My Summer At a Canadian Beach

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)

MY SUMMER AT A CANADIAN BEACH

I'm on the right, my friend Pat is with me.

I’m on the right, my friend Pat is with me.

A photo album on my dining room table was open to several photographs I’d used in a previous COMe article, Betcha’ Didn’t Know …I Once Was Part of a Bellows-Making Company.

Looking at the adjacent page I saw several photographs of myself (not selfies—we had simple cameras in the olden days, like the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye).

002e

The photographs were black and white—no color photography back then. And, I must admit, the pictures were fuzzy. Not clear. Likely taken on a Kodak Brownie camera:

mOKxA3sdo5nGfLETi8tOf8A

However, they recorded part of my history, a part which I had almost forgotten.

It was the summer of my 15th year. Because of the presence of three young children in my family, ages 3, 2, and 3 months, it was obvious to parents I was familiar with children. Furthermore, I’d accrued many hours babysitting experience.

I remember the woman sitting in our living room interviewing me, although I can’t describe her. She needed someone to care for her about 7-year-old daughter. The catch: I’d have to live in, because the job was at a Canadian cottage on Lake Erie. She must have been impressed with me, because before she left the house I had the job.

L-R: My siblings Sally (not born yet), Kerry, Cynthia and Jane

L-R: My siblings Sally (not born yet), Kerry, Cynthia and Jane

There are numerous things I recall about that summer.

Being on the lake, there was a beach. Looking back I wonder that a 15-year-old had charge of a child in the water, but I was able to swim and had taught a little swimming in high school. I took my charge, whose name I cannot remember so I’ll call her Olivia, to the beach every day.

Olivia was easy to care for. I don’t recall any problems.

003ec

However, there are other things I do recall.

Coming from a family of smokers, and living in a cottage with adults who smoked, it was natural I’d  experiment. I’d occasionally take (OK, thieve) cigarettes that were in available throughout the cottage. I ultimately came to the conclusion I didn’t care for smoking. It smelled, left the smoker smelling, and it would cost me money later. All I could see were burning dollar signs every time I lit up a cigarette.

Another activity I busied myself with was ridding the place of spiders. Part of my job was to keep the cottage in order. I accepted the challenge of keeping it free of spiders, too. Like the song about eating worms: big ones, little ones, skinny ones, fat ones—I’m gonna kill them all. And so I tackled the job. Occasionally, after squishing one or two, I’d have to retreat. And I’m certain I didn’t make a dent in the spider population.

005eC

I really enjoyed the beach. Occasionally a friend would arrive by bus (my means of transportation too) and we went to the beach. The photos on the album page were taken on that beach.

006ec

A couple of years later, when I could still remember where the cottage was and how to get there, a group of kids I knew went there for a party. It was my last time there.

It was the only summer I spent on a beach since 1955, when I was plucked from my New England coastal roots and transplanted to Buffalo. In fact, my first visit to a New England beach was September 6, 1966, on my honeymoon that followed my September 3rd wedding. My husband Monte and I try to visit the coast every 2-3 years.

4211-HP HAMPTON BEACH 2003eE

The photo album pictures reminded me of that summer, a season of child caretaking, swimming, solitude, and maturing.

It was a very good job, a very good summer. I’m thankful I have my few photographs. 002ecNOTE: This article was written in response to the June 23, 2015, WordPress writing prompt, Snapshot Stories. It asked writers to Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there.  Tell us the story of that photo.

Advertisements

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com. My novel site is www.intertwinedlove.wordpress.com.
This entry was posted in JOURNAL/MEMOIR, WORDPRESS PROMPTS, Wordpress writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s