ABOUT THE INFORMANT:
My informant is a mother of three who lives just outside of Boston with her husband of over 30 years. She is originally from Cape Cod, the part of Massachusetts that is full of beaches and is a world known tourist destination. She is a lover of all thing water; she has worked extensively in water policy and water pollution as an environmentalist.
“My grandmother had this lake house on New Hampshire that had been in the family forever. We have these massive family reunions up there; aunties, grandparents, cousins, uncles, everyone. We call it the New Hampshire House. So one year she told this story, about how when she and her husband bought the house. And he said he would buy it if people would come. If they would come to visit and use it.
And she is sitting in this great wraparound porch, surrounded by her family. Everyone is there. And my brother at the time was dating someone who had adopted a little Chinese-American boy. And so he is sitting there on the porch to, playing with the other kids.
So my grandmother looks down the porch. Sees him, and says, ‘And now they’re coming all the way from China.’
She’s since passed away, but someone tells that story every single time we have the reunion. It’s a staple.
“It’s just this house and moment where everyone truly does come. Everybody tries so hard to be there; no matter where they are living. It is so special to our family. We all put that weekend aside, regardless of where we are living, what we are doing, etc. Everyone makes at least 90% of the reunions for that weekend. And the family comes from all the corners of the U.S., and even other countries. And it’s all because they bought that house. People came to it. They still are.”
I feel like she summed up the sentimental reason for keeping this story around pretty nicely. Obviously, there is something funny about seeing an old woman be slightly politically incorrect just because she doesn’t really know any better. That’s the joke. But anyone can do something funny. This stuck because it is true. For this family people drop anything and everything to come from all over to be at that particular house. Her husband willed it, and it became so true.