Summers in Plymouth: All a Part of Growing Up Pilgrim

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Looking back, I can see that I was extremely lucky. My summers in Plymouth were darned near perfect. New England summers by and large have wonderful weather, a great time to be outside, doing whatever. My brother and I were free range kids, year round. Our playmates were spread over a mile or two, and we could be found anywhere, and unless we were at the Eel River Beach Club, Mom used to ring a large cow bell to summon us home for supper. I used my memories of this club to write about the scenes at the swim club in my first book, Death in a Red Canvas Chair.

Our house in 1950, 65 years ago!

Our house in 1950, 65 years ago!

So let me tell you about where I lived. My family and I lived in a then 100 year old house with 14 rooms, three stories high, counting the gables for the third floor rooms – square and unyielding even to hurricane force winds. Its many windows reflected the sky and ocean. It sat across the road from the beach, and at night, you fell asleep to the sound of waves or the lonely fog horn on Gurnet lighthouse. The house still sits on roughly five acres of land, arranged in terraces leading up from Warren Avenue; while it has been on the top terrace for many years, there was evidence that the entire thing had been moved from the first terrace by the road, back in horse and buggy days. You can only imagine what that might have entailed.

The house has a porch which wraps all around it; at that time, the part off of our kitchen was screened in and we ate there almost every evening to the accompaniment of crickets and warm breezes.

What I plan to do with this series of posts is tell all y’all (as they say here in the south) a few stories about my summers.

This is me, pigtails and all, out back of our house.

This is me, pigtails and all, out back of our house.

Imagine warm, lazy days – Mom handing clothes out back in our drying yard to dry, bees and humming birds buzzing around the blossoms on the trumpet vines that covered the lattice work wall surrounding that space. Wind rustling the pine needles of the enormous tree in the back yard where perched our tree house (a platform two stories up, no ladder, you climbed), and in the two other tall pine trees, between which ran a 4×4 to hold my swing. My Dad had put the seat of the swing up high, so I could hang by my knees from the seat and swing with my hair brushing the ground. On the porch to one side of the house on the porch was a hammock, great for dreaming away an afternoon.

Summer chores were few: help with hanging out the clothes and taking them in, setting the table, dishes after supper, keeping my room in some order. The rest was just FUN!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

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23 thoughts on “Summers in Plymouth: All a Part of Growing Up Pilgrim

  1. Hope you had a great 4th of July.

    Lovely memories of days gone by. I still visit the house where I grew up as my father still lives there. The rooms look so much smaller than they did all those years ago and that’s without any alterations to them in regards of size and walls being knocked down etc. My father has lived in that house for 55 years now.

    • I’ve done the same thing. I know the current owner of the house and it’s changed quite a bit inside and the rooms do look smaller! I think it’s all relative to our size at the time!

  2. I adore old houses with wrap around porches. When I was a kid, they intrigued me for some reason. I think it would be heaven to have an old house with all sorts of hidden nooks and crannies, and perhaps a tiny little reading room. πŸ™‚

  3. belindacrane

    Noelle, the way you describe your memories totally captivates me. You take me there with each of your posts. I love how you write dear lady! Your part of the world has always been a setting that I have loved in books or films … and now your posts! πŸ™‚

  4. Oh, those good old days! They were so carefree and special. We vedidn’t go away for vacations, but visited relatives on weekends. Great fun with more than a dozen cousins to visit and always spent a week or two with Grandma. Loved those days! πŸ™‚

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