Memoir Writers - Current Work in Progress
Current work of members of the Memoir Writers Group at the Bloomfield Township Public Library - Winter 2014
By Liz Mulligan
As I sit here freezing during this cold winter day, I think back to times when June promised months of warmer weather. To get more specific, I remember my youth, my teenage years, and the years of my young adulthood when I would leave the mainland behind. The first step to my journey included eating Manhattan clam chowder at Porky’s Clam bar and then heading across the asphalt parking lot to the dock. I associated the heat of the tar with the mainland.
Ducks swam around the ferry named the Sea Mist. Sea gulls flew overhead. I boarded the water craft that would take me from everyday life to beach life.
Getting on the boat brought with it a flood of memories. The grey floor and white sides of the ship were familiar sights that welcomed me back. The ferry’s engine would gurgle and hum, waiting for other passengers to embark. At the scheduled time, the boat would take off toward the island, traversing the Great South Bay.
There is an old saying about the beach: once you get the sand in your shoes you can’t get it out. Some people fall in love with island life and keep going back. It’s a ritual that passes from one generation to the next. That explains why traditions remain.
Looking up I would often see the same things: folks with their large L.L. Bean totes faded by the sun, people reading the latest bestseller, heads covered with floppy hats, and comfortable sandals that looked so unfashionable they must have been expensive. The beach has a timeless dress code --topsiders, polo shirts, and Bermuda shorts. Other than that, dressing down is dressing up.
Noticing fashion is one thing. Observing people as I cross the bay is another. Often I have been so engrossed in my own thoughts that the people blended in with the roar of the engine. Every now and then I would peek up and notice a mother and a child interact with such gentleness that I could tell the breeze from the bay was weaving its mystical charm. The change from the mainland to the island was starting to take place.
It’s not that the mother was suddenly nicer to her child. It’s that I started to notice the behavior. The transition came within me. As the waves lapped on the side of the boat, I unwound. Away went the blare of car horns. I could see a buoy bobbing in the ferry’s wake. Stress was all but forgotten.
I looked up and could see the lighthouse with its predictable frequent flash of light. It had become a symbol of the island.
The magic of the transition continued as the ferry crossed the Great South Bay. With every clam boat the Sea Mist passed, with every Boston Whaler, with every sailboat, with every other ferry, summer drew nearer. I was filled with thoughts of longtime friendships and lighthearted events.
The twenty to thirty minute ride atop the deck of the ferry transported me from one world to another.
And now I am back home looking out the window at the continuous snowfall and longing for those golden summer days.
Telling your student to say “fff-rrr-eee-zzz, fr-ez, freeze” over and over again or
Telling your student to say five fat French fleas freeze.
Two smart fellahs, they felt smart
Three smart fellahs, they all felt smart.
pick a particularly prudent phrase to pronounce properly.