... was it worth all the effort?
Early morning, on a warm summer's day in June, we would be awakened with the words, "We are going to Nantasket." This would not be just another day to go to Revere Beach -- no, we'd take the boat to Nantasket.
Preparations had been made the night before (unbeknownst to us) and bags with lunch, towels and everything else that would be needed were all ready to go. After a quick breakfast (if you don't eat, you can't go) we were in our bathing suits and dressed, ready for our big adventure.
First, over to Lynde Avenue where we would get the bus and join my aunt and her family and, sometimes, other neighborhood familes who were already on the bus, and head for Malden Square where we changed to another bus to take us to Everett Station.
There the whole tribe would board the elevated train which would glide up the tracks past Sullivan Square and City Square and screech around the curve heading toward North Station. I wondered how the people living in the apartments next to the tracks could stand all that squealing, but I guess they got used to it.
Then, plunging down beneath the City of Boston from North Station we would finally arrive at our destination (I think it was Summer Street) and then, each carrying her/his bag we would walk down to Atlantic Avenue and Rowe's Wharf, where the boat would be waiting.
It seemed so big to us we thought we might end up going to Europe. We scrambled up the gangplank, like the world travelers we were and, with the warning - stay together - we looked for seats for all of us. The orders were that we stay seated until the boat blew its horn, scaring us half to death, and pulled away from the wharf and then we could roam around.
When the horn blew again, signalling our arrival at Nantasket, then it was back to our seats again. A short walk brought us to the white sands of Nantasket Beach where, stripping off our outer clothing, we headed for the surf, some plunging right in and the rest of the timid ones tiptoeing slowly into the waves until we were about waist high and finally taking that breathless dip into the waves as they rolled toward us.
Once in we did not want to come out as we jumped over the waves, floated over them and swam in with them, splashed each other and had a great time until we were called in for lunch. By that time our lips were blue and we were shivering. But who cared?
After lunch of sandwiches (mixed with a little sand) and drinks and we were dried off a bit we got dressed and headed for Paragon Park. Here we embarked upon such wonderous rides as the tilt-a-whirl, the whip, the dodge'ems and, of course, the merry-go-round (to this day I can't pass one without recalling our trips to Nantasket). They had all of these at Revere Beach, but somehow these were special.
Finally, a stop at the booth where we could watch the machines pulling and stretching it, we bought a box of salt water taffy. Is any trip to the beach complete without it?
Then it was time to go back to the boat, where we were content to stay seated or stand at the railing watching the ocean, the gulls and wave to the people in boats or on land, back to the elevated train to Everett Station, back to Malden Square and, at last, back to Melrose, tired and happy.
Was it worth all the effort? We thought so.
August 5, 2005