PLUM ISLAND, Massachusetts……1937
My sister Nancy looks on as I balance a bottle on my head. I seem to be very proud of myself. I had to rely on my oldest sister, Mary, for the particulars surrounding this photo. I had heard family members speak of Plum Island over the years but I really don’t remember going there.
I was particularly interested because I couldn’t fathom how we would be able to afford the whole summer of 1937 on Plum Island. We had very little money then with 5 girls to clothe and feed...and we lived in New Jersey, nowhere near the shoreline of Massachusetts.
However, according to Mary, our Mother suffered from severe back pains and a friend of the family offered us his cottage on the island for the summer. We girls ranged in age from 4 ½ (that was me, the youngest) to 13 years, so we would be able to care for ourselves and enable Mother to get a well deserved rest.
Our get-away was spent in a tiny cottage named “Alice”. It was one of a group of compact little wooden structures and was directly on the beach. Although we had a rudimentary kitchen there were no bathroom facilities and our community of families shared an outside shower and an outhouse.
There was a small store, a run down board walk and an open-air building where we could play games, listen to music and work on jig saw puzzles. No TV’s, cell phones, or other distractions ... just lots of sun, sand and ocean.
As I gaze again at that picture I can’t help but chuckle at the silly little girl with the bottle on her head. Little did I know then that “putting the cork in the bottle” was to play a huge part in my later life. I certainly didn’t seem to be worried about it then !