The Sepia Saturday prompt nearly took my breath away; I knew exactly which photograph I wanted to post – exactly – and you can see why, can’t you?
I nearly tore my house apart trying to find this photograph; I searched through boxes and desk drawers, pawed through things in my cellar, things in my garage; I poked around closets – anyplace I thought it might be stashed.
It was, of course, in the very last place I looked (I think somebody famous said that, but I can’t remember who): it was inside one of those magnetic picture frames that people stick on their refrigerators. It was even on my own fridge: in the same frame – but underneath my favorite photo of my parents taken years ago.
Here’s my father in the summer of 1990 at a family gathering in East Boothbay,
, at our old family summer house. Maine
My father spent every summer of his childhood here; his mother, Nina, had an old rowboat she used every day – it was her favorite form of exercise. She also used it once a week to sink bottles, and she often took my father along to do the sinking!
Remember, this was in the early 1900s, before we had recycling laws; people got rid of their trash very differently back then. They composted all their vegetable matter, burned all paper products in a barrel (with a screen over the top – remember?) and disposed of their broken pottery and glass by dumping it offshore.
To make sure that bottles sank, Nina used a brass rod to poke out the bottom, then drop the bottle over the side of the boat. When Dad got old enough, she’d take him along. He was in charge of ramming the bottoms out of the bottles.
He loved it, he remembered...
When my grandmother’s first boat disintegrated, my grandfather had a second built; perhaps there was even a third, but I’m not sure about that.
When her last rowboat finally gave out, we remained boatless for a few years. But in 1990, we all got together and had a rowboat built to the exact specifications as the old boats; we christened her Nina, and held a celebratory launching party...
...and here’s my father, floating around the cove IN Nina, remembering when he was a boy floating around WITH Nina, his mother.
Full circle, I guess.