Although my Grandma Betty spent many days in the peace and quiet of her wooded cabin, she could also often be found down in the middle of the hustle and bustle of my family’s cottage. If she wasn’t sitting on the back porch of hers, she would most likely be found on “the hill” to the side of the cottage. “The hill” is the families meeting place, the gathering place to be exact… it’s the place where deals were made, tears have been shed, laughter could be heard, and love could ALWAYS be found.
“The hill” was much like my Grandma Bettys back porch, an easy place to sit and just relax while the world flew right on by past you. However, unlike my Grandmas cottage which was surrounded by piece and quite, ours was always surrounded by the sounds of Saugatuck.
First, was the noise that the people who were sitting on the hill were making. Unless you woke up super early and found yourself sitting in silence in the wee morning hours, the hill always had something going on. It’s like the metal yellow chairs attracted people like flies to the glow of a light bulb. Laughing, talking, yelling, whistling and who knows what sometimes filled the air constantly. People from our family as well as family friends and just people from town would always be coming and going. Fourth of July and “the hill” was the best time of year. Everyone hoped to get an invite to “the hill” on that day.
Next came the noise from the street. Because our cottage is on the only street to get to Lake Michigan in Saugatuck, it was always busy. And I mean always… cars, trucks, motorcycles, people walking, people on bikes or roller skates, people with dogs and scooters. Most of these people knew my Grandma Betty too, so people would always yell up to her (or other members of the family or friends) that were sitting on “the hill.”
After the noise from the street, came the noise from the river that feed into Lake Michigan. All kinds of boats filled that river. Fishing boats, cigar boats, jet skis, million dollar yachts, and even cruise liners passed our cottage. The ferry and its blow horn also filled the air with noise.
Lastly was town. Music, cars, and voices could be heard from the other side of the river. Sometimes people would scream across the river to say hi when they could see my family on “the hill.” Town was always the last thing to be heard, sitting on “the hill” at night. It never seemed to fully shut down.
I couldn’t tell you have many days, hours, minutes, and seconds my Grandma Betty (hell all of us really) spent on that section of land. All I know is that it brought us all together, and that’s more than I could ever ask for in the end.