Thursday, July 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Memories that last

(In the past few months, I've often shared photos on Facebook that never made it to the blog, and yet the photos I've shared there lack the stories that make them meaningful.  And so, in looking at those images I captured of places or people or critters that made me smile, I hope to pull together some posts of the past, under the headings Throwback Thursday or Tardy Tuesday or Monday Memories or Flashback don't be surprised if you catch glimpses of Eddie, or trees without leaves, or - heavens - even Christmas decorations in my posts of the next few weeks!  The images in today's post are from February - when the grass was still green and the trees were still bare).

Many years ago, long before I moved to Vancouver Island, and when my sister and mom were still alive and healthy,  the three of us used to book a vacation home for a week or so each year somewhere on this island or on one of the nearby Gulf Islands.  We spent that week exploring - heading out in the morning with a picnic lunch and a thermos of tea, returning back to our home-away-from-home at the end of the day, eager to plan the next day's route.

Always the route involved visits to parks and beaches, as well as the occasional tourist attraction or market. I didn't take a lot of photos back then - it was before the digital age - but I did collect images in my head. And one of those images was of an oceanside park with craggy hills to climb, tidal pools at low tide,  an island with colourful cottages, and a beach full of driftwood logs to sit on, as any good beach should be.

When I first moved to the island, I searched for that beach - I knew we had stayed in Saltair, just north of Crofton, that year, so I checked out several parks in the area, hoping to find it.  But to no avail.

It wasn't until this February, when I was doing a  home check in Nanaimo for a dog rescue, that I stopped at a park near to the home I was checking, and coincidentally it was the very park that matched the images in my mind:  Piper's Lagoon Park, not far from Departure Bay Ferry Terminal in Nanaimo.

It was still as picturesque, as interesting, and as varied as I remembered.  With the exception of the addition of some park benches,

A woman enjoys a few moments of solitude on
a recent addition to the park.

and a two-headed serpent,
What the...?

A shower or water feature to encourage
sand covered kids to clean off before getting in the car!

it was just how I remembered.

Hidden coves amid the bluffs

Craggy rocks to climb

Beautiful driftwood on the beach

and colourful cabins across a lagoon

What memories came flooding back - of my sister and I clambering over the rocks, sitting in low branches of the windswept Garry Oaks, admiring the driftwood shelter likely built by some enterprising kids (and still there today!), watching the boats pass by on their way to the harbour.

I remember, too,  getting our feet wet as we tried to navigate our way over to Shack Island, attracted by the colourful cottages. (At  low tide this is possible; but neither during our visit back then or my more recent one, was the tide low enough).

 Shack Island is a rocky rise of land in shallow waters separating Piper's Lagoon from Neck Point, another fabulous Nanaimo park.  The cottages have a long history, according to several internet sources.  Once used by fishermen nearly a hundred years ago, the very rustic buildings (no water, sewer, or electricity) are still used today by the descendents who carefully maintain them.  They may pass them on to their own family members but may not rebuild them. The land itself is owned by the municipality.

Making memories

Those families, no doubt, have wonderful stories to tell and memories to share.  My visit with my mom and my sister many years ago was short but left indelible images in my mind, and I am so glad I found this park again last February.

Had my sister lived, she would have been seventy this week - how fitting it is that the first of my "Throwback Thursday" posts be of memories I shared with her - memories that last.


Marie said...

How wonderful to read of one of your travels with your sister to such a lovely spot.
Thanks for sharing this, Jean, I really enjoyed it and I look forward to more precious memories.

Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful that you found the lagoon again Jean. Looks like a lovely place.
Anytime you want to re-visit it again give me a call.


Erika said...

Wonderful post and memories.