The Reality of Toys

By: pbcmedia

Feb 05 2010

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Buzzards Bay, Family


Focal Length:35mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

My cousin, Mary, arrives today and when I asked if she wanted me to get anything in particular she said just a flashlight and a nightie.

Check and check.

I have a flashlight but I also put a nightlight with a big beam in her room cuz she’ll be 65 soon too and when we get up in the middle of the night, we oldie girls need to know where the hell we are going.

Check on the nightie, too, since she gave me all the sleepwear I have in my drawer or hanging from the back of the bathroom door.  She gave me her mother’s pink robe after she died that is as soft as a cloud and must be over thirty years old . Her Mom died in 1991 and it was an old robe then, but I love it!  Cousin Mary gave me an ice-blue version several years ago (she has a store in Palm Beach and sells lingerie, sportswear and jewelry) probably hoping that I’d make the switch.  I sometimes wear the blue one but her mother’s robe  (I  called her Auntie Dode–her name was Dorothy) is the one I’m in most mornings greeting or cursing the day.

On the bureau near where she’ll sleep is a birthday present I received from my other cousin who I adore but never see, Dickie.  He builds custom homes and his own boats in Maine and is the son of my favorite favorite uncle, Dan.  The box it was in was placed near my door by UPS and it was a shape that was longer than a floral box but could have been long stemmed roses.   But, when I got closer I could see that it said,  “Samsung LCD TV”.   I saw his return address and laughed out loud.  He’s sending me a TV??  A TV that is the shape of 24 long stemmed roses?

It didn’t make sense.

Once inside the house I opened the box and brought out this hand made toy dory pictured here on my mantle. It must be three feet long.

I burst into tears it was so beautiful and because my father’s boat had been named “Hunky Dory” and my memories of Dickie are all on beach or on the waters of Buzzards Bay.  He and his Dad were sailors and on the water all the time.

When I could read the note that came with it, it said that he had made this for my birthday but that it wouldn’t be complete untl one of my grand nieces or nephews pulled it through the green waters of Buzzards Bay.

He said he could still feel the sand of the beach we grew up on.

I have a photograph somewhere of the three cousins on the beach playing when we were about 4 years old.  There is no way I’ll be able to find that photo but tonight Mary shall sleep with my new toy dory on the dresser and I bet both of us in rooms with nightlights shall find our way back home.

©Pat Coakley 2010


••Select photos from this blog and my wider archive are available for sale or licensing at

7 comments on “The Reality of Toys”

  1. I am really enjoying your blog. Does your cousin, Dick, live anywhere near Camden? Just curious as there are so many great wooden boat builders around here.

  2. There is something elegant and artful about a wooden boat built by hand, whether it is full size or small enough to sit on your mantle. While wooded boats are deemed “impractical” by many modern sailors, the color and grain of the wood, the smell, the sound, and the strength and ability to flex and give a little as they move through the water please all of the senses.

    • Oh, I can see you’ve got wooden boat love, too, Don. Although I know all the cons, all the things you mention make it crying towel material for me! PS. As I was packing up your lens and hammer to resend to you, I only yesterday found your note!!! Oh, so wonderful to know these details! I have finished the image for your hammer and I so totally agree…the handle is just too wonderful but the lens image I am still looking at and trying to figure out what. But, your precious items you entrusted to me shall be on their way back soon, complete with the kind gesture of their postage. This was no way a burden for me. It was a gift.

  3. what a beautifully crafted ‘craft’. a treasure and endowed with sweet memories and a depth of meaning. i love the echoes in the sound ‘buzzards bay’ and you must also know ‘buttermilk bay’ (onset). just saying them imparts a visual of salty sailors tales, as if they would be places an epic story would be written about and read by a lamp late in the evening or by the fire in a leatherbound book. i enjoyed reading this so much and the picture is such a treat to see.

  4. Oh my, what a beautiful, thoughtful, stunning gift, really. Love it!

  5. Such a lovely present. I’ve been making a model of the Santa Maria over the last couple of… I don’t really want to say, it’s been that long.

    So it is with some autority that I can tell you that wooden boats aren’t easy to make and that your cousin obviously really cares a lot for you.

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