PARAGON PARK MEMORIES
As a child, my family spent most of the summer at NANTASKET BEACH in Hull MA.
We all stayed in a little cottage we called THE KING OF FRANCE COTTAGE, why we called it that I still don't know but thats what we called it. ( actually, I do know why, but thats another story, or at least a sentence later in this story, )
Several people stayed in that cottage at a time.
Nana Cooke was the ruler of the cottage, she and her longtime friend Bill Warwick were the ones who ran the house. Nana lived in Boston in the housing projects and always escaped to Nantasket for the summer. Bill would go as well, but he spent the bulk of his time down at the Nantasket Beach Salt Water Club tending to his boat and fishing and drinking and whatever else they did down there.
Several of my Aunts and Uncles would stay at the cottage along with their families too. We always had a full house.
We even created a family tree on the brick chimney upstairs. Every time someone new would come to stay the night (and there were always several) they would get thier names put on a brick. New additions to the family would be added as well, and also the family pets got a spot.
On several occasions we managed to squeeze up to twenty people in that little cottage, often with people sleeping on cots or mattresses on the floor.
We were walking distance from the beach and would go there every day, even with the threat of rain.
Wake up, eat breakfast and head to the beach was the daily routine. We'd have to stake out a large area on that beach because over the course of the day our group would grow. My Dad would usually go down first often taking us kids , getting them out of the house early so mom and my aunts could make up several dozen peanut butter and jelly, or tuna sandwiches. They would come down later .
We had so much fun on that beach, it seemed so big. The tide would go out and you could walk forever before you hit that ice cold water.
Pink Popcorn and onion rings from Carl's food stand were always a treat. A long walk down the beach and up a few blocks was the PENNY CANDY store, this was a trip we would often make on the days when it was a bit too cold to sit at the beach. At the other end of the beach you could hear and see the roller coaster at Paragon Park.
It was here as well as at the beach, that almost all of my favorite memories were created.
I can still vividly recall that final turn from George Washington Blvd onto Nantasket Avenue and the view of that tall, wooden roller coaster. We used to close our eyes just before the turn so we'd be surprised if they had painted it or changed something. Also because we were often teased by the adults ( Uncle Jimmy or Mr. Cram) that the roller coaster was no longer there. thankfully, it always was..... ( in 2005, my brother Rick carries on that tradition by telling my son Mathew that when we go to Disney World, its going to snow there and everything will be closed! )