Random Thoughts

Return to Revere Beach

... the joy of being young

by Carol Nelson

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I took the #411 bus from Malden station for a
pre-season trip to the beach after the May Nor'easter. I have
memories of that place that go back to the '40s, especially the
merry-go-round at the Hippodrome(1903-1973) There, the
horses pranced just for me to the music of two Gavioli organs,
rain or shine. I was too scared to ride The Cyclone, the wooden
roller coaster (1925-1969). It looked rickety to me even in those
early days. I recall my brothers slamming into each other, and
complete strangers, in the Dodgem cars.

We would watch the mesmerizing taffy machines make what
they originally called "French chewing candy". My father would
have a bottle of Moxie which was one of the few "tonics" that
implied the good character of the person drinking it. The smells
were yummy. Clams and french fries; popcorn and peanuts; hot
dogs and burgers all wafting on the ocean breeze. On this last
trip, the clams were $17.00 for the medium size at Kelley's.

We kids were great little swimmers. Taught by my father, in
Marblehead waters, by tossing us into the deep from a punt (a
small squarish flat boat) and yelling: "SWIM!" Later, he
mixed cement in it, forever sinking any further boating
adventures. But Revere Beach was entertainment. We buried
each other, of course, while we waited the required one entire
hour before going in the freezing water after eating. We made
up for lost time by staying in the water until our lips were blue.
We all got sunburned, always. And I got the dreaded freckle
collection every year. Sun block had not been dreamed of.

But now.. the beach was almost empty, a serious runner, or
two, and a guy with his metal detector. The sand had been
pushed halfway up the cement stairs by the storm. There were
many varieties of seaweed strewn by the tide, flotsam and
jetsam, sea glass and clam shells. The young seagulls, still in
dark feathers, clumped together resting after many days of
rough weather. I wondered where the old pier had been, and
Brown's Ocean Pier Ballroom. Where was the Nautical
Garden? Mother's Rest? Neptune's Frolic? The diving horses?
Even I don't remember all that. Instead of the amusement park
there is beach front property. Condominiums. Real Estate.

The only constant is across the street: the wide, wide sea.

August 5, 2005


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