by Fran McNabb
If you’re not from my corner of the world, “The Point” probably brings up all sorts of meanings. For me and for the tightly knit group of people who grew up on the small peninsula of the Gulf Coast, the name conjures up memories from the past.
The Point, or Point Cadet as some called it, was home to several ethnic groups—Cajuns, Yugoslavians and Italians—most of whom made their living from the seafood industry. Over the years these different groups shared their traditions and food and seemed to meld together while still keeping their own traditions alive. We grew up enjoying foods from all the cultures, such as baccali, jambalaya and gumbo.
Most families had someone who worked as shrimpers or factory workers or owned neighborhood stores and cafes that catered to those families. My mother and father both were seafood workers. Dad had a shrimp boat and Mom worked on and off throughout her life in the factories. My brother and I even tried our hand at part-time work, but quickly learned that life wasn’t for us.
I love to share memories with people who grew up in that part of the world. The other day something reminded me of the “aroma” of the huge oyster shell piles on the beach. I know most people wouldn’t think of that as a good memory, but I loved it. (Thanks to Tiffany Duval for the picture. The picture comes from a time prior to my life, but the piles remained into the late 20th C.)
I love riding down the beach today thinking about what we did as children there. I smile at the memory of our moms in their big sunhats following us children who rolled truck inner tubes through the streets to get to the beach. What fun!
Most of us lived in the same neighborhood and played with the same friends for our entire school years. It was a comfortable life—not rich in material things—but comfortable because of the familiarity of the people around us, the slow rhythms of life, and the traditions that we expected. I look at our mobile society today and realize so many young people will grow up without that experience.
The Point was nearly wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, but though the landmarks might be gone, nothing can take those memories from our hearts.
Everywhere in the world has its own place like “The Point.” Where is yours? Is it in upper New York, in the desserts of the southwest, or in a small town in the Midwest? No matter where the region is, I’m sure you have special memories from your past that are distinctively yours. If you do, you can count yourself as one of the lucky ones.
Fran McNabb grew up on “The Point.” Today she and her husband live on a quiet bayou harbor, a short distance from the area. Several of her light romances are set along the beaches and island that she and her family still enjoy. She loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website at www.FranMcNabb.com