Salt Water Farm:
Memoir of a Place on Great Bay
by Dorothy E. Hazzard
This is a humorous story of a time long gone and real people, set against the backdrop of "one of the last great places," as Great Bay was called recently by The Boston Globe. The author lived on the edge of Great Bay in her youth and drew inspiration from her memories of the largest inland body of salt water in New England, which "still looks the same, while everything else has changed."
A Depression-scarred suburban Massachusetts couple decides never to be caught financially vulnerable again. They move their five kids to an abandoned farm on Great Bay in Greenland, New Hampshire, to live off the land if they have to. But they are amateurs, not real farmers. Pretty soon animals rule. Their farm is over run, day and night, by avid ice fishermen.
Dorothy Hazzard's vignettes will draw you into the lives of interesting characters. Meet Barbie the oldest daughter, sister Sue, Grampa the poet in the attic, Mother the reluctant flapper, Father the Portsmouth Navy Yard machinist turned Harvard scholar, the babies--twin girls one year and a ten-pound boy the next--and Joan Marie, their hired French-Canadian girl. A devout Catholic, pregnant out of wedlock by a married man back in Canada, yet the family kept her on, baby and all.
Barbie feuds with her bossy grandfather who comes for a couple of weeks to help the family get settled. He stayed for seventeen years. Grampa, who could sing old songs, tap dance and write plays while attending to barn and garden, is torn between Mae West and Greta Garbo. Barbie, a stubborn kid, hates the country, the rural school, and especially the isolation. But she can't resist the big salt-water estuary behind the house called Great Bay.
An excerpt from Salt Water Farm: Memoir of a Place on Great Bay:
"What time is the tide in?" were our awakening words all summer. We programmed our days' activities around high tide, which came every twelve-and-a-half hours, an hour later each day, as though a water--breathing giant were inhaling and exhaling at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, connecting link between the Bay and the salty Atlantic.
Sue and I pitied anyone who had only fresh water to swim in. We adored salt water and thought that in Great Bay, perfection. The paralyzing chill left the icy ocean water as it rolled in over the sun-warmed flats. It was a far more agreeable temperature for swimming than at the seacoast.
The land-locked Bay was calmer, too, which meant we weren't continually slapped in the face by breakers as we splashed along, performing our repertoire of side stroke, breast stroke, back stroke, crawl and dog paddle, and then a stretch of underwater swimming until our lungs nearly exploded. We liked the taste of salt water and gulped mouthfuls.
A tale of a unique family back in the Great Depression of 1933, who carried out their escape from the city in a way few today would dare to contemplate. Discover the Great Bay of the 1930s along with this family of dreamers. The volume is illustrated with drawings by Peggy Murphy-Hazzard.
Nonfiction. 6" x 9", 172 pgs, 42 line drawings, paperback
$19.95 / ISBN 0-914339-99-0
Please proceed to Enfield Books for purchasing information.