Rye Reflections

July 2005 Features


Polly's Porch

How a summer visit turned into years of enchantment

Polly Morton

This is the first of a series by a longtime summer resident, now 96 years old

I have spent 60 summers on Concord Point, Rye, NH, but in 1929 I had never heard of it.  One Sunday in August of that year an event occurred that will always remain in my memory.

My uncle and his wife and his wife’s sister and her husband rented a house there for that month.  He called and said come and spend next Sunday afternoon. Bring your new boy friend; also your bathing suits.  I accepted, and he gave me directions.

We drove from Concord to Rye when the day came but could not find our destination.  No one we asked knew where Concord Point was.  When we reached Rye Harbor, we turned around and drove north again along the beach road.  Eventually we saw a small peninsula with a line of houses.  This turned out to be Concord Point.  We drove off of Ocean Boulevard onto a narrow dirt road between the front of the houses and the black rocky ocean edge.  I counted five houses all with porches with the usual green painted rocking chairs, some occupied; all looked at us with curiosity.  A driveway off this road went into the yard of the last house.  This place resembled an old weather-beaten ark left high and dry when the tide went out.  

My uncle had been watching and came to greet us.  After we were introduced to his guests he led us down a stairway to two windowless rooms under the veranda. On the door of one a picture was painted of a man about 12-inches high smoking a pipe and dressed in a bathing suit.  This was a room for males to change in. The other door had no painting; this obviously must be for females.  After changing we walked along the road in back of the houses.  I counted three barns and two garages.

A creek running in from the ocean was on this side of the Point.  We crossed it on a wooden bridge which rumbled every time a car went over it, and then we turned onto the beach.  The sand was fine, light beige in color and felt pleasantly warm under our bare feet.  The water was chilly.  After swimming we sat on our beach towels to watch the active, colorful scene of Sunday at the beach.

Back at the rooms we changed from wet suits to dry clothes.  We enjoyed our supper outdoors, gazing over the Isles of Shoals, 10 miles away.

Later we said goodbye.  My uncle hugged me and whispered in my ear, “I like your young man.”  But suppose he had whispered, “You will marry this man, buy the first house on this Point, one of his sisters will buy the land we are standing on and build a house and another sister will buy one of the barns and turn it into a house.”  I would have facetiously whispered back, “And a man will walk on the moon!”  We both would have been right for every one of those events came to pass.

NEXT:  The summers from 1940 to 1944


July 7, 2005

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