September 19, 2013

Duxbury & Nantastic Beaches (MA) and My Sister Pam


Hug to Pam





Boston Lighthouse in the distance.

Boston Lighthouse in the distance.

While my husband Monte and I were in Massachusetts I’d planned to visit Nantasket Beach, not far from where we were staying. This beach was chosen because, when the key character in my novel, Madame Rosalie de Leval took sail from Boston to Trenton (now East Lamoine) Maine the captain of her sloop said he could not travel further without stopping. A storm was building. He removed the sloop into the Nantasket Harbor.Before going to Nantasket Beach my sister Pam suggested I visit Duxbury Beach, where she went as a child.

“This could be a good bonding experience,” I explained to Monte.

Pam is one of two of my new sisters, children who, as infants, were released for adoption by my mother. She had discovered me in early 2011 through Carolyn’s Compositions. But she lives far away from me, so we don’t have many opportunities to cement our relationship.


Nantasket Beach was fantastic. The surf was just right for surfers, especially beginners, to practice. I walked down the beach where there was a significant crowd, and learned there was a children’s surfing competition in progress.





Along the way I couldn’t resist gathering a number of large shells, which were plentiful. I stopped to write a greeting in the sand before I left.


Then we were off to Duxbury Beach—a long drive, much longer than either Monte or I expected. But we made it, finally, and drove down a road and over a barely two-lane wooden bridge, only to be greeted by a sign indicating parking was for residents only.


The Harbor Master was sitting in his truck. I was prepared to whine a little—no, a lot—for the privilege of parking so we could have a quick visit to the beach.


“You can go ahead and park,” he said before I got into my whine. “After Labor Day you don’t have to be a resident.”

The long beach had the feel of quiet royalty. Trekking over a wooden walkway I dialed Pam on my cell phone.


“Guess where I am?”


“I’ll tell you. I’m at Duxbury Beach at your suggestion.”

She related to me some of her experiences there. Following is her story, which I requested she send me to share with you.


Little Compton and Misquamicut beaches in Rhode Island, as well as , Nantasket, Crane’s Beach in Ipswich, and Duxbury beaches in Massachusetts and Yarmouth (not sure if this was in Maine or Massachusetts). . .these are all beaches I went to as a child.  My parents loved to go to the beach.

While living in Norwell, Massachusetts, we frequently went to Duxbury Beach on weekends.  On a few occasions my mother, brother and I would go with a neighbor, my little friend John McDonald and his mother. Rumor has it that one day I pushed John in our cesspool, but I swear up and down and on a stack of Bibles I did no such thing!! But I digress…

I was only 7 when we moved from Norwell to Holden. Since I was so young I have little recollection of my time at Duxbury.  I only have 2 or 3 stories that were told to me over the years. I do remember my mother packing a picnic lunch, with drinks made from Zarex concentrate.

Several times I heard the story about how, at Duxbury Beach, I just went off, nowhere to be found. I must have been 3 or 4 at the time  This was how I may have earned the nickname “little wanderer,” possibly a spinoff of my having been adopted though the New England Home for Little Wanderers.

My mother recalled how helpless and frightened she felt because she couldn’t help search for me because she was still recovering from polio and a muscle transplant.  They had to call out the beach patrol to find me.

Another story related the story of how we all had to rush home suddenly because I was very nauseous, hot and feverish. The doctor diagnosed me with heat stroke. I’ve always been very sensitive to heat and try to limit my time in it, but I question if it was heat stroke or heat sick.  Diagnoses have changed since then.

This is it of my recollections of time at Duxbury.


After talking to Pam I finished crossing the bridge and descended the few steps to the sandy beach. The surf here was much more gentle than that at Nantasket Beach, and there were no surfers. There were fewer people, but cars kept coming and going, creating constant traffic.

It was enjoyable trekking along the beach, where I added my footsteps on the path once taken by a sister I met in August 2011 for the first time in 63 years.

IMG_8862EI had planned on immersing myself in the saltwater, but I was concerned about an unexpected dropoff. The incoming tide was also shuffling the plentiful rocks under my feet and into my sandals. I decided thigh-deep wading was sufficient.



Before leaving I wrote a greeting in the sand…which the incoming tide began washing out just before I completed the message:



Thanks to you , Pam, for contributing to this post. I was happy to read that we also followed in your footsteps at Nantasket Beach. Talk to you soon.



Lighthouse Beach in Chatham on Cape Cod, MA

WordPress Daily Prompt 8/24/2013: These Sandals Were Made for Walking…Where???

Lighthouse Cruise on Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island


  1. Carolyn, interesting travelogue. My father was an orphan…He and his siblings were place in an Massachusetts orphanage. I’ve never known his family. He died in 1974…before internet. My daughter is doing a search but I have such little information.
    Happy for you and your sisters…

    Comment by merry — September 19, 2013 @ 6:58 am | Reply

    • Massachusetts now has open records for adult adoptees, which means original birth certificates are available. That’s how one of my two sisters found me. They may be available beyond the adoptee—eg adoptee’s children. Check out their law. Of course, if they were never adopted it’s a different story.

      Comment by carolyncholland — September 19, 2013 @ 7:11 am | Reply

  2. When I was a little older, 10 or 11, we lived in Arlington, MA. My father, brother and I took what was then called the MTA (public transit, and it only cost a nickle to get to Boston) and rode the boat from Long Wharf in Boston to Nantasket. We did this 2 or 3 times. The boat and the beach were quite enjoyable, as well as going to Paragon Park. I rode the ferris wheel with a sailor we met and befriended on the boat. Paragon Park, unfortunately, no longer exists. You’ve been walking on some pretty hallowed ground during your vacation.

    Comment by Pam — September 19, 2013 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

    • Guess I have…and there are a few more hallowed beaches to walk on as we travel…stay tuned for the next adventures…

      Comment by carolyncholland — September 19, 2013 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

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