My childhood summers were never spent at home. Seemingly as soon as school was over, we would pack up our shorts and bicycles, hitch the travel trailer to the back of the blue Chevy station wagon, and head to the beach. We spent our summers living in the camper, playing with transient summer friends, and going to the shore (that's what we called the ocean since our summer residence was in New Jersey).
don't recall ever being bored during the summer (although I'm sure my
Mom has memories of our whining) because we were always playing and
having fun. I remember a few specifics about our summers at the shore,
but those memories are piecemeal. Riding my yellow Huffy bike through
the trailer park while singing "Leader of the Pack" at the top of my lungs
with my pigtails flying in the wind is one of my strongest memories.
More than anything, I remember feeling extraordinarily lucky and happy.
has been to the beach in Florida and California. He's swum in the ocean
and has hunted for shells in the morning tide. But despite these
experiences, he has never been to "the shore," seeing the sights that
are so vivid in my childhood memories.
certainly doesn't tout the prettiest beaches. The Caribbean has the
bluest, clearest water that I have ever seen. In Florida my toes were
never cut by shells on the ocean floor. Inevitably I would always
sustain one or two puncture wounds swimming in the waters of New Jersey.
Still, despite the cloudy water and rocky and shell pitted sands, "the
shore" is special.
For some reason I am feeling drawn back to the shore
this summer. I want to walk the boardwalk, have a crack at spin art, and
eat a peanut butter sandwich dusted with wind blown sand. Pizza and
taffy bought on the boardwalk taste better than anything you can buy in a
restaurant or candy shop!
I find myself thinking about my
summers at the beach, and how lucky I was to have those experiences. At
the time it was simply what we did, and I never gave our summer
pilgrimage much thought. Now that I'm a Mom, I appreciate how fortunate
we were, and the extraordinary sacrifices my parents made to provide us
with those summers.
I'm not sure when or how, but I am
going to get to the shore this
summer. It has been years since I've walked on the familiar sand,
shells and feeling the salt water come over my foot. I know that Robby
utterly mesmerized by the lights, sounds, and smells of the boardwalk.
The odor of pizza and taffy mingling with the scents of decaying fish
and seawater is quintessentially summer and oddly comforting. Even if it
is just for a day, I want Robby to experience "the shore!"