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Day at the beach

Day at the Beach  


8/20/12

Sometimes, even an artist has to get away from the studio. And, what could be farther away for a still life painter than the beach?

Spending time by the ocean holds special memories for me. When I was a child, I spent a week each summer at my grandfather's cottage at Hough's Neck Beach in Quincy, Massachusetts. Now, when I say "cottage," I mean a turn of the century, one room wooden building with a sleeping porch attached on one side and a tiny kitchen and toilet built onto the back.

The only sink in the cottage was a huge cast iron tub in the kitchen, and the only shower was outside. Every few years the city would try to condemn the building because of the lack of indoor bathing facilities. So, every few years my grandfather would have to go to the authorities and convince them not to condemn the building.

My sweetest childhood memories revolve around that cottage. I can still smell the musty cot I slept on in that sleeping porch, waking to the sound of sea birds. Mornings were often spent digging clams. That was before licenses and limits. At low tide, we just took our metal pail and pitch fork and dug. We would then spend the day changing the water in the pail of clams until they were clean enough to eat for dinner. Steamed clams with butter, and free! Nothing has tasted so good since.

There were no video games or computers then. The one small black and white television got two channels and was on only for the Ed Sullivan Show once a week. I spent my time walking the long, curving beach of Hough's Neck day after day, collecting seashells and baby horseshoe crabs until my skin was deep brown. No, we did not worry about suntan lotion then either.

Today, we brought home a few seashells to put in a jar on the kitchen window.

 

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