Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21

The Shell Pendant Mystery

On the Road to Surf House

Tour Newport with Betty & David  §  Tour Providence with Betty & David

The photos are from the Library of Congress website.


Downcity, Carmen Maiocco
Newport Then and Now, John T. Hopf
All Aboard: The History of Mass Transportation in Rhode Island, Scott Molloy, Ph.D.
The Great American Candy Bar Book, Ray Broekel
St. Nicholas magazine, 1927-1928
I Hear America Talking and Listening to America, Stuart Berg Flexner

NOTES (And what's real/what's not)

•  "Kit" or "Kitty" seemed such a popular nickname for a girl in the books written in the first 20 years of the 20th century that I used it for Betty's younger cousin ("Augusta," her middle name, also seemed to be immensely popular). Priscilla is named after Cilla Lapham in Johnny Tremain, one of my favorite books. Aurelia is from Rebecca Randall's (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm) mother. Most of the other names just seemed to "pop up" as necessary: Slocum is the town in Rhode Island where my best friend used to live (she lent her married name to Dick for a surname), Fantonini is the name of the Italian company that makes manger figurines at Christmastime.
•  And Artie Dale's pseudonym makes sense when you figure out who he actually is. <g>
•  To this day you can spot an eastern Massachusetts native by the use of the word "tonic." What Kit of course fails to mention is that Rhode Islanders have a vocabulary all of their own, including "grinder" for a hero/submarine/hoagie sandwich, "bubbler" for water fountain, "gravy" for tomato sauce, and "cabinet" for a frappe, otherwise known in the rest of the country as a milkshake. (I tell my Southern husband a milkshake has milk, flavoring, and thickener; when you add ice cream it's a frappe, but he insists that's wrong. <Bg>)
•  The Newport/Portsmouth Excursion bus is of my own design, although one could certainly have existed. I patterned its look on the buses of the time photographed in the RI transportation book. The "bloomers" ran out to some of the beach locations until the mid-thirties.
•  Shamrock Cliff may have had a different name in 1928. It has since changed names when I left RI for Georgia in 1984.
•  The Reef did exist on Brenton Point back in 1928; the Budlongs later abandoned it and ideas to restore it were waived when vandals gutted the structure, then set it afire during the early 60s. Brenton Point is now a state park, although the once pristine view has been "augmented" (read "defaced") by a horrible piece of modern sculpture; the gatehouse still exists as a park center/restroom facility and the tumbledown stables are surrounded by "do not enter" tapes—I usually sneak in there anyway when I can, to imagine their former glory.
•  The Newport Casino and the shops next to it, 100+ years old, still exist and are in use today. Bath Avenue is now Memorial Drive and the bathing facility Betty saw is gone (probably destroyed by the Hurricane of '38). A newer facility exists.
•  I'm afraid Middletown for me was just a place to pass through from Newport on the way to Portsmouth and thence to Bristol, so Surf House, the town square, and anything else mentioned there is merely an invention.
•  Like Clare Roberts, my mom was a stickler that the house should be clean and the beds made before I could do anything else, or before we could go out. (If a burglar broke in Mom would have been embarrassed by a dirty house.) So I'll announce proudly that Betty's bed-making record is my own. Mom was as strict as Clare; not a wrinkle was allowed, under or on top, and the pillows did have to be plumped perfectly. I finally got the task down to 1 minute 48 seconds, but the job wasn't always pristine and usually got me glared at when noticed. <g>
•  George Burns and Gracie Allen were indeed on the vaudeville circuit in 1928, although Burns' biography Gracie indicates they spent much of the year performing in London. Still, the Majestic was formerly a vaudeville house and they could have performed there...
•  Atlanta Radio Theatre Company regular listeners will recognize the two gentlemen on the porch of Grady's store. As Betty surmised, they exist everywhere. Grady's name is a tip of the hat to both my second/fifth grade teacher and Cleary's, the dry-goods store in Cranston.
•  I wanted Betty to have the pleasure of going over the Mt. Hope Bridge, but alas, it wasn't built until 1930 and I refused to fudge. So she had a nice slow ferry ride instead. Incidentally, the Bristol Fourth of July "fete" was 215 years old this year; the oldest Independence Day parade in the United States.
•  Liggitt's soda fountain and Child's were both gone by the 1960s—a pity; both sounded like great places to eat. The Port Arthur (later Ming Garden), the Shepard's Tea Room, and the Waldorf Cafeteria survived until the early 70s. I remember and miss all of them.
•  A city councilman named Edward Bodington lived a street away from us when I was very small. One summer night he had a block party for everyone in the neighborhood. I recall nothing about the food or who was there, but I do remember the Japanese lanterns strung everywhere. They made it a magical night—and popped out here for Betty's magical night that goes terribly awry.

The Shell Pendant Mystery is ©2002 by Linda M. Young

     Go back to The Shell Pendant Mystery introduction

          Return to Top

               Back to WENNtales