Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Childhood Memories

After reading "My Semblance of Sanity" post dated today, I thought I would respond by sharing a special memory of mine. If you haven't read Michelle's post, you must close me out and go read it. She is an amazing writer and has an uncanny talent for bringing you into her world and experiencing things along side of her!

My childhood club houses were made out of leftover moving boxes for large appliances. My backyard was a cement postage stamp...not a lot of "woodsy" opportunities. It did make for easy clean up, however, of dog stuff, punch spills, and washing sand out of my bathing suit after returning from the beach.

I grew up in Southern California about 45 minutes from the ocean. During the summer months, we would drive to the beach once or twice during the week and occasionally on weekends when Dad wasn't working. There is nothing to compare with the smell of the ocean and beach. For me, it was a combination of sweet and salty. The seaweed provided the salty smell. An accidental gulp of the water reminded you that this was no backyard pool! The sweet smells from the other sun worshipers would come and go with the breezes.

Then, there was the smell of suntan lotion. To this day, when I apply sunblock, my mind is immediately transported back to the 60's at my favorite summer hangout, Huntington Beach. When our feet hit the sand, each sinking step would be slow and deliberate. We always tried to get a spot close to Lifeguard Station #16.

My mom would pack lunches for us that consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Koolaid and bananas or green grapes. Once in a while we could buy something from the snackstand. Even today, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich takes me to a place of comfort.

Jumping the waves was my favorite beach game. As the waves approached, I would jump over the top, not allowing the wave to break on me. I would only go into the water up to my knees because jumping anything deeper would have caused great distress to my body...I've never been much of an athlete...and would have provided gut-busting entertainment for anyone within 50 feet of me.

My most vivid memory is that of jumping the waves with my dad when I was about eight. Okay, so we didn't really jump, but I would sit on his shoulders and he would take me beyond where the waves were breaking. The water would be up to his shoulders. I would squeal with delight as the waves began to swell, hoping that Dad and I would be able to jump up before they broke. Once in a while, the waves broke on us, but my dad stood fast and held me tight. I was never washed away!

We would always return to our towels (which had been shaken to remove the sand we kicked on them earlier). Mom would wrap me up in my towel, and let me sit next to her while I dried off. Sometimes, I would slowly sink to a prone position and sneak a little nap in while she happily read her spy novel. We would usually start the trip home around 4:00p.m. in our lovely Chevy stationwagon. Once home, it was straight to the backyard and everyone was hosed down to get the sand off of us. The water from the hose was always freezing cold! After a warm bath and hairwash, we dressed and played until dinner!

I go back to the beach...in my mind...as often as possible.

2 comments:

Chris H said...

Awwww that's lovely! I remember being hosed down with freezing cold water too..kinda took some of the fun out of it if you ask me! I hate being cold!

Tracy said...

Thank you for sharing your memories and for writing them in a way where I almost felt as if I were there. Those days sounded like wonderful days!