Friday, July 15, 2011

I Remember ...

Our family spent this week at the beach.  That isn't unusual, as we gather every year at this time in the same house on the same beach for a week of swimming, shopping (where would we be without the boardwalk), eating, playing, and conversation.

Honestly, the beach doesn't thrill me like it used to.  With so many children to watch, it's difficult if not impossible to actually swim in the ocean.  It generally consists of getting wet up to my knees, except for one glorious 1/2 hour when I'm able to go all the way past the breakers and enjoy the ocean.  Aside from that one short extravagance, the sun is hot, I sweat like a pig, I get sand in my shorts, and I can't breathe from the heat.

However, the beach holds a place in my heart that I can't explain.  I'm drawn to it for reasons unknown to me.  It must stem from the memories I hold of family vacations when I was a child.  I remember so many things - some are vivid pictures and some are dull visions.

I remember ...
  • Dad - the typical American tourist, with a Mickey Mouse shirt, shopping bag, camera bag, BIG hat, BIGGER sunglasses, gold watch, brown socks, and wing-tip shoes.
  • Atlantic City - Mom's purse was stolen on the beach.  Didn't ruin the vacation, we just didn't get souvenirs. 
  • All the kids got kazoos at Woolworth's, and we marched down the Boardwalk humming "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know."
  • Digging for sand crabs.
  • Camping - no one was allowed to use the bathroom until the entire campsite was set up.
  • Camping on the beach in Florida
  • That place at the end of that rickety, little pier where we got fried clams.
  • Morey's Pier and Steele Pier (and the diving horse - way cool)
  • "Watch the tram car, please."
  • Mr. Peanut
  • Fralinger's taffy and Steele's fudge (I liked to watch them make fudge in the window).
  • Going out for breakfast.
  • The big rocking chairs on the porch at the Havilla (the oldest building on the island) 
    • Sitting on those big rockers, talking until the wee hours
  • Miniature golf
  • Lucy the Giant Elephant
I hope that when my children grow up, they will remember the big things and the little things we did when we were on vacation.  I hope that, even though the traditions are quite different, they hold onto the memories and pass them on to their children.

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