THE BEACH-PART TROIS

More days at Nantasket Beach:

During our stays at Nantasket Beach, we usually rented rooms in someone’s home or took a flat.  One of my favorite rentals, was an apartment over a grocery store, on Nantasket Avenue and L street, that we shared with my Aunt’s family. My mother loved to cook and my aunt preferred cleaning; they comprised the perfect duo.  When everyone was present, six people in our family and five in theirs made eleven people to cook for.  But I never heard my mother complain. I have no clue about where we all ate, what we ate or where we slept.

The two fathers came only on weekends; I suspect that my mother and my aunt exulted in the respite, but I clearly remember my mother donning her skirted one-piece bathing suit and wrapping her hair in a kerchief to enjoy a companionable early morning swim with my father on the mornings of his departure for home.

Various relatives occupied the other apartments in the building, so there were children of sundry ages to hang out with—ranging from teenagers down to age five.  Luckily, we had an outdoor shower for hosing off the sand because we had only one bath in our apartment; still, I don’t recall ever waiting desperately to use the facilities—hard to believe—now that I live in a house with more baths than people.

I loved watching the older girls dress for dates, and I still remember the night we all gathered to critique the expected young men, who ended up being “no shows.”  The looks of consternation on the faces of the jilted young ladies stick in my mind—though I have no idea why.

Besides days at the beach, on the rare rainy days we trekked the alphabet blocks to the one movie theater, at the end of Hull, that opened for the day to show children’s films.  And, of course, the town celebrated the 4th with fireworks on the beach.

Since the girls in our households, outnumbered the boys, one night we planned a girls-only cook-out with hotdogs and burnt marshmallows. Our parents insisted that the boys attend as well. We grudgingly relented but eyed them balefully for the entire evening.

What I’ve described here may sound ordinary, but I  remember having wonderful fun during those carefree days, at a time when life was ordinary: A Sunday drive, a trip to the lake, going for ice cream, seeing a movie, listening to The Shadow on the radio, and a month at Nantasket beach—that was the stuff of my growing up.

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