Monday, November 10, 2008

My Castle

The stone walls tower over their heads as the girls skip up the bumpy stone walkway. They smile as they come around the bend in the walk and are greeted by the heavy wooden draw bridge. The bridge is always is. They stop a moment to stare into the water beneath the bridge. They laugh and run the rest of the way. Their castle awaits. The walkway opens to a lush green lawn. They quickly run over to the big stone well and peer over the edge into the water far below. They are mesmerized by their own reflections.

They scamper into the grass, kicking off their shoes and do a couple of cartwheels before plunking down on their backs to stare up at the bright blue sky. What should they be today?

Should they be princesses enjoying tea on the castle lawn? Should they be soldiers standing guard in the lookout tower? Maybe they should be the king's horses prancing around the beautiful meadow?

So many choices....but today they will be the king's horses. They run around the lawn, their "manes" blowing in the wind. They shake their heads in grand horse style. They paw the grass and whinny. When they have had enough....they hide in the tower, sitting low with their backs against the stone wall so no passersby will see them. The stones are cold against their backs.

They run into the grass again for a couple more cartwheels and then run down the bumpy stone walkway...over the drawbridge...out the gate...leaving their land of make believe behind.

A childhood dream? No, just a day from my childhood!

I grew up in the tiny town of Fox River Grove, Illinois...and we had our very own castle! The castle was built by Ted Bettendorf, a Chicago machinist. It took him 20 years to complete it because he build it by hand...stone by stone. I had always heard he had built it for his wife, but research tells me that was not true.

I never got to see the inside of the castle, but I know it was a very small with one bedroom. When I was a child, the grounds of the castle were always open. People threw coins in the pond under the drawbridge and into the wishing well. It was by far my favorite place to play. The grass was the softest, greenest most beautiful grass you would ever want to wiggle your toes in...and we did!

At night the castle had colored lights shining on it and could be seen from the highway below. People would come from all over just to see the castle. It truly was an amazing site.

Our castle is still there but it's privately owned now and hasn't been open to the public for a very long time. Each time we drive by I look up at the castle and sometimes I'm sure I see those little girls peeking over the side of the tower wall.


linnea said...

Thanks for sharing those beautiful images... I can picture clearly the magic and the carefree spirit you're describing!

TheClackHouse said...

Tag! Your it! Read about it my latest post!


Kala Pohl Studio said...

Love reading your posts Kathy. Memories are captured so wonderfully by your words:):)

staggerlee83 said...

I really enjoyed hearing about the same castle that I would drive past on almost a daily basis and hear stories about. I still remember passing by on the way to soccer games and hearing about the fun that went on inside the castle walls. For me, Kathy's home was my castle. I love you Mom!!

Kathy said...

Thank you Matt. You are a special young man, and I love you so much! Can't wait to see you next month.

Blog Archive