My Summer Home


Melody, the one who knows me best.   Nieces joining in the fun.

My cousin, Melody, is my best friend and sister at heart. Laughter would be one adjective to describe us. It began in a small town, population 750, and the home farm. Stewardson, IL was home base for me for four weeks each summer, and the best days of growing up. Priceless!

When asked which season was my favorite, summer was number one, not because of the weather but rather the comforts of belonging.

Being an only child was lonely at times. I was reserved, and home wasn’t exactly full of peace. My parents were good to me and I am thankful for their support and provisions. But Grandma’s house meant cousins (lots of them!), events, and no fights. Mom was one of ten children who grew up on the farm. Her four brothers own farms around the home-place and Grandma’s house was the meeting spot. I wasn’t an “only” anymore; cousins became siblings. I was embraced into the big family and loved learning about the country. The immense love still floods my soul each time I reflect on those summer days.


Grandma Kessler’s home place

My cousins were my life. The Four Musketeers they called us: Melody, her sister Tamara, Pam and me. We had 4H and attended VBS, went to the fair and the beach, had sleepovers and giggled. We laughed and laughed and laughed until our sides hurt. It just took one of us to get the


Melody’s daughter, Morgan. 

laughter ripple started. Even today at family reunions, we congregate together with daughters and nieces and, inevitably, the sound of joyfulness reverberates to the sky. The elderly aunts and uncles look up, shake their heads, and say, “They’re at it again.”

At Melody’s daughter’s wedding Sunday, laughter rang out at the reception. Daughters and nieces joined in too with the men-folk smiling, shrugging, and joining in. “It’s the Kessler clan again” I heard, smiling from my heart to others. A moment to remember.

A moment to savor.


7 Responses to My Summer Home

  1. Melody Smith says:

    Priceless is an understatement!! Tears of joy flood my eyes when think of the summers we shared together at Grandma’s with cousins! Love you my cousin, my best friend, and my sister at heart!!❣😍

  2. Michelle @litlearningzone says:

    Sweet, sweet memories! I loved hearing about your connections to your cousins and growing up. One of my favorite lines: We laughed and laughed and laughed until our sides hurt. — and your change in font! And congrats on the wedding too! (So much has been cancelled …)

  3. Julie says:

    What beautiful memories, and so precious that you get to keep making them with the people you love.

  4. elsie says:

    Oh my goodness! Mary Helen you exude joy so I can only imagine what it would be like times four. Cousins are the best! What a wonderful memory to savor!

  5. Mandy Robek says:

    I really enjoyed learning about your summers and how important those four weeks were for you and how it’s carried over to now – our family is so spread out we’ve lost those moments of together-ness. Such joy for you all.

  6. What a beautiful bride. Such hope. So many more memories. I have cousins too who were like siblings to me. I can always count on my Cousin Jeanne and that means so much to me. Glad that you have Melody!

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