I often reflect back on my childhood and reminisce about growing up on the beach strip. I appreciate now what I took for granted as a kid. What was a vacation or getaway place for many people, was a place I called home. The beach was literally my backyard. We only had to walk about 200 feet and we were on the beach.
Life on the beach is quite different than life in the throngs of a big city. On the beach, there is space, silence and even solitude depending on the time of year, or even the time of day. I used to walk from our home to the farthest end of the shoreline and soak in the sounds and beauty of the sparkly water. I loved this alone time. I could escape from any drama and get psychologically refreshed.
I enjoyed the feeling of the water gently flowing to and fro over my feet. I always looked back to see my imprints and watch them slowly disappear with each wash. First thing in the morning was the best time to walk because it was cooler and there were fewer people.
We lived in our bathing suits and spent our days on the beach during the summer months. There was always a lifeguard or two and a buoyed area for kids. We didn’t have a volleyball net or anything like that, so we either tried to build sandcastles, relaxed in the sun, hang out with our friends, or pretend we were pirates. Life was simple back then.
We’d also watched cargo ships, sailboats, catamarans, jet skiers and a multitude of canoers enjoy the calm waters or master the wind and choppy water depending on the day. Our neighbor was a boy scout leader and had about a dozen canoes in his garage. He’d take his troop out for canoe lessons and fun quite often. We could borrow them anytime, but I liked staying close to shore.
There is also less fun things to deal with when you live on the beach. Many mornings there would seaweed and other debris washed ashore, so a crew of people would clean it up during the peak season. It wasn’t uncommon to see towels, shoes, radios, sunscreen, lawn chairs, money and keys forgotten by tourists and never reclaimed.
There was also food and garbage that a few thoughtless people would leave behind from the day before. As you can imagine, this upset those who lived along the beach. Many homeowners would go around and clean the area behind their homes. But honestly, it was a little thing to keep our beloved beach clean.
The misty air, the smells, the sounds and the warm sand between my toes are things I wish I could experience every day again. I loved growing up on the beach. If only I could go back.