Washington NC Waterfront Sunset
Roads change. Back in the late 1980s, I raised two girls and a garage full of critters on a slice of the eastern shoreline called Dinah's Landing. We lived in company-owned housing, a small prefab 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on a Weyerhaeuser pine seedling nursery. The house sat across from the nursery office under a canopy of Loblolly pines and live oaks.
The road to the nursery was paved with "reject", a peculiar mixture of fossils and clay -- the byproduct of the phosphate mine owned by PotashCorp (Saskatchewan CA company, and one of the largest holes in the US) across the river in Aurora NC. It's an asphalt-covered road now.
[Reject is described more fully later on in this essay.]
Let's move on, shall we?
How it was : Dinah's Landing Road, 1989
A tobacco barn, built before the Depression and covered with political signs hawking candidates from the 1980s, leans precariously toward the highway at the turn-off to Dinah’s Landing Road. The three mile stretch of road is barely visible from the highway. It’s just a narrow slice cut through tobacco and corn fields. Most of the people traveling over NC Hwy 264E to Cape Hatteras will drive right by and never see the turn-off. Few will feel the urge to turn down this North Carolina farm road. It ends abruptly at a small public access boat landing which gives the road its name, Dinah’s Landing Road. This is where the locals launch small, pretty sunfish sailboats and modest fishermans’ jon boats. Three miles of unpaved incongruous lifestyles; where agriculture concerns co-exist in fragile harmony with upper middle-class urbanites that are hell bent to retire amid Loblolly pine and cypress on the banks of the tan colored water of the Pamlico River.
Beaufort County, NC
Close your eyes.
Think on this.
Imagine the Seventh Grade back when we had Junior High Schools.
(If you're too young to do this -- you can still read on, just think back to your youngest teenage years.)
Not middle schools. Back when the US still had a designated involuntary delineation of time called "Junior High ", 7th - 9th grades were completed and then you entered High School as a sophomore for 10th - 12th grades of study. Do we even still say that? Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior -- when we talk about high school years?
Back in my day, the "close my eyes" day, freshman year was the top of the walk. The goal of every new-teen. My parents, and many others, considered ninth grade a pivotal year.
Baby Boomer? You know what I'm talking about here. Continue reading
Seventh Grade and Gym Class
Junior High Girl's Gym Class. I had it second period. Yes, at 9:30 a.m. we were supposed to strip out of our clothes, put on over-sized blue cotton shorts and a button-up peter pan collared cotton shirt and thick white socks and Keds. White Keds. Then we were expected to play softball, exercise, run track, for 45 minutes, come back into the locker room, take a shower in stalls with no curtains or doors, get back into our street/school clothes, and go on to English or Science or whatever our next class was.
What was not invented or in common use in 1966: Blow dryers. Permanent Press. Bikini or hip hugger underpants.
The Dress Code. Strictly enforced dress code. A go-to-the-girl's-dean and be sent home if your skirt was too short dress code. Continue reading
Nothing like costumes and ghosties and fall decorations for Halloween to kickstart that holiday reminiscing bonanza. It is once again time to remind myself of how the Internet, Facebook, and social media will be filled with maudlin remarks about murdered children, Ebola, incomprehensible fears about The Other and then a heavy dose of the stupid annual insanity parade on Fox News and elsewhere about how Christmas is under siege and knowing damn well the siege those nimrods speak of is nothing like the siege those dying of diseases feel ...
So I turn inward now.
Inside my head to what is mine.
Not toward the violence I've witnessed because, being nearly 60 years old, I recognize everyone will bear witness to some horror of one kind or another.
A memory walk -- I want to remember my parents and my brother. Christmas memories filled with love, joy, laughter and traditions. There aren't many traditions in my life any more. Early warning: if you don't preserve what you once knew, no one else will be around to help you activate tradition.
Thinking about how it used to be, how it was when it was a different way than it is now -- doesn't make me sad. Used to make me downright desperate. Now it makes me smile to remember and to know that by smiling, I honor my parents and my brother. Perhaps even my dead sister will spare me a moment of kind thought, just a peek at who we were when we laughed and giggled at the world. Before she became so angry.
Christmas With the Dead
Not with zombies or monsters.
Found in a pile of ephemera:
Harvey Boyd - President
Kenny L. Ashley - Vice-President
Bud Hans - Scribe
Gerald Glover - Treasurer
1. No smoking in hammock.
2. No burning of or lighting matches or candles.
3. 20 cents a month dues
4. Not more than 1 man sleeping in the hammock.
5. Ever member own his own hammock.
6. Every new member must demonstrate correctly how to pitch his hammock.
7. Vote on every new member to come in. 2⁄3 vote.
8. On camping trips, dig a latrine.
9. On Patrol hikes, camp stove can be used.
10. Cook with groups or not if you want to.
11. Patrol meetings once a week.
Supper Wednesday -