Friday, July 31, 2009

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

The ocean at Salisbury Beach, Ma at night

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!

Whenever I've gone to the beach or just to walk on the beach along the ocean, I've thought of that expression. My mother used to say that every time our family went to the beach and someone was thirsty. Of course, we would have brought our own drinks but it was something she never failed to say so it stuck in my head over all the years.

This is pretty much what it was like going to Salisbury Beach in the summer - perhaps even more crowded than this postcard shows. Lots of people who arrived as early as they could to get the best spot on the beach, which of course, was as close to the water as possible at low tide but not so close as to get wet when the tide rolled in.

Hampton Beach was just a little way further up the road. This is an old postcard because I do not remember the wooden rails on this bridge. By the time I was born it was a very architecturally finished concrete bridge with huge pillars into the ocean floor. This bridge would take us right into Hampton Beach from Salisbury. At the time our family prefered Salisbury - you can just imagine the one lane traffic crossing that bridge in the summer!

As you can see, Hampton was as busy as any of the beaches were on a hot summer's day. Hampton was a narrower beach than Salisbury and that was why my family preferred Salisbury.

This is a very early postcard of the pier at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. If you look closely at the clothes people are wearing, it looks like the early 1900s. We never went to Old Orchard until I was about ten or eleven years old and we had our own car. Today it is only 1-1/2 hours from home via the Maine Turnpike. In the 1940s it took four hours via Route 1 all the way through cities and towns.

Salem Willows was another of our favorite places in the summer. You can see from the willows in this old postcard why it was called Salem Willows and it is located in Salem, Massachusetts well known for the Witch Trials. Ironically, today one of our daughters lives nearby and she and her husband go to Salem Willows with their little boy just to walk and see the ocean. Every time we went there my mother would purchase salt water taffee and we could watch it being made.

This last postcard is of the Merrimack River in Lawrence where I grew up. The Merrimack flows south all the way from northern New Hampshire eventually emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Merrimack located in Newburyport. It is a long, wide and winding river in some places. Cities along the way have built dams and the dam in Lawrence was built by the Army Corps of Engineers not only to allow the control of how much water flows downstream when it reaches flood stage but it was also built to help power the mills that once roared along the river.

The above postcard is a very old one. I do not ever remember seeing that style bridge over what we now know at the O'Leary Bridge or the Falls Bridge. I've only known it as a beautiful piece of architecture in the city. The other great bridge that spans the Merrimack is the Casey. A smaller bridge linking north Lawrence and South Lawrence and located near the mills area is the Duck Bridge. When I was a little girl my father used to call it the "Rocking Chair Bridge" whenever we would cross over it. I've no idea why - I can only surmise that it was to entertain me. That stuck with me and through the years I've called it that or I've thought of my father whenever I've crossed that bridge. Even our daughters know it was my "Rocking Chair Bridge".

So as you see, water - whether the ocean or the rivers - has played an important role in the lives of my family. In closing I would like to share this. In 2004 I was invited to participate at the closing mass held at Grand-Pré at the end of the CMA 2004/World Congress of Acadians. As a participant representing all New England Acadians I was asked to bring water for the offertory from this area. After reflecting on this a while I decided that tap water was not appropriate. I could have gotten some spring water as we have a natural spring locally but that didn't feel right either. Finally I thought "why not go to the ocean" and I did. One nice afternoon I drove to Salisbury Beach and filled a quart bottle with ocean water. You might wonder "why ocean water"... well the Atlantic Ocean flows to all areas of where the Acadians lived, to where they were deported and to where they live today. The Atlantic reaches the shores of Europe, all of the cities once part of the Bay Colony as far as Louisiana.. perfect!


Since I really enjoyed participating in the 3rd edition of the Festival of Postcards entitled " Signs",
I decided to enter this blog into the 4th Edition entitled Water. The Festival of Postcards is hosted by Evelyn Theriault at A Canadian Family.


Elina said...

I love those beach scenes, esp, the second one.

Thanks for leaving a comment! I've actually never been to Las Vegas, I think I should definitely go sometime!..

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Hi Elina,

Thank you for your post.

I guarantee that you would really enjoy Las Vegas. We are not gamblers but there is so much more to see there than the gambling tables and slot machines. We went to a Sunday champagne brunch - you just would not believe it! We also visited some of the outside venues. Loads of fun.