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Letter: Back in time

For those of us who grew up in the shadow of the Northfield Inn and Chateau, The Recorder insert was a free ticket on a time machine that brought us through a flood of memories.

My mother worked in the laundry room at the inn, so, of course, I got to see the inside of it. Every time we walked by the chateau on our way to or from the swimming pond, we would often gaze at it with wonder; it truly was out of place in this small country town. On several occasions, a girlfriend and I would climb up those wide, impressive steps to the veranda, peek in the windows and sit in the rocking chairs there and wonder what it would be like to actually live in such a grand place.

On leaving one day, we met the seamstress for the Inn coming back from lunch and with uncharacteristic boldness, I asked her if she would show us around inside the chateau. She said she was too busy, but that we could look around for ourselves if we promised not to touch anything and be sure to tell her when we were leaving so as not to be accidentally locked in.

We stared into the gold-trimmed mirrors that faced each other on opposite walls, looked into the chapel and marveled at being able to go to church right in your own home. Slack-jawed and pop-eyed, we climbed the grand staircase and moved from room to room. Amazed at the water closets where the water tank was at the ceiling level, “way up there” we wanted to pull the chain, but we remember our promise and didn’t touch it.

We finally arrived at the top floor, where the windows were at the floor level. Sitting on the floor, I stared out the window where I could see a long distance over the trees and thought how beautiful that garden must have been in its heyday. In spite of all its glamor and size, we decided we were more comfortable in our own tiny homes.

So, thanks from all the “old” kids who remember growing up in Northfield. For all its “quaintness,” I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

BARBARA (GRISWOLD) BASSETT

Greenfield

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