“Backyard” by Helen E. H, Madden, date unknown, probably late 70s or early 80s
I don’t know why I drew this picture. This is my backyard, or rather, why was behind my backyard, when I was growing up. We lived very near the Chesapeake Bay and we had a canal that ran behind all the houses on our side of the street. Every house on the canal had a small boat dock, and we actually had a sailboat for many years. I think we may have gotten rid of it when it capsized on my dad one time. I can’t recall. I do recall Dad let my sister and I name the boat and we called it “Butterfly.”
I remember when my mom saw this drawing, she said it was our backyard at low tide. The water did get pretty low then, but that’s not what I was trying to draw. The lines in the water that run under the cock in the mid-ground were actually meant to depict the area of water that reflected the sun late in the afternoon.
My sister and I used to swim in this canal. It was salt water, very muddy on the bottom, and could fill up with huge jellyfish at a moment’s notice. We always had to wear shoes when we swam in the canal, because the bottom was littered with mollusk shells that could cut our feet open. But the mud was very sticky and I lost a lot of shoes in that canal.
Some nights, when I dream, I dream about going out on our dock and getting into the little dinghy we used to own. Then I row out into the bay and I can’t figure out how to get back. I don’t dream this often, but it’s both scary and kind of cool when I do. I miss being able to just row away in a little boat.
Anyway, this is a drawing of my old backyard.