat seal who made full use of the pool (and wasn’t half bad on land either). After swimming around for a bit, I noticed a black cat approach the pool’s edge. This alone was pretty impressive, but then the cat’s rear legs seemed to be slipping into the water at the edge. I hastened to it, thinking it was fainting or having a spell of some kind, but when I got to the edge the cat had lowered itself all the way in and I realized here was a cat that enjoyed a swim! Absolutely unheard of. (It seemed the eccentricity of the family was catching.) I instantly loved this cat, and was petting it as it languored along the edges of the pool. The mother had come out to the deep end by now, and was crooning to the seal when I asked her the cat’s name. By way of answering, she posed the question to the seal in a kind of singsong voice, and to my shock the seal barked out the word “Harry”! The more I looked at it, the seal was a very odd animal; not only on account of its pigmy size, but it had bulbous scar tissue or something along the spotted skin of its fat back, and its face was too human in some way.
There was an auxiliary building, a small wooden house, out behind the pool, off to one side through a stand of small trees and overgrowth of underbrush. There was a skinny well-worn path to get through and in the door. It was decrepit and impossibly old; a smallish wooden house that may once have been staff housing for the help. It was not well-kept, but nor was it moldering or unpleasant in any way, and there were shelves upon shelves of old things; cast-offs or forgotten things that were once favorites. I imagine it had been a sort of play house or fort to the children when they were younger.
At one point, after swimming, I found myself in there looking around at the maze-like, crowded interior, when I was startled by a sound. It continued and I soon recognized it to be the tinny strains of long-ago music, frolicking and twenties with female vocal harmonies. I started a second time when the father came through the door and asked if it had scared me. I asked him what it was, and he smiled as he pointed to a sort of animated cardboard-cutout, showing cartoon faces of three women. It was the most fascinating thing I’d ever seen! It had several scene change-ups, somehow, and played a couple of short tunes as the pictures changed. He said it belonged to his daughter, but it was very old. I asked him if it just randomly played and I think it did. I couldn’t fathom how it worked, but after he left the small house again I looked at it for a long time.