This 1800's painting has similarities to the Cowrie Point area, particularly the rock formation on the left, with the ocean and beach in the background.
Cowrie Point, Tasmania was a small cove with summer homes called "shacks" owned mostly by residents of nearby towns. These were simple dwellings designed for temporary summer living, but occasionally there were year-round occupants like my family. We spent the lonely, dark winter months indoors away from the cold wind and rain, when there were no tourists or holiday visiitors.
In the mornings I walked the empty beach before the day got underway. With no one around the area all those months, I felt I owned a piece of oceanfront property.
A little bit of warm air indicated spring was near, and I saw something from a dream.
As I came to the end of the path leading out onto the ocean rocks, a young woman in a long blue-gingham dress was walking on the low-tide wet sand. Her long, dark hair was covered with a wide brimmed white picture-hat tied with a light blue satin ribbon.
At that time in history, fashion had left the sweet dresses of the 1950's; the severe designs of the 1960's were now prominent, though longer lengths were not popular yet. Long dresses like Kathleen's light blue gingham had not been worn as daywear for several decades and were only read about in historical fiction. This young lady's dress, hat and her smooth, graceful way of walking was like something out of a 19th century painting. To a young girl like myself who was attracted to "pretty," the scene was angelic.
As we we came upon each other, we stopped to talk. I asked her where to find long dresses like the one she was wearing, and she told me she had sewn the dress herself, using a pattern. The dress was peasant-style with long sleeves and a ruffle at the wrists.
Her name as Kathleen, and the reason she was wearing this dress and hat while walking on the beach, was due to her skin being so sensitive to the sun, but also that she thought ladies should dress modestly. I admired her willingness to say it outright, especially during a time when modesty was being abandoned by the public. She was 20 years old and I was 16. Her skin was soft and smooth, no doubt from her careful shielding against the harsh elements, and her eyes were a picture of innocent contentment.
I saw her several times more in similar dresses of various pastels. She said, "Although I am not dressing like this for attention, girls need to realise that people appreciate them wearing long dresses more than pants and masculine clothing. They get a lot more attention in a pretty, modest dress."
The year was 1967. I wish I could remember every word she spoke to me on that subject and that I had kept a correspondence going with her so that I might know how her life went, and what became of her. All I have is that clear and wonder-filled vision in my mind of her walking lazily on the beach in the pretty blue-gingham dress. She looked like someone from another era.
Sometimes we do not think our ways and our beliefs and example matter much or impact anyone, but it may touch someone many years later when the memory visits them. I see the picture of Kathleen so clearly, I believe I could sketch it from memory.
On the left side on this photo, below, lies the house where Kathleen stayed the summer I saw her on the beach. It is the white one with the gray roof just facing a private little cove of Cowrie Point. You can see it there to the left of the house wirh the red roof.
This is an areal view of Cowrie Point. It is hard to indentify things as so much has changed in 45 years, but I think the blue house may be the one my parents owned and where we lived in the 1960's.