Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beach house memories...

Some of my fondest memories are of my family's old beach house. My mom would get everything ready and the car packed, so that when my dad came home from work around 8:00, we could hop in the car and get going. There was a cot laid in the back seat with 2 legs folded down and 2 on the floor and this crazy patchwork pillow that we used just for car trips for my sister and me. We'd start driving in the twilight, listening to the murmur of my parents' conversation and the strains of "Me and My Bobby Magee" on the 8-track. At some point, several hours later, I would wake up because there was a new smell in the car--the windows would be open and the salty air would wind itself in and around the seats and just barely ruffle my hair.

We were usually the last to arrive on a Friday night, and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles would be sitting up on the screened in front porch, waiting for my parents to carry us up, half-asleep, to the dorm room with the other cousins.

My favorite part was at night, when all of us kids had gone to bed. We slept in the dorm room, with four beds and two trundles pulled out, under posters of surfer girls in Hawaii, and, inexplicably, a poster of a ship sinking with the exhortation "Loose lips sink ships." We would climb into bed, our sheets always slightly damp from the humidity, always a little sandy, no matter how often you would try to brush off your feet before getting in, and talk and joke and giggle in the darkness, until a parent would come in and say that NOW we really had to go to sleep.

Then I would turn my head to the window, looking for the red light at the top of the water tower, listening to the sound of the waves rolling in, and to the adults--having taken over the screened in porch with a glass of wine or a martini, the red glow of someone's cigar, and their quiet conversation punctuated with sharp bursts of laughter, quickly smothered.

We have a new beach house now, much bigger and prettier and comfortable than the old. But I'd go back to the old house in a second if it also meant being able to count on having the whole family together again.


  1. Lovely memory. Family is so precious, those times together stay with you forever.

  2. I could feel the anticipation building from the first lines. I enjoyed seeing insights into your fond memories.

  3. I could feel the love in your family throughout your post. What special moments you have captured! Your description of the night is my favorite -- so many little details to perfectly capture the juxtaposed excitement and peace of being together.

  4. Wow - the description in this piece was just fabulous. I could feel and see the moments. Your description of the drive in the car and waking up to the new smells and sounds, the description of getting into the damp and sandy bed, and of the adults in the room nearby.... I could see and hear it all. Very vivid.