Swimming Holes

As summer squeezed spring out, swimming wasn’t far away. My earliest recollection of swimming was at Humarock Beach, c. 1940. I may have been 4 or 5. My Mom would tow me in my cart to Clarks Store.

Clarks Store c. 1940.

Her sister, Marge, let her keep a few beach items in the back room. She left the cart in the back yard, then carried the beach blanket and stuff needed to the beach with me in tow. After she set up her spot, off she would go into that bone-chilling water. I would be standing in ankle -to knee-deep water. It’s strange that I don’t remember any waves.

She wore a black bathing suit and a white bathing cap. She would float on her back and her toes stuck up out of the water.

Now, as to my remembering, this went on for about five years, much of this story is a blending of those years. My Mom, holding me in the water by the back of my bathing suit and a belt under my arms. I would thrash away in the water. Boy was it cold and salty! When I got back to the blanket, my eyes stung and my bum itched!

As I neared age 10, I could dog paddle and swim a little.

The beach trips became less with a new brother in 1943 and another 1945.

Now, nearly 12, I had some freedom to roam about. I found  friends that summered on Pine Island with the best swimming hole around. I wrote of Pine Island in my blog here: http://seaviewmarshfield.blogspot.com/2010/06/pine-island.html

The walkway and dock at Pine Island, c. 1946.

Another hole nearby was Little’s Creek at the east end of Cedar Acres. There was a deep hole that could be jumped into from high tide to about half tide. Oh yes, there was mud, and plenty of it!


The Randalls & boat at the swimming hole in Little’s Creek, c. 1910.

On occasion, I would tie a clothesline on my bike and pedal like hell down the small hill to Keene’s Pond and plunge into the water! Then as quick as I could, get out of there, as there were leeches that would cover your bare spots in short time. The clothes line end would be lying on the waters edge, so a good tug would get it back on shore. With some planning, I would be pretty dry before getting home at suppertime, Mom never knew. Oh yeah, a few months later the bike’s wheel bearings would go bad. I wonder why?

Bike riding off the Camp Milbrook docks into Chandler Pond. c. 1951.

Another good swimming hole was the Humarock side of Rexhame Beach. We would ride our bikes as far as we could into the dunes, then push them through the sand to a neat little cove.

Although not a hole, the Sea Street Bridge always made for great jumping and diving in the late 40s and 50s. At about half tide incoming to full tide made great warm swimming.

Looking NE from Ferry Street, c.1930. This was replaced in 1952.

Another bridge was at Damon’s Point. The former Old Colony Railroad, 1870- 1939. There was a section of railroad bridge on pilings out into the North River. There were three levels to jump or dive from. The highest was from the railing, next was street level, then a narrow ledge about four feet lower. It was dangerous! When the tide was outgoing, the current was fast and strong. It was difficult to get ashore and a hard climb up the rocks. Incoming and the high tide ebb was an easy swim back to the float.

One summer, two of the resident kids dragged a wicker bench to the bridge. They tied a long rope to it, got seated in it, then leaped off into the water! This was a blast! The problem was that the rope was too short. The bench would stop short just as it hit the water, and you got thrown out of it! Later, a longer rope got tied to it, then it gave you a short ride in the current. Pulling it back up onto the ledge was a challenge. Oh yes, it finally broke into pieces and floated up river c. 1951-2.

This is the Marshfield side of Damon’s Point. 7/2014.
It extended out into the river about fifty feet.
The walkway and float are to the right.

There were so many other spots, both freshwater and saltwater, that I would visit after I had my license and  a car.  Most are no longer accessible, due to being private property and developments.

”What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce”.

Karl Lagerfeld.

by Ray Freden.  Seaview/ Marshfield, 70 years.

One Reply to “Swimming Holes”

  1. Surprised you missed my favorite at North River Farms (Tracy & Betty Hatch). Often met friends from Union St there for a swim in the summer or after school in the fall. Pretty good ride on my bike from our Summer St, Marshfield Hills address. Pushing the bike uphill on a woodsy path past Donald Hagar’s onto Canoe Tree Lane shortened the distance to Pine St quite a bit. Today, Rte 3 expressway can be seen from the spot where the pier complete with diving board once was.

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