Notes from Mom in the Innisfree Log

Innisfree, 1950s

One of the treasures of the Colorado cabin is a log that was started by our parents to record the activities of each visit to Innisfree.

Mom wrote the first entry in August, 1957.

Charlie had told us all about Innisfree, but we had to see it to really take it all in. Charlie, Sandy, and I arrived in the Volkswagen, having left the folks in Colorado Springs with fuel pump trouble. They arrived about dark after having some trouble finding the place. We will be forever indebted to the Blanton’s for hamburgers that evening, for we had no supplies.

Our first tour of the Maine building left us wondering where to start. The first night, it was no small job finding places to sleep. There were lots of beds and plenty of cover, but the place had not been occupied by anything larger than a rat for two or three years.

The next morning, we tore into it. I forgot to miss Beth, who was just a few months old and was staying with Aunt Eileen. Mother began to go through the kitchen. She pulled out more jars and coffee cans than could be imagined.

The cabin contained numerous personal items, and we began to realize how dear this place had been to the Smiths, and to other friends who shared memories of times spent here in the mountains. At times, we felt as though we were intruding and trespassing.

Charlie hauled truckloads of bedsteads and other useless utensils to the Exchange – from whence they came, probably, originally.

Charlie and I stayed here a few days [after the folks left] and then returned to Mooreland, then picked up Beth at Norman. 

Marty Richardson, August, 1957
Mom’s 1957 Log Entry

Over the years, Mom, Dad, Grandparents, friends, each of us kids, wrote about our visits in this sacred place.

In these days when everything is so deeply digital, I’m struck by the unique handwriting of each of these individuals. And I find it so comforting to hear that person’s voice as I read the words. While I have been here at the cabin this summer, I digitized the logs from 1957-1983.

The summer of 1983 was the last visit here that Mom made before her death in November from an inoperable brain tumor. I looked specifically for the record of activities from that summer. Mom, Dad, and I were here in July. I recognize the words I wrote in the log that summer. They became a part of my first published article (in Alive Now magazine, 1986).

Images of ritual tying us together with each other and with our past and the past of Innisfree — Trail Ridge Drive, mornings in the kitchen with “Hot Blast,” reading “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” throwing a rock in the river, feeding the hummingbirds, reading the log, being together and telling and retelling stories.

Beth A. Richardson, July, 1983

And Mom’s last entry in the log …. I wonder if she knew on some level that it would be her last trip to the cabin, her handwriting was so spidery …

I’m still recovering from my second craniotomy (Dec. 10); still suffer absence of strength and equilibrium, but everybody helps. Next year I’ll make up for it. Eleven days is about enough just now. Beth will bus to Nashville on Saturday. The Thomas family is at Martha Ellen’s and a couple from [?], Bill and Maggie at Goodwin’s Riverview. To bed. Charles Crutchfield and in-laws at Echota.

Marty Richardson, July, 1983
Mom’s 1983 Log Entry

This year is the 65th since my folks bought this place — five cabins purchased by five Methodist clergy families. I’m deeply grateful for the gift of this place and for 65 years of relationship with the Goodwins, the Smiths, the Blantons, and the Crutchfields. 65 years of relationship to this land which had a very, very long history before anyone thought to “own” it. 65 years of history in one place is long and rich. I continue to savor each moment in this place where my roots have grown deep.

I leave on Monday to go back to Tennessee and I’ll be back next summer. Until the next time, dear Innisfree. Thank you.

10 thoughts on “Notes from Mom in the Innisfree Log”

  1. Thank you for sharing your rich history that takes me back to my own. I bless your memories and I thank God for my own.

  2. How touching! Thank you for your words, and for keeping in touch with us. You have been, and always will be, one of my favorite writers. God has had great happiness with you, Beth.

  3. Oh how we treasure our memories of Innisfree! Thank you for sharing your mom’s words. She was a beloved friend, as are you.

  4. I remember Uncle Tom taking off the wood siding and replacing it with lite green asbestosis shingles. Is it still green? When was the photo taken that you posted?

    1. Fortunately the shingles were not asbestos! They were the old navy lockers on the north campus. They were Masonite. And he flipped them around and put the smooth side down. We repainted the cabin a beige color about 20-25 years ago. The picture I posted would have been late 50s?

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