Travelling back in time
Graham Cleary has fond memories of the year he spent in a yellow house with a green basement at 77 Wilson Street in Marystown
Graham Cleary of Seattle, Wash., spent a memorable year growing up in Marystown. The science fiction author has used the experience in one of his stories. Submitted photo
Cleary, who lives in Seattle, Wash., authors a science fiction blog, Tales of Fantasy and Adventure.
He shared his memories of Marystown in a story that bears the name of the community.
In the tale, he recalls sliding down a hill near his home and colliding with the house.
Cleary said he had heard a news story about a museum curator who over the years had stolen thousands of artifacts.
“I had been thinking for a while about how to do a story on time travel,” he said.
“So I thought, what if the guy hadn’t stolen them, but actually collected them or had received them as gifts? Then I needed a mechanism for time travel. In the process it lead to an entire reminiscence of the year in Marystown.”
Cleary says his family came to live in the town in the summer of 1973 and stayed until the end of the school year in 1974. His father had been contracted to work at a fish processing plant in the area.
“He was a marine engineer,” he said. “I’m not sure if he worked for the plant or for an engineering firm. He did hull design. What I do remember is that our freezer was always full of frozen fish and when the wind blew just right the fragrance was memorable.”
The 55-year-old said the experience differed from that of living in a larger city.
“I would have to say how remote it felt at the time (in the eyes of a 12-year-old) coming from Seattle and then how welcoming everyone was (the kids).”
Cleary said he had a sense of freedom that he didn’t have before.
“There wasn’t the fear to let kids go out and play and just wander. There was a whole lot of independence,” he said.
Looking back, Cleary said he has many great memories of the time he spent in the community.
“There was a baseball field directly across the street where the outfield fence had alternating advertising boards,” he recalled. “One of the boards had a hole in it. A home run through the hole would win you a prize – a bicycle maybe (it) seems to me. It was something from Murphy’s General Store.”
Cleary said he can also recall going down to the stream near his middle school during lunch break and catching sticklebacks.
“From there we followed the stream to an outfit that would sell fries and gravy,” he said.
He also remembers playing hockey when standing water on the softball field would freeze over and riding bikes to the dump to watch the bears searching for food.
“I remember buildings on pilings jutting out over the water and masses of purple jellyfish washing up on the rocks, just like a postcard, and it was all so accessible,” he said.