Alas, the best laid plans… I am finally here at Thacher Camp on Indian Point of Raquette Lake for two weeks. I had grand ideas of endless writing and to prepare, I had copied a treasure trove of my research files onto a 32 gigabyte flash drive and borrowed an old laptop from a friend. Then I discovered on my arrival that the flash drive is dead.
What to do? I began to think back to the precious few letters that I have which were written by George Hornell Thacher while sitting in the 1878 cabin, somewhere not far from this cabin in which I sit today. He probably wrote on paper with pen or pencil under the soft glow of an oil lamp, whereas I am here with pen and paper under the pulsating glow of the Humphrey three-mantel gas chandelier that hangs above our dining table.
Why the long form handwriting on paper, you ask? “Didn’t you tell us you had borrowed a laptop?” Well, I did say it was an old laptop. Turns out the battery life is only two hours. So it is best to do my drafts by hand and only transcribe a polished final version onto the computer.
You see, one thing has not changed between 1878 and now at the Thacher Camp: we still don’t have electricity (though now it’s an act of will to be off-grid). Our neighbors on Indian Point have electricity, but we stand firm in our desire for no modern electronics to distract us from the beauty that surrounds us.
We do have a generator. In fact, just last week a brand new Generac was installed, but we only use it every two or three days to pump water up into tanks in the attic for our gravity-fed water system.
I think perhaps the greatest joy I get in writing this long form, is the possibly that 100 years from now my great-great-grandson might find this yellowed piece of paper in a metal box in the attic – alongside letters by George Hornell Thacher.