September 3, 2010

When I was a kid at Salisbury Beach

Growing up in Lawrence, Massachusetts we were  about an hour from  Salisbury Beach.  A little further up the road was Seabrook, Hampton and Rye beaches.  Another almost two hours away was Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

We were quite fortunate to live so close to the ocean.  A few Sundays during the Summer the whole extended family would board a bus headed to Salisbury Beach for a day in the sun.    The other Sundays we would all go to Canobie Lake that I've mentioned in another blog.

After swimming in the ocean and having lunch on the beach, we kids used to head for the Penny Arcade, the Dobby Horses and whatever amusement rides our money would allow.  There were not many amusement rides at the beach in those days so we would ride the Dobbies several times and spend most of the rest of the time in the Arcade.  We called it "Penny Arcade" back then because all of the machines pretty much cost only one cent.

The photo taken above tells a different story.  My mother, like the rest of my aunts and uncles as well as my Levesque grandfather all worked in the mills.  They knew hard work and they all had a good work ethic.  My father was about the only one who did not work in one of the mills.  He worked in a laundry and worked part time for Cooper's Express - a moving company.

One summer my mother decided to rent a cottage at the beach for a month.  This was after the war so my parents had a car at this time.  My mother decided she and my father would come to the beach after work each day and head back to the city for work next day.  When I think of that today I know that had to be very difficult but they did it so we could have a "vacation at the beach".. a vacation.. something we'd never had before.  The is what the postcard about is about.

One day we went to the beach photographer to have this postcard created.  To the left was my brother Albert with his arm around my grandmother Arthemise Dumais Levesque.  In the back row (I've no idea what happened to her face on this card) was my aunt Claudia who was my mother's sister.  Next to her was my sister Claudia then my uncle Lucien who was my aunt Claudia's husband.

In the front row next to my grandmother was me (wasn't I a cute kid?) next to me my cousin Gloria (daughter of my mother's brother Albert) and Dolores (daughter of my mother's brother Alphee.  As you can see the extended family decided to take a "vacation" that summer also.  You know, I don't remember any of us going on vacation after that summer but I can tell you we had a really great time. 

My sister Claudia was taught to play the guitar while we were there by a fellow who owned and played the local restaurant/bar.  I think he really liked my sister but Mama put a stop to that because he was not French - yup those when the days when you married within your own ethnic group.

What a treat it was to be able to go play down on the beach every single day, dip into the ocean and go back to the cottage whenever we wanted to eat, change etc.  of course for us children it was called play play play!

Other than that when the extended family took the bus to the beach it could take more than an hour to get there.  In those days there was only one road that led to the beach and it went through all of the cities and towns.  It was route 110.   Buses did not have the horse power they have today.  There was a curve on 110 that had a bit of an incline and the bus would have a difficult time making it but make it did make it.  Everybody would clap once we made that curve.  Today we have super highways and by taking I-495 we are at the beach in 40 minutes tops.

I always think how fortunate we are to live so close to oceans, lakes and the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

For CMA 2004, I was invited to participate in the closing Mass on August 15th that took place at Grand-Pré.  I was asked to bring water for the offertory from our area.  After reflecting on this a while, I decided to go to Salisbury Beach and bring water from there.  Why you might wonder.  After thinking about it a while I realized that the Atlantic Ocean reaches the shores of all the places Acadians have lived and live whether  it  be the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, St-Pierre et Miquelon, France, Louisiana and so on.  It was an overwhelming feeling when I poured that water representing New England Acadians at that moment.

Well I have digressed again but I know you are tolerant readers ;o)

I do hope you enjoy seeing that photo postcard of us at Salisbury Beach.

By the way, in case you are wondering,  what we called Dobby Horses were actually carousels or merry go-rounds.

Here is a link to Merry Go-Memories Museum.


Your Cousin Lucie

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino