The other evening I rode my bike by a fire in the chiminea out in someones backyard. While circling the block, smelling the wonderful pinion pine slowly burning, I was reminded of fires in my Nana’s backyard when I was a girl. Most summers, from the time I was seven on, I was able to spend a month at my grandparent’s house on Cape Cod. I t was a wonderful 2 story right across from the beach, with a huge screened in porch that was used as my bedroom.
Nana and Pop ran a real estate company that specialized in the management of summer rental properties. This kept them very busy, which provided a lot of freedom for a visiting youngster. I had guidelines that were to be followed, such as not going to any homes of new friends I would meet while swimming. Inviting them back to our house was fine and probably afforded many parents of these friends an unexpected night out during the family vacation. When I was lucky enough to fill a bucket when digging for clams, we made that dinner. Life was much more lay back than at home, and I took full advantage of it. Playing cribbage with Pop on the porch filled any infrequent rainy day. I lived for days at the beach. I promised to always set up my towel and transistor radio in “our spot”, by the jettie, to make finding me easier if needed. Most days I would head over by 10 am, with a packed sandwich and instructions to be home for dinner by 5. Sand in Nana’s house was the biggest infraction. It was the number one rule to shower in one of the three outdoor private showers and dressing rooms located on the detached garage before entering the house. Nana always had a full tin of spearmint leave jellied candies just waiting to be enjoyed. She also always gave me a package of popcorn to pop in the basket over the fire out back. Nights spent, under all the beautiful pine trees, eating popcorn and planning the next adventure at the beach were wonderful.
These were the days when purses were pocketbooks and conditioner was crème rinse. Life was slower and less “connected”. You made long distance phone calls to extended family members on major holidays, rather than the daily texts that are common place now. It is not that I don’t appreciate our current technology, but there is something to be said for the memory of Saturday evening dinners of hotdogs, beans and brown bread while watching the Wide World of Sports with Jim McKay, bringing you the “thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat” on the one black & white T.V. in the house.