back stairs

st. peter's: a very special house

I've been thinking about this house a lot over the past few days. This week my great aunt Jean MacDonald passed away, just 2 days shy of her 105th birthday. Save for the last years (during which she lived in nursing homes), this is were she spent most of her very long life. My memories of her are memories of summer holidays spent at this house. She lived here with her brother Colin. You see, that's how things were in big families in their generation. One of the sons stayed home to look after the farm. One daughter stayed to look after the aging parents. That's what Jean and Colin did. Neither married. Just like Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables. Oh yes, and did I mention that this house is on Prince Edward Island? 

This is where my love of old houses was first kindled. This is where I learned the joys of back staircases, antique furniture, a clawfoot tub, family history, fresh baked blueberry pie made with berries picked that day, a kitchen to live in (not just cook in), creaking floors, slamming screen doors, card games and the wildest thunderstorms sweeping in across the Bay. Oh yes, the Bay. This is the view from the front porch, St. Peter's Bay:

Aunt Jean was at the centre of everything that happened at this house. Aunt Jean was the salt of the earth. Aunt Jean will be most remembered for her devilish sense of humour and laugh, and her willingness to dance a jig at a moment's notice. 

If you squint and look closely across the bay, you'll see a white dot to the left. That white dot is the church where we would go on Sundays, dressed up in our best with sunburned skin. It's one of the prettiest chruches on earth:

On Monday morning Aunt Jean's life will be celebrated here, and then she will make it to her final resting place, the picturesque cemetery just to the left of the driveway in the photo above. Imagine that, there she will be resting on a rolling green hill looking back over the bay at her beautiful home. Heaven.