MY CHILDREN AND I STAND IN FRONT OF A PLYWOOD BOX in Boston’s Public Garden. The sculpture of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings has been boarded over, so the walking path can be repaved without damaging it. Since so many days of my 2-year-old’s life have been spent feeding Mrs. Mallard sticks and straddling Pack, Quack, and their siblings, he keeps asking, “Where are the ducks?” His 4-year-old sister assures him the ducks are still there. But like my son, I am unnerved by the ducks’ disappearance. It has been four days since Superstorm Sandy rattled my childhood landscape; I want to be sure this touchstone for my own children is unscathed.
Born in Coney Island, I have wisps of memories of walking the boardwalk with my grandfather. We’d go past the aquarium and the Wonder Wheel and pause at the end of Steeplechase Pier, now shredded by Sandy.