Eileen and Muriel at Salisbury – 1955

eileen-muriel-salisbury1webEileen Morey and her mother, Muriel Bernier Morey, at the flying horses, Salisbury Beach, MA (Probably around 1955)

I like this photo of my mom. It shows her still wearing her hair up, sometimes in a snood, the way she did during “the war years” when she worked at M.I.T.  She wore sharply tailored suits with very square shoulders (slightly padded), and slim skirts.  I always thought she looked very stylish.  (She didn’t cut her hair short until the very late 1950s or early 1960s, as I recall.)

On the other hand, this looks like it wasn’t one of my better days.  Bored..? Impatient..? I’m on the carousel horse. My mother is standing behind me, making sure I didn’t fall off. (I’m not sure if they had seat belts on attractions back then…)

I remember loving to go to Salisbury Beach, MA, just south of Hampton Beach, NH.  We’d go there early in the summer or very late in the season, and going on the flying horses was a major treat.  I was far too little to even try for the brass ring. (If you were able to grab it without getting off the horse, you’d get a free ride.)  Tickets were around 25 cents per ride, and that was a lot of money for my parents in those days, so if we went to Salisbury more than once or twice a year, it was a very big deal.

But, on this particular day, it looks like I wasn’t enjoying myself. And, now that I think about it, my father was probably behind the camera. I was uncomfortable around him from an early age.

In addition, I pretty much hated getting my picture taken.  Light meters, lens adjustments… neither of my parents had a “point-and-shoot” camera in those days.  Photos were always an ordeal.

By the time I was about 10 years old, Salisbury Beach had lost its charm.  The people who went there… they weren’t very nice, or so it seemed when we were there in the off-season.  So, my family stopped going to Salisbury at all.

Plus that, polio was at an epidemic level in the 1950s. My mom was on the picket line regularly, or at city hall, trying to get them to spray the swamps and marshy land at Hampton (NH) with DDT.  (DDT was controversial, but it was one of the only “sure things” to kill the mosquitoes that spread polio.)

The Salk vaccine wasn’t really popularized until around 1957, and parents kept their children at home, isolated from other (possibly contagious) children as much as possible.  Though most of us received the vaccine in school, people (including my mom) weren’t confident that the vaccine was full protection.

Polio was pretty scary.  So, a lot of my early childhood was spent at home or nearby.

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