Excerpt from Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?
Upstairs in the barn, there was a hayloft door with an opening
where you'd load the hay in and out. I could climb up there
and jump down from the rafters of the ceiling. I did my first
backflip in that barn, because the hay was so soft, it was like
landing on, well, hay. I always kept an eye out for pitchforks left
behind. Land on one of those suckers and I would have learned
how to scream the way I do now...20 years earlier.
Before I could go to the beach with the rest of the guests, I
had to finish doing my chores. After a while, I came up with a
plan. It was called: get up earlier.
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday during the summer
my father played the piano at Soo Nipi Lodge along with my
uncle Ernie on sax. They had a trumpet player named Charlie
Gauss, a stand-up bass player named Stuffy Gregory, and a
drummer who will go unnamed. Soo Nipi Lodge—which today
would probably be called Snoop Dogg Lodge—was one of the
classic old hotels, like the one in The Shining: all wooden and
splendiferous and huge, with dining rooms and decks outside
with rocking chairs and screened-in porches. Chill central by
today's standards. They began building these resorts in the 1870s,
when horses and buggies brought the guests from the train station
to the hotels. The only thing missing was the musicians to
play music and entertain the guests—and this is probably how
the Tallarico brothers came to buy the land there.
During Prohibition, people would take the train up from
New York to Sunapee, and the booze would come down from
Canada. Some folks drank, some didn't. Maybe they came up
for the weekend to see the leaves turn, but I have a funny feeling
they got on the train for a quick weekend away—take horse-and-buggy rides, stay at the big hotels, and cruise in the old
steamboats. The ones in Sunapee Harbor today are replicas of
the original ones from a hundred years ago. Very quaint.
Published on December 16, 2011