I learned to swim when I was three years old in the Weir River in Hull. I remember pulling periwinkles off the rocks and filling up big buckets of them to bring home. Our neighbor, Mrs. Merlino, would cook up a batch of them with tomato, onion, spices and secret ingredients to create what my father declared was “delissimo escargot.” I’d design necklaces or little wooden plaques with the leftover shells. The Merlino’s front door was painted a beautiful aqua blue with a large pink rose painted on it and their garden was breathtaking.
At the “big beach” after a storm, at low tide, my siblings and I would accompany Dad with steel rakes and buckets to dig up sea clams that my Mom would make into the best chowder you’ve ever tasted. Afterwards, I would paint beach scenes with sailboats on the humongous leftover shells. Walking the beach, collecting shells and sea glass was my favorite pastime, that is of course, when I wasn’t in the water. After my First Communion, which was in April that year, I ran down the ramp and jumped into the icy Atlantic in my white Communion dress. Guess I must be one of the original “Drowned Hogs.”
I studied art and education at Emmanuel College and dabble in drawing, painting and photography. During last winter’s monumental snowstorms I dug out my shells and sea glass and started making my “shell creations.” One of them, “Shellabration”, was in the Hull Lifesaving Museum’s Sea & Sky Art Show last year. The shell creations are also on display at the Nantasket Beach Resort Hotel. The designs take on a life of their own. I hope you enjoy them as much as I love creating them.