Saturday, August 02, 2008
A PICNIC AT PLYMOUTH
When our family moved to Boston we left a two family house
with a big backyard to live in a triple decker apartment house
with a very small backyard. Cookouts weren't possible there
nor was cooking on a charcoal grille on the back porch of a
wooden building.(I still shake my head when I see news
reports about house fires started by a grille on the porch.)
So occasionally our folks would take us out somewhere
for a swim and a picnic. These excursions weren't as frequent
as visits to Aunt Peggy's cottage at Hough's Neck and took
place over 50 years ago now, so I've only a few memories of
those picnics. Some of them took place at a statepark at
Stoneham, I think, and one or two at Hougton's Pond in
Milton. And there was one very memorable picnic at a beach
in Plymouth with some of the relatives from Mom's side of
Besides my parents, my sister and myself, there were my
Uncle Ed and Aunt Emily and their kids, my mom's cousin
Anna Bruno, her husband Ralph and their daughters, and
my Granduncle Tommy McFarland and Grandaunt Frances,
Tommy's wife. We set up on a stretch of grass at the back
edge of the parking lot where there was shade and a picnic
table and a bandstand we could clamber around on. Somebody
brought along a charcoal grille and we had hot dogs and
hamburgers, and there was lemonade in a big jug for us kids.
Although I can't spot any beer bottles in these pictures I
wouldn't be surprised if the adults had kept them in the
cooler and poured them into paper cups to avoid detection.
The dog in the photo didn't belong to any of the families.
He just wandered in, mooched successfully and stuck around
The reason I'm not in any of thses pictures is that I took them!
Even at 7 or 8 I was finding ways to dodge a photo!
This picnic was where my Dad broke his ring finger while
playing baseball on the nearby ball field, trying to catch a line
drive barehanded. The finger swelled up and when he went to
have it checked out they had to cut his wedding ring off.
Once we moved out of Boston to Abington we had a small patio
and a picnic table, and then my folks had their trailer up in
New Hampshire to go to on weekends, so cookouts replaced
picnics. But while thinking about this post, I made a list of
people and dishes I'd like to have at a picnic: Grandaunt
Frances and her lemon meringue pie, Grandaunt Peggy and
her chicken salad, Aunt Emily and her lasagna, Mom and her
homemade coffee cake and of course Dad and the traditional
hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and baked potatoes.
(By the way, baked potatoes are eaten by hollowing them out,
and after you eat the potatoes you put a piece of butter in the
skin part, fold it and then eat that as well!)
I'm getting older and eating all that stuff nowadays might not
set well afterwards but it would be well worth it!