WP DAILY PROMPT 1/28/2013:
ODE TO THREE PLAYGROUNDS IN PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE
THE RASPBERRY PATCH
The berries were large and lush—and delicious. I daren’t eat too many, though. The berry patch wasn’t huge, but picking the sweet sucklings produced scratches that were sometimes bloody. Picking them was a challenge for anyone whose purpose wasn’t to enhance her own breakfast cereal but to sweeten the food of her customers. You see, even at the age of seven and eight this child, me, was a budding entrepreneur.
Each time I traveled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I checked out the raspberry patch at the high end of Spring Street. It always amazed me that it was still there, even though I never visited during berry picking time.
My husband and I were enjoying our travel to New England in 2008, when we did our routine check of the berry patch.
Oh, my—there was a small house sitting on the piece of land where the berry patch was all those years. It was sad to see the demise of this small location which provided sweetness and a source of income.
THE ISLINGTON STREET APARTMENT
For a short time we lived on a corner of Islington and another street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for a short time. My sister recalls more about it than I do. She said it was a mammoth old-fashioned house broken down into several apartments. Our apartment had three floors and two staircases. One, a circular style, was by the front door. We never used it. We used a back door by the alley. There were two bedrooms on the second floor, connected by a long hallway. The first floor had a kitchen, dining room and living room.
Although we weren’t in this residence long it was my last home in New England. The most memorable experience the apartment held for me was the arrival of my sister Jane in July 1955. What fun to have a newborn to play with!
In late October 1955 my mother traveled to the Buffalo, New York, home of Jane’s father. My sisters and I didn’t go—we stayed with one of my mother’s friends.
Mom returned late in the evening in November, and instead of taking us home to the apartment we traveled all night. The next morning we were introduced to our new home, our first home in Buffalo, the home of my new step-father’s mother.
It’s been years since that apartment on Islington Street was demolished. I remember trying to locate it in 1996 and finding a gas station on the corner (if I identified the correct corner).
WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE?
DO MY CHILDHOOD PLAYGROUND BEACHES HAVE MUCH MORE TIME?
My sister and I spent many childhood hours on the New England Atlantic Coast beaches, most often Wallis Sands and Hampton Beaches in New Hampshire. We daringly climbed the rock cliffs when the tide was low, sometimes at the risk of the tide beating us to it. We frolicked in the waves that sometimes banged at the shoreline and occasionally took a life (I recall watching a drowning victim but not understanding what it meant). We buried ourselves in the sand, made sand castles that we knew would be washed away with the incoming tide. We searched for crabs and other critters in pools of water when the tide ebbed.
There are many threats in today’s world. One is global warming, which is predicted to raise the level of the ocean. The net effect will be a major loss of coastline. With that loss will come the loss of my sandlot and salty water playgrounds.
Perhaps I won’t live long enough to see this. But I regret that my future generations will miss out on walking along the path I journeyed as a child.