Return to Wellfleet Phyllis Reilly Memoir

remove_red_eye Return to Wellfleet

by Phyllis Reilly

Published in Issue No. 266 ~ July, 2019

It is evening, and we are going to watch the Lunar eclipse at Cahoon’s Hollow. I can only face this place in darkness — the texture of the beach unchanged beneath my feet. Past summers spill over into the night. Summers, when I was part of a family. Like Steinbeck’s Joad’s, our Red Subaru piled high with linen and luggage —every possible necessity for a month at the shore. Along the way, we counted the out of state license plates, played I spy, sang the same songs, listened to a Beach Boys tape that filled the car with adolescent lyrics and forever memories.


Off to Wellfleet, where every day was a gift of leisure filled with sunsets observed from our deck. Freshly showered bodies with a soft orange glow from Bain de Soleil. A sky with red and purple dancers, like floating sprits performing just for us —a perfect family portrait, the envy of everyone who knew us.


But played out in the backstage of my life was the planning, the packing, and unpacking, the picking up and putting away—mountains of laundry that grew in every room waiting for me to make them disappear. The constant monitoring of blonde babies, that ate sand and peed on my leg. The novel I started two years ago, still unfinished, my straw hat hiding me from stranger’s eyes.


It is the child time I treasure the most — the sweet walks with tiny trusting hands folded into mine. The endless search to capture a crab, collect the guppies, and find the perfect shell. The fresh scent of saltwater and wonder, as seen through my children’s eyes to discover a childhood that was never mine.


The moon moves behind the earth. The ocean froths like a dark monster smiling against the shore. Searchlights move across the sky in an endless rhythm played out in a past where nothing was as perfect as it appeared.

The scent of freshly made fudge, handmade crafts, shops with antique pins.

Victorian mourning rings with a lock of some lost loved one’s hair.

Penny candy that cost a dime.

The newspaper unread, used to wrap Lobster remains.

Lunch on the marshes.

Cold beer on the beach.

Drive-in movies.

Day trips to Provincetown.

Bouquets of shore lavender and babies breathe.

Bits of colored sea glass rubbed smooth by the ocean.

Meticulously collected seashells saved for a while, but in the end, left behind.

The moon moves behinds the earth, and in total darkness, everything is seen.


account_box More About

I am seventy-five years old and have recently returned to writing after a ten-year absence. I started the Croton Writer’s group two years ago and have been working on my memoirs. My poems have appeared in the Croton Review, Poets On, The Hudson Review and other small press magazines. I am currently writing flash non-fiction, short stories and creative non-fiction. A novella that started as creative non-fiction has become a fictional story. Only the Muse knows how it will end. Recent Publications: Flash Fiction Magazine: 2018 May edition Brevity Magazine: 2018 May edition Ponder Review: 2018 June Edition Volume 2 Issue 1