Sunday, August 12, 2012

Best Newport Memories

I can't think of too many things greater than sitting in the bookstore of the astounding, jaw dropping Breakers mansion in Newport, surrounded by young readers and the four books of THE TREASURE CHEST. But that's how I spent yesterday afternoon, and it was such a wonderful day that I couldn't help but think of other wonderful times in Newport.

As I battled street clogging traffic (why do people drive SUVs there on those narrow streets? Maddening!) that included bicyclists, pedestrians, and even a skateboarder or two darting in and out of side streets and parked cars, I thought I might have a nervous breakdown. And my mind took me back to Newport before all the renovation and touristy stuff, when I was a youngun' and my father was based there. I think we even used to take a ferry to get to Newport! For me then, it was sailors in there dress whites and ships and ice cream; eating at the base and begging my parents for toys from the Exchange; our grocery carts bulging down the aisles of the Commissary.

In college we used to go to a restaurant/bar called Yesterdays. The wharf area had a few places, but it wasn't as crowded, and a gang of girls could have a lot of fun! And we did!

I remember too the first time the Tall Ships came to Newport and a guy took me in a Boston Whaler to see them. Fog descended and we traveled in circles for a long time, finding it funny instead of scary. How impressive those ships were to me! I went back several times to see them, loving the different uniforms the sailors from all over the world wore. In my memory, we drank and ate at the Black Pearl...but that could be a trick of time.

This year we couldn't get tickets to the Newport Folk Festival (sold out in March!) but I remember my cousin and me taking Sam, age four months and dressed in a tie dyed onesie. Joan Baez singing Diamonds and Rust as the day drew to a close. And then all the folk festivals heard from our sailboat, Obsession (and later, Rogue), full of friends and food and wine and music. Of course, there was the year that the hubby got us a spot and then went off in the dinghy back to land to attend a funeral. We opened the wine and listened to the music and ate, as the boat drifted and smacked right into another boat. Ok. That isn't in the best memory category...

But last year we went with friends (by land) and got to hear Emmylou Harris and Pete Seeger close the festival. I stood there singing Where Have All the Flowers Gone with everyone, crying like crazy.

Ah! Newport! Land of traffic and tourists, music and sailors, mansions and sailboats, warm and lovely memories...