Over the last couple of weeks two people I remember fondly from my childhood summers have passed away. This has left me saddened but also scrounging up some wonderful memories I had nearly forgotten.
A few weeks ago I was told of the passing of Dr. Mason Romaine. When I was young, my mother used to clean their house once a week. She would bring my sister and I along and we would spend our time having tea parties with Dr. and Mrs. Romaine or playing with them or walking across the street and playing on the beach. Tea parties were our favorite as we would sit and sip hot chocolate and eat little cookies with a true southern lady. If you are going to learn manners, you should learn them from a southern lady. True to form, a week after sending my sympathy note to Mrs. Romaine I received a sweet note from her thanking me for my kind words. That's how manners are done. Dr. Romaine was a lovely man who lived a very important life and spent 68 years married to his wonderful wife. How lucky am I to have such sweet childhood memories of him and his wife!
This weekend I learned of another passing which still leaves me in disbelief, my childhood friend Katie lost her mother Lori this past weekend and I am still struggling to comprehend that the lovely lady I knew as a kid is gone.
Nearly all of my memories from summertime as a child involved Katie and her family. She came to the island during summer vacation and it seemed we spent all of our waking moments together divided between her house, my house, and the beach. I can remember spending mornings at the beginning of the summer waiting at the end of her driveway to see if she was on this boat, or maybe the next boat, so summer could officially begin with the arrival of my friend.
We spent a lot of our time at the beach, playing on floats or building forts in the rocks. We played with our dolls, we played dress up with the finds from the rummage sale that our mothers would scrounge up for us. We had lemonade stands and pooled our earnings to buy penny candy from the Dark Harbor Shop. We picked berries, we had sleepovers, we drove her brother nuts. We had fun.
Always, our families were in the background. Her mom making us lemonade for our lemonade stand or giving us free reign of the kitchen to "cook" whatever berries we discovered in the backyard. Our moms sitting together in the sun at the beach while we spent hours playing in the sand. Her mom trying to teach me to swim, tripping on a rock and dumping me into the ocean.
I haven't seen my friend Katie or her mother in years, and it leaves me very sad that Lori is gone. But I am so very glad that I still have so many memories of all of them. Not just a few, but summers of them.
"Seashells remind us that every passing life leaves something beautiful behind."