In need of fog..

Having grown up in a coastal city right on into motherhood of a teen, I’m finding one can’t easily assimilate to a non-Atlantic-kissing land. Sure, it’s less than 20 miles inland from the dreadful woman, but apparently, that is huge.

No seabreeze graces our hot evenings. No buoy bells ring out. There are no bridge rising-warning nor lowering all-is-safe sounds, ever. No foghorn greets fog (or blizzards) here.

There seem no downtown alleys like those where a port city’s drunken seamen (or townies) still pee. It’s possible I’m not looking hard enough, yes, but I’m surely not going to find relatively safe alleys to run through while holding my breath, here.

There’s no fog-shrouded pier to bike down to with our morning pastries from one bakery or another. Nowhere to bring a Moe’s sub sandwich, really, that isn’t utterly covered in traffic noise. And the wind may be blowing the wrong way; this river stank is quite different from my old one..

I said to last daughter one day while driving and musing about fishing and swimming and boating the glories of the river bordering the Atlantic (and all its ancient neighborhoods whose newest residents still line the historic river banks with the same ancient family names, and how cousin and I got in on the tail end of the USO club and the VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary),, “OmG,”I said, “Can you imagine growing up here??”

You guessed it. “Uh, Mom.. I did grow up here. So did my sister!” I guess I hadn’t realized that immediately because just like my first two kids, I so often had toted these two to my old municipal pool, library, stores, parks, neighborhood walks, fishing holes, the bridge, and further out to the beaches. Friday nights we often went into its real downtown and our choices were ice cream cones or chocolates. Both, if we looked like we might cry. One of us, anyway.

I recall the night when a visiting true landlubber mentioned how much cleaner this city is than my old one. Wowee. be still my aging heart. And a Seacoast guide from about the same time noted (because there was still nothing ELSE just then) how our city was the home of the seacoast’s largest afternoon newspaper. I wasn’t sure I could take all the excitement, you know?

Here’s how it shaped up: On date nights later in life, husband and I would go to my/our old downtown and watch buses come and go, watch the waterworks and the itinerant guitarists in front of the ancient church, watch the 19 or so motorcyclists enjoy their chatting and coffee, watch the people with dogs sit at little tables outside in the beautiful eve, a balloonist trying out his latest schtick in front of our bench, and endless crowds coming and going.

Just 20 minutes from then, as we climbed the hill toward our house’s street, there were no people, no downtown scene, no one moving; there were maybe 3 other cars on this lovely July night, and here coming down the hill on foot was a lone older fellow, wearing his parka. With the hood up.

I looked at husband who had lived and thrived in my old town, too, albeit for a shorter time, and we had the same thought: We’ve left the universe and are floating around in space.

I tried. I still can’t imagine growing up here, but I hear they used to swim in this river. They’d have had their own sketchy alleys to cut through screaming, no doubt. Perhaps our summer music nights are all that is needed. No one demands more. Touri aren’t interested in anything here but the overnight rates, perhaps. Whatever, I’ll be damned if I can bring one more person young or old to the museum that hosts a large standing bear. He may as well be reading the newspaper, in a parka.

Bah, humbug. I’m in need of a visit back. Even without the happy tourists. Thank God Spring is nearing; they’ll all be out and about with their kids and dogs and bikes, and I hope with all my cranky heart there will still be intrepid, struggling balloonists, or a zither-/xylophonist, at least.







  1. Lou Carreras says:

    I just use the term flatlander for people who live away from the coast…but now like you, it includes me.
    I originally picked up the term while living in Maine. Flatlander was a more insulting way to say that someone was “from away.” Of course I was coastal -but from the worst possible place to be away from – New York City. However, being that I fit in I would always be from away, but never got called Flatlander.
    It can get complicated.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. JoAnna says:

    What beautiful imagery! I live about 15 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and 5 minutes from the river. Like Wrightsville beach, our downtown is losing its charm due to rampant “development” and congestion. Still, there are a few places we still like to walk. You’ve inspired me to find them again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, good! I’m not a total Luddite (yet) but one can quite srsly be too far away from real waves & spray! The congestion here is insane, now. We got the train station stop opened up and commuters live here (cheaper) and work in bigger places. Not once, now, even on a winter Sunday p.m. has my car been at an intersection alone. All day, all night.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ann Coleman says:

    I can see why you miss the coastal town. As a midwesterner, I’ve never had the privilege of living near the ocean, which is possibly why I like to vacation there so much. (I live near the Mississippi river, but trust me, that’s not the same!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I hear you! I’m a matter of yards of brush alone from this town’s river. It’s been a mind-saver but it doesn’t compare!

      Liked by 2 people

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