Monday, July 24, 2017

Scarborough Beach, Rhode Island

So, we were supposed to vacation in Rhode Island this summer, but due to my mother's illness, (and several other mitigating factors) we are not. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. To say I'm relieved is something else. However, this has left me time to work on my latest book .

Postcard from 1942 (front parking lot)

As a writer who once lived in Rhode Island, (and is yearning to go back) I try to include as many points of interest in my novels as I can. It helps prevent homesickness (which I've been dealing with for 10 years) and keeps me focused on my writing. I have visual aids stacked up on an old computer screen so I can look at them when I'm "in the zone." (Problem is, sometimes when I'm in the zone I truly have no idea where I am when I here "Mom" from upstairs.)

Anyway, at one point in the story, Abby, the main character, and her Aunt Rose, take a ride to Scarborough Beach. I haven't been to Scarborough since I was in my early 20's (30 years ago). Don't get me wrong, I drive by it all the time (or used to when I visited Narragansett), but it's changed so much it doesn't resonate with me as a writer. When I'm writing I'm thinking about how it USED to be.

This isn't there any more. So sad.
When Scarborough was Scarborough and right next door was Olivo's Beach and then Lido's Beach. Remember that? Remember the Boardwalk? No matter how hard you tried, you always got a splinter, even wearing flip-flops. Remember the seaweed? The long seaweed that would wrap around your legs and scare the living daylights out of you because you thought it was a sea monster coming to get you. The rip currents? The surfers? Salty Brine on 630 WPRO AM radio telling us every half hour, "Time to turn before you burn." (And the famous "No school Foster-Glocester, but that's a story for another day.)

And then, at the end of a long day, Aunt Carries for chowder and clamcakes. Remember when that wasn't famous, it was just the place to go after a long hard day at the beach?

There used to be huge, untamed, rose hips along the sides and back of the restaurant when I was a kid. And Aunt Carrie (yes, a real person) kept chickens in the back that my brother and I would try to feed clamcakes to. Now, it's so commercialized, it's not the same. We went there to eat the last time we were at the beach and yes, the food is still exactly the same (EXACTLY - recipes don't change) but the atmosphere and ambiance was gone. No longer was it the place I remembered from childhood, but a sad reminder that everything changes, nothing stays the same.

Maybe next summer we'll get back to Narragansett for the summer, but for right now, I think I'll keep the Scarborough I remember from my childhood in my head, and in my books.

Robynne Rand (c) 2017

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