Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Memories

A blogger caregiver for someone with MM sent me a picture of the Wellfleet sand dunes on Cape Cod after I commented on her blog about having spent a childhood summer there. Seeing the photo (above), I was reminded of many images of that summer.

As I recall, I was about 9 or 10 years old. So I would have been under five feet in height, which probably explains why the dunes seem so immense in my memory. Looking at this shot, possibly taken near where the rental house we stayed in was located, I can see that the 60 or so feet is still big. According to the photo supplier, however, they are eroding and changing causing houses to fall down. So perhaps the house seen at the top is now the one we were in, now considerably closer to the edge than it was 50 years ago.

50! Years! Omigosh!

I cannot quite realize that I can talk in terms of multiple decades of living now. A half-century of life, sometimes well-lived. Oh, I digress from that summer... let's say it was 1954 or so. My father and mother were still married, although the storm clouds of divorce were on the horizon and there was evidence of my mother's infidelity with us that summer, though I didn't recognize the cute little girl everyone called "your sister" as that proof then.

With the lifting of the morning fog off the Atlantic and the warming of the sand, my older brother, my younger brother and I would all slide down the dunes (against parental advice, of course) not appreciating our contribution to the erosion in those halcyon days. We would then run from one end of the beach to another, building forts, tormenting each other and our new-made friends until lunchtime when my mother might appear with a picnic. Otherwise it was necessary to climb the steps.

Days ran into each other, and on the weekend, my father appeared from his work to endure two days with his brood and his less-than-welcoming wife. Some years ago I had occasion to ask my mother her impressions about that summer. She proclaimed it a torture to be stuck at the end of the Cape in a rental house with three children under 12 and a teen-aged boy. I did not discuss with her my theories of why she might have felt that way. What is odd is that I know she was there physically, but my memories do not re-create her well for that time period. Instead I see myself attending to the toddler, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for us all, and recalling one minor disaster.

It was on the weekend as I recall, because my rescuer was my father. We were having a cookout outside the rental house and marshmallows followed for dessert. I was curious if a lit marshmallow could illuminate a dark closet, so I took it on a stick inside and went into the broom closet. Yes... a lit marshmallow can illuminate a dark broom closet - and the broom - and a bunch of other things, including my hair and eyebrows. I was lucky not to be severely burned and to not have illuminated all of the tip of Cape Cod with the rental house! My father heard my screams, came running, and doused me, the broom, the closet and then comforted me when I wailed that I was a miserable child for being so unthinking after being accused of being a 'firebug.'

Probably it was our last weekend there as I don't have much of a memory for further forays on the dunes. I thank Ann for sending me the photo and for stirring up the time machine pot.

1 comment:

  1. Great recollections - good to go back - even though I suspect there was some sadness there too. Must say the sand dunes look amazing and I can see how they would have been such great fun.