Friday, March 03, 2006

Memories of 2005

As I look forward to another season, my mind lingers over memories of the awesome people the past year brought to our door: the couple from Vermont, so enthusiastic about hiking, who invited us to join them for Romantic Getaway champagne on the Seagull Cottage deck; my new environmentally-engaged buddies, eager to share information on Lyme Disease, a professional hazard in the Hudson River Valley; the two psychologists from New York City who enjoyed showing off flea market finds and beach treasures; the Manhattan obstetrician and her Russian friend who spent their first few days catching up on sleep; the architect from Virginia, back with his family for a third year. The list goes on and on ….

I will never forget the exuberance of our one and only Swedish-American actress. Thank goodness she convinced me to slip a short booking in between two August reservations! Strangely enough, her boyfriend had lived at 2118 Old King’s Highway as an adolescent and did not realize it until I showed him a photo of the house, wearing pink shutters. He told us his father had once entertained Faye Dunnaway here some forty years ago.

And then, there were the children, always such a delight: my little friend from Harlem, a Chez Sven veteran at 5 with two visits under his Karate belt, charging into the kitchen every morning to see what I was doing. He helped me plant bean seeds one year and then brought some purple beans from his mom’s rooftop garden as a present the next. I still have an image of him in my mind, genuflecting away with break-dance moves learned from neighborhood kids, to snappy music programmed on a miniature synthesizer. I also loved the dear little girl who apparently exclaimed she wanted to return to “Say Sven” every day after the beach. And, last but not least, the sister and brother pictured at the top, children of Norwegian diplomats, who kept smiling despite exhaustion as they experienced a kaleidoscope of Outer Cape sights and sounds. The nine-year-old even pointed out the spelling mistake on our antique sampler: Cap Codd. Smart girl!

I asked Sven about his favorite memory, and he could not come up with one: “They were very nice people, all of them actually.” He did single out the two boys, both the same age, one in Seagull Cottage, one in Liberty Coin Suite, whose heartwarming instant friendship put the FAST back in breakfast.

One Seagull Cottage regular recently reported this sweet little story. She was walking to work with her son in the jog stroller, discussing the weather and how spring was just around the corner. Her son wanted to know what they did in the springtime. They talked about going to Florida and the beach. Mention of the beach reminded him of Cape Cod and "the beach house." The next thing that popped out of his mouth: "I like Sven." (The thrill of riding in Sven's inflatable boat had stayed with him since August!)

At Christmas, I decided to contact every single person who visited Chez Sven over the past year.

This photo of our beautiful gardens went out over the Internet in the hope past guests would return in 2006. Some may, some may not. In any case, I'm sure they all appreciated being remembered in this special way.

I could not close without a nod to our April guests. They chose Wellfleet for a romantic rendezvous: he drove down from Montreal; she flew up from Baltimore. This couple enjoyed Seagull Cottage so much that they came back a month later and he proposed. We just received an invitation to their wedding. Guess that’s just an example of Chez Sven, working its magic!