Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: Summer Breezes
By Darlene Casino
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An Asian family is chattering away as they take pictures of one another. Why not…it’s a picturesque setting. Off to the side, the Mayflower 11 is docked; behind us is the draped portico, which protects Plymouth Rock. I marvel as I consider the history all around me, or the monies people spend to visit this place. I’m truly blessed though I rarely stop to realize it or even enjoy what’s here to be seen.
I remember a similar setting from my childhood, a place called the ‘Eastern Promenard’. The main street of our city ran the length of a peninsula that ended on a high bluff, overlooking the ocean that surrounded it on three sides. At one side was a large playground guaranteed to keep children happy for hours. For several miles across the vista, rolling lawn and gardens went down to the ocean. There was a long, paved walkway that lined the ocean side with mounds of wild rose bushes. This ended at the farthest point with a war memorial, complete with a couple of cannons and balls, a granite portico and stationary binoculars that overlooked the harbor and islands. One little island, houses a solitary, square stone building with a grass roof. I remember being told it was an old fort.
As a young child, visiting my aunt was always fun. She would often round up a friend or two, their kids, and any strays including me, and head for the cooling breezes and open area of the “Prom”. Usually it involved a child sitting on blankets and whatever else could be stuffed into carriages followed by children carrying lunches, drinks and other necessities trekking up the steep hill. It was a hard walk but the excitement of anticipating the day before us helped keep the motley crew moving forward. I still have occasional dreams of a busy city street and continuous buildings suddenly giving way at the crest of the hill to the panorama of open lawns and ocean waters below.
Once we found our spot and laid out the blanket, got last minute instruction and warnings we were FREE…to run and scream, and just be kids. The trip home was a little less exhilarating; now tired, cranky, complaining children stumbled the downhill sidewalk home.
Sitting under my tree today, things are different. Though the scenery is much the same, the mothers and their children are fewer. Instead of playing, there’s an agenda to be accomplished as they pass by on the way to see and do other things. Maybe they have no need for cooling breezes, since they arrived in air conditioned cars and will go home to air condition houses. Long ago children lost their ability for creative play without all the trappings of technology to amuse them. They’re certainly not hampered by distances they can walk, or only as many toys as they can carry…
Right in the middle of my reflections, a mother with a little boy and an older girl stopped under a neighboring tree. Their faces were flushed and they needed a rest break. Sitting on the lawn with their drinks, the mother reminded the little girl, “sit like a lady, you’re wearing a dress”.
The little boy holds up tiny hands, “Me dirty, mommy?”
Mom instructs them to finish their drinks, as they can’t stay long. Her cell phone rings and she talks briefly. Maybe the phone is on speaker or maybe it’s her close proximity, but its clear daddy is checking in on his little flock.
The same phone captures their pictures for a later reminder of the fun they have had. Soon mom proclaims, “It’s time to head back”.
With a whimper, the little one informs her: “My yeggs tired, mommy” as they head off down the path.
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