'If you have 3 of something, it's a collection.' - some vendor on Etsy

Sunday, October 31, 2010

40 Steps Beach, Nahant, Massachusetts

My Grandmother Elinor, who is 99, lost her mother to Leukemia when she was six years old. She and her brother Proctor (the Victorian names are the first clue that this wasn’t the most festive of crowds), would spend their summers with their maternal grandparents in a big, rambling, beach house on Nahant Beach #114 Willow Street. The house still stands. Nana remembers her bedroom overlooking the ocean, her grandfather’s electric car, the Irish girls, working for the family, fresh off the boat, and her grandmother’s kindness.

Montauk Beach, Montauk, New York

When he was a kid, once or twice a year, Tim’s dad would borrow a house and borrow a boat and take his three boys to Montauk.


My daughter Isabella got a scholarship to Haystack, an artist colony in Deer Isle, Maine. You could pick from a number of different disciplines and Izzy picked blacksmithing. When Tim and I picked her up she looked like she had been shoved repeatedly down a chimney then kidnapped by bikers.

A big shout out to David and Jean Lincoln who fund this scholarship each year.

Swampscott Beach, Swampscott, Massachusetts

My stepsister’s mother, Marylou, had a mysterious Swedish friend named Erica, she drove a light metallic blue Cadillac Eldorado convertible, so roomy it deserved its own zip code, that car made you happy just to look at it. Although I don’t remember Erica ever speaking, on hot summer nights she would drive up and we would all pile in and take a drive with the top down. My stepsisters and I would be in the back seat, listening to WRKO, singing and choreographing our dance moves all the way to Swampscott Beach.

Deer Isle, Maine

How the hell do people who live here get out? My aching Jesus, it takes forever to get from one town to the next. What if you just want to get to the airport?

Chatham Bars Inn

My grandmother has tons of great B&W photos taken during the summers she worked at the Chatham Bars Inn to pay for tuition to Simmons College. It looks like the job came complete with a Ralph Lauren photo stylist. All the kids would live there for the summer, serving breakfast, lunch and diner with time off in between. I think my Aunt Sue and Uncle Steven worked there to pay for college as well.

Private Beach, Cape Neddick, Maine

The view that spelled divorce.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Tim’s mother sent us on a trip when I was pregnant with Isabella. I threw up the whole time. I hate Jamaica.

Yellow Bathing Suit Beach, Truro, Massachusetts

I was visiting my grandparents on the national seashore. I forget how old I was, but that whole summer I only wore that ugly yellow bathing suit (unfortunately I’m not kidding.) I don’t know what my problem was (I’m guessing it had something to do with finally having breasts) but I insisted on wearing it everyday. The family ultimately had to have a bathing suit intervention.

Hunt Hospital, Danvers, Massachusetts

What a God forsaken place, I can’t believe no one has come and shut this hell hole down. When I was in fourth or fifth grade my mother went into the hospital for minor surgery, and give or take a few reprieves, didn’t come home for the better part of two years. In those days children weren’t allowed to visit the patients and I spent a lot of time in the waiting room lighting red glass church candles. Eventually I went to live with my father and family on the South Shore. Mental note: I don’t care if it’s a hang nail; Mass General and The Brigham are only an hour away.

Horseneck Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

When we were kids Martha Garrigan’s grandfather Stanley had a beach house on Horseneck Beach. We all loved Stanley and loved to visit. It was a no muss, no fuss house. The upstairs was dormitory style. He would later sell it to send the grandkids to college.

Lynn Beach, Lynn, Massachusetts

'Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin. You don’t get out the way you went in.’

Marianne and Paula’s mom used to work for the phone company in Lynn. Sometimes we would go to Lynn Beach while she was at work for ½ the day and for the other ½ we would go to this big room in the phone company building where you would call anywhere for free. Doesn’t sound like much in 2010 but in the 1970’s it was huge. It used to cost a lot to make long distance calls. My sister Marianne alone could run up a $300 phone bill in a month calling her out of town friends. The three of us would get into that room and not leave for hours until we called everyone we ever met.

The Dead Sea

I thought my house sat on the lowest elevation this side of the 9th ward but it turns out the Dead Sea holds that particular honor.

Town Beach, Sandwich, Massachusetts

We used to ride our bikes for miles along the Cape Cod Canal. It was completely flat for 9 miles. As kids we would go over the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges to Sandwich, seeing who could ride with no hands the longest.

Isabella Beach, Fishers Island, Long Island, New York

In 1943 my grandfather, Herbert Pinto, began his third posting with the Army at Fort Wright on Fishers Island in New York. My grandparents had 2 children at the time and the whole family was there for 2 years. Fishers Island is tiny, 2 miles long and ¾ of a mile across. It was during this posting that my grandfather would invent telescope sights using spider webs as additional cross hairs. The spiders contributing to the war effort were named Spitler and Spirohito.

Along the Thames, London

When my husband Tim was 8 his parents separated and his mother wasn’t able to cope. Tim’s Aunt Sonia in Montreal got a paper route (odd, I know but Sonia was a festival of odd) and saved up enough money to send her sister to England to visit with relatives for the greater part of the summer. Sonia came to New York to take care of the boys bringing her three with her.

Joanie’s Beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts

You need to pay a toll to incredibly skeevy looking locals, (more like modern trolls I you ask me), to drive down to Joanie’s house/beach.

Visiting Vietnam War Memorial, South Portland, Maine

Half the size but just as sad.

El – Bahri

When my daughter Isabella was in first grade she decided she was going to be an archeologist, living a glamorous life amongst the ruins of Ancient Egypt. One day she looked up at her Grampa Stanley and invited him along on her future digs. Overcome with emotion Stanley asked, ‘Why me?’ to which Izzy replied, ‘Well I’m going to have children, someone is going to have to take care of them and I’m going to be busy digging.’

The El-Bahri temple complex includes one of the most beautiful temples in Egypt, built for the Pharoah Hatchepsut, 15th century BC. Situated on the west bank of the Nile, in a steep half circle of cliff, it guards the entrance to the Great Valley of the Kings.

Weirs Beach, Meredith, New Hampshire

While I was still living with my grandparents my aunt Susie flunked out of college and moved back home. When I wasn’t with my grandparents I was with my Aunt Susie. Her future in-laws had a vacation home in Meredith and she would take me there.

Readington Beach, Florida

After he and my mother divorced, my stepfather moved to Readington Beach, Florida, where apparently all you need to have to be considered an eligible bachelor, is the ability and willingness to drive at night.

Marathon Key, Florida

In our cabin there were palmetto bugs the length of my pinkie. I was a good sport until I woke up to one crawling across my face.

La Salette Shrine, Ipswich, Massachusetts (gone now)

I was confirmed at La Salette. What a breathtaking place. It was almost enough to make up for that creepy Confirmation retreat we had to take a month before. La Salette is gone now; the church sold it to developers’ years ago.

St. John, Caribbean


St. Kitts, Caribbean

Nice beach, too bad about the company.