Tissy wrote this and sent it to me a few years back -- it never made it to the old website but here it be now.
Memories of Mamie I. and Horseneck Beach, circa 1948-1954
Mamie I. was our dear summer nanny -- Mary Isabelle Leonard -- a wonderful, round Auntie with blue and white seersucker dresses (probably made by Aunt Stevie), little canvas hats and white sneakers with her nylons knotted at the knees! To hell with the varicosities!
These are memories from numerous summers when she would take Tissy, Roozie, Susie, and Johnny down to the duplex for hours and days of excitement -- but never sisters and brothers together. Too much bickering!!! And of course she liked the boys best! I can remember at age 10 being made to strip on the side porch, cleaning our feet in the basin, and Mamie would pour water over us before we entered the house...humiliating at 10 for this little girl! She also made me wear just boy's pants down on the beach and water -- no halter! "Oh for heavens sakes, Tissy, you have nothing to show anyway!" But those were just the silly embarrassing memories; the most important part of our summer was going to Horsneck and being with family and friends, the Coopers -- teachers from Attleboro -- who rented the cottages. The kids were all about our ages -- Tykie, Ginny and Paul were my age. Tykie and I were great friends, and played paper dolls with old Sears catalogs. Each of us would choose a whole family of people and then cut out all kinds of clothes, shoes, etc. for each of them; then we would furnish their houses with the pages from the furniture and household section -- hours and hours of fun! Then, of course, we grew up and combed the beach for boys!
No one has had a shampoo until Mamie I. gives it to you! Water in your eyes, ears, lemon juice and pulp as a rinse, to make your hair shine. Then the drying was the best experience. She practically rubbed your hair off your head and then took the towel and cleaned your ears!
Packing up Mamie I. in May from Halcyon Farm, Lakeville, was wonderful fun for all of us kids. My Papa, Uncle Lukie, was the man in charge of packing -- he was a master at that. I have a picture of the truck backed right up to the front door, and trunk after trunk, basket after basket, being loaded and secured on the flat bed. Everything secured with clothesline! Wah-Wah and Raymond were there to help, too. Uncle Lukie was also the one who would rush down and pack Mamie up in a hurricane and bring her home.
No matter how old you were .... you must REST AFTER LUNCH! How I remember the heat in those front bedrooms...resting for one hour and sweating like a pig. We needed a swim after that, but not until 2:00 PM, and only when Mamie was sitting down on the beach in her canvas deck chair. "Only go out to you knees, or you will have to come in." Rules, of course, were most important so we would all be safe -- how in the world could Mamie have saved us?
Remember the Cushman truck? It backed up in the little driveway at the back of the cottage -- it was loaded with breads, and those wonderful filled cookies that were made with oatmeal and dates. I am sure the Cushman driver loved Mamie I.
What would we have done without her? It was such a special summer to go to Horseneck and we owned the place, we thought. The trip down was so picturesque, the excitement of driving by Lincoln Park, smelling the honeysuckle on the roadside all the way down. Delightful and delicious, and Mamie's food was beyond compare.