Monday, June 17, 2019

A Return to Childhood Part II

The new Boulder Garden
Saturday night I fell asleep planning more work in the gardens. This morning, instead of being on a creative roll, Murphy has jumped on my back. Some days just suck! I just want to sit and cry, but I’m even too down for tears.

Rain falls and Pele kitty cackles at the downy woodpeckers at the suet feeders outside. I push through getting the last of the editing done for the week. The work numbs my mind, so I don’t have to succumb to my sad feelings.

Four hours later, in responding to an email from Gail about her mother hugging her from beyond and the love she felt triggers something within me.

Hmmmm ... all about the love. Tears are falling. On one hand, I know I'm loved ... but I don't FEEL the love! That's what I'm missing. Maybe that's what I'm looking for in trying to go back to childhood. And there's part of me that feels I'll never be loved again ... if I ever truly was ... and that no guy (husband or boyfriend) ever truly loved me -- oh, there's the love of friends and distant love of family, but I don't have the immediate, physical, hug-feel of love. But then I keep telling myself I don't have time for love, the last thing I need is for someone to want me to love him -- I have too much me stuff with my art I'm trying to do.

I truly believe we need to allow ourselves time to grieve. Not just for those who’ve passed on, but for every loss or betrayal we’ve ever encountered. Allowing ourselves to feel is to heal emotionally. Perhaps, this too, is why I am making this journey into the past and part of my living wholeheartedly.

This is going to take more contemplation, for sure. But first, the journey of returning to my childhood family properties continues …

June 4, Gail and I took a break after our morning beach walk deciding what to do about breakfast. We got in the car and headed south on Route 1-A passing through Seabrook Beach, then into Salisbury Beach, Mass. I drove around the loop of the old amusement park and we pointed to where the Flying Horses carousel, the old wooden rollercoaster, and the Ferris wheel used to be. 

We stopped for photos of today’s cheap-looking carousel – nothing like the huge Flying Horses of our childhood.
We recalled playing skee-ball in the arcades. (Skee-ball was my favorite and it was fun to win prizes.) Gail talked about having her first piece of square pizza. Joe’s Playland and both Tripoli and Christy’s are still there. Other buildings are also there, but nothing was really the same. There were no crowds of people walking around with kids eating cotton candy; no chatter, no sounds and bells of arcades and amusement rides. The area almost feels like a ghost town, just barely hanging on to life.

Not seeing any breakfast-type place, we headed to Salisbury Square and found some dive of a little restaurant. The people were very nice, but the place itself was awful and neither of us ate much – and to use the bathroom? Gross, beyond gross!

My uncle's old house around 1990 and little garage to the right
We headed down Route 1 to Rings Island along the Merrimac River and across from Newburyport. My uncle was the harbor master for 38 years and there’s a plaque dedicated to his memory by the pier. His house, a two-story narrow New Englander was once a barrel factory before he bought it. Now it is multi-million-dollar structure, two houses in similar shape connected by a two-story foyer (I would guess). What was once a little garage is now a huge, two-story building of its own.

What my uncle's old property looks like today
It’s hard to find words. The beach where we learned to swim when we were little filled in with beach grasses long ago. The boat ramp is gone. We walked out on the pier chatting about how we used to jump from this spot or that at high tide. The ramp going down to the boat slip dock is now multiple docks extending out into the river and we went out to the very end. The river is still beautiful and peaceful, and we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day.

I don’t know what I was expecting to feel – I only know I didn’t feel it. There was just a sadness of times changed, although the beauty of the river is amazing. It was time to move on with the next stop being the land where my mum and siblings spent their early childhood – Black Rocks, Salisbury Beach Reservation. My mum and aunt, mum’s twin, talked of their childhood home a lot before they passed. I try to get down once a year around their birthday to visit and to feel them.

The river views are soothing to the soul
There’s something in my soul searching – for some kind of connection to family, to heritage, for roots. Maybe it is all about love; love of parents for children. Is it because I can’t feel the love any longer and I’m trying to get it back? Whatever it is, I know this archeological dig into my past will eventually bring relief and better understanding. 

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