Esther was raised to believe that one day she’d be running the hotel and the sprawling grounds in the Catskills that was, at one time, synonymous with taste, wit and style among the tribe. What she didn’t realize as a child was that powerful social trends would eventually bring the hotel to its knees. It wasn’t a pretty process; unless that is you find rust, graffiti and broken windows poetic. Esther didn’t. She wasn’t raised that way.
The family eventually closed the hotel, but not before bungling generous offers from strangers, and worse yet, corporations. Esther was shipped off to Israel to freeload off her maternal grandmother while her parents tried to regain their footing in this new landscape, one where the habit of fleeing the city to the mountains in the summer no longer held sway. Esther didn’t like Israel and begged to come home. The notion of “home”, a place where demitasse teaspoons were part of the vernacular and goblets brimming with endless free cokes and root beers were the norm was gone. It was this search for the place where she could run free, run the joint and run with her posse that would occupy her deep into her thirties. Finding nothing, and not wanting to adapt to the new, Esther remained captivated by the smell of the seasons, the rotting leaves, even the smell of cow shit thawing slowly under mountains of ice. She stayed. Eventually, she opened an antique shop that sold cheap china bearing the logo of the hotel, regaling potential customers with tales of her youth. In those moments, Esther was happy.
(For beautiful images of decay in the Catskills check out Madeline Wilson’s blog: http://synseye.com/)