We have shells scattered around our garden.

And drift wood and sea glass.

Treasures from the beach.

Some from distant beaches.

Physical memories carried home.

The beach? To me, an Aussie girl, golden sand, more crab balls than you could ever count, wet sandy toes, sand castles & forts, boogie boards, rock pools, shells galore, smooth pebbles, piles of seaweed, sometimes smelly, sunscreen, burning sun, Nan’s cheeky smile, family.

My Nan lived in a coastal town on the north coast of NSW, Australia.

She was an incredible lady, beautiful like a movie star and so loved. A constant stream of visitors, friends and family from near and far.

All my memories of Nan are stored safe, not deep or under lock and key, but close to the surface, neatly filed, in view, for easy access.

I remember her house, Market Street, when I was little, the street a small strip of bitumen with wide sandy verges and a lovely green front garden. I remember the grape vine that climbed from the fence, over the car port and above the ramp toward the back door of the house. I remember the orange vinyl chairs around the table in the small dining room, but mostly I remember Nan and her smile. Also Great Uncle Horrie and his clever dog, Dog. On request Dog would fetch Uncle Horrie’s cigarettes! Their cheeky smiles and laughter sparkled eyes.

In the later years of her life, every time I left her, driving down the highway back to Sydney I’d cry, cheeks soaked with tears of sadness and fear, afraid of the day I’d lose her.

It was a sad sad day when we did.

But we haven’t lost her, she’s in our hearts, forever.

From here I’m going to skip ahead a couple of years, to a family reunion. Nan’s house hadn’t sold, it had been rented out and was now sitting empty. Legend has it that Nan came to my brother in a dream and suggested he buy her house and turn it into a holiday house for the family.

He did.

Since then, most Easters from when my little girl was a toddler, we’ve gathered at her house.

Just like we did when we had Nan and Uncle Horrie, we sit on the porch in the morning sun, with our cups of tea and local newspapers. They are with us in the warmth of the sun, the smell of the salt air and the sound of the waves, calling us to the beach, from just a few short blocks away.

And we see them in the faces, gait and smiles of our aunts, uncles and cousins as they walk toward us down the path to the house.

Family. Home.

The beach.

Have a wonderful day!

19 thoughts on “Shells

  1. What nice memories. I’m happy for you and your family that you have kept up the beach house and gather there. I see my father in the face of my youngest grandson. Little flashes of memory. Have a lovely day.

    • Isn’t it remarkable to see family resemblance and traits down the generations. Such a privilege to be a member of a family. Feel very blessed. Wishing you a lovely day too.

  2. What a beautiful post. Left me in tears as I too remembered my gorgeous father Horrie, Aunty Lorna and the love and laughter in Market St. Thank you Arwen

    • Market Street, a house full of love and laughter. I love it. So so true. Haven’t we been blessed. ❤️❤️❤️

  3. I am a new member, having recently joined after reading your guest post on the Kitchen’s Garden. I really appreciate your writings, picutres and love your beautiful family memories.

  4. Thank you Arwen- as long as there are people to remember they are still alive. Lorna has a lot to still teach me. Love your posts!

  5. Hi Arwen! I, too, loved your post from Celi’s blog and wanted more! And today’s post is beautiful! I feel my mom with me always, so I feel that I have not really lost her. And I see her in my own actions and those of my brother and sisters. it’s wonderful! Loved ones stay with us always! 🙂

    • I feel so blessed that Celi has introduced me to her readers. So happy to meet you.

      That is exactly how I feel about Nan, she’s here with me, always. 😃

    • Aren’t we lucky? And for it to hold all that history. So blessed. Thank you Carol 😃

  6. To l I’ve in lives we leave behind is not to die. Lovely post. I also arrived here from Celi’s blog.

  7. When I ran my Making Memories course, one of my quotes was To live in lives we leave behind is not to die. Keep your memories close and enjoy the times spent with Nan and Uncle Horrie.
    I’m a new reader having found my way here from Celi’s blog.

    • Hi Judith,
      So wonderful to have your company.
      When my little girl was born, I wanted to capture every moment, I wanted to remember everything she said and did. Every smile, so precious, every word…I wish I had started writing back then. I think ‘keeping my memories close’ is exactly why I’m wanting to write them down. I don’t want to forget a thing.
      I’m so grateful for Celi for introducing you.
      Have a wonderful day 🙂

  8. Hi Arwen, I also shed tears after reading this post.What happy memories we have of our visits there sharing a cup of tea on that front porch when travelling from south to north.
    Thank you for sharing and I look forward to your future writings,
    Xx Frankie

    • How wonderful to hear from you Frankie, receiving your message has bought tears to my eyes. I feel so blessed to have been born into this incredible family. Thank you for being there and thank you for reading my little blog. Hugs from us xx

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