Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Life's A Beach

Since we're spending today at the beach, I thought I'd share a"vintage beach blog" from May 2009, with a few updates.

I've been going to the beach since I was a little girl. Growing up in New Jersey, everyone went "down the shore" -- day trips, weekends, post-prom. You cold get away and enjoy the sunshine and ocean breezes without a passport or airline reservations; in fact, you could easily make the trip down and back in a day. It was a change of scenery, yet comforting and familiar.

Photo of Bethany Beach shoreline courtesy of my husband.
I'm not up early enough to take these shots. 
I always enjoyed going to the shore, even though I was never a beach person. I grew up in the era of bikinis and baby oil, but neither ever suited me very well. No amount of fragrant tropical preparations ever produced the promised deep, dark tan, and to this day, no sunscreen, hat or beach umbrella protects my skin completely from the inevitable "healthy glow" brought on by a day at the beach. Fortunately, I've learned from experience, so these days, I return home more carnation pink than lobster red.

These days, the beach is the Delaware shore, the family I travel with is my husband and my daughter, and our destination is a condo in the same complex we've stayed at for eight years. It's beautiful and spacious, with a loft that my daughter claimed as her own back when she was about seven. One summer, when she was anxious about sleeping up there alone, she rotated between her "apartment"and the downstairs guest room. The following summer, she displayed no such hesitancy, having grown fond of the television that sat at on the dresser at the foot of bed, and succeeding summers brought the addition of teenage traveling companions that kept things fun and lively for all of us.

The condo is a far cry fro the places I stayed at the Jersey shore when I was young. Back then, it was a hotel efficiency with an outdoor pool (my husband, daughter and I did that one summer as well); later on, my accommodations were the top floor of a beach house belonging to my high school boyfriend's grandparents. Both were grand places as far as I was concerned, because I was down the shore, surrounded by family and friends.

Photo: DMedina via Morguefile
Now, as I lay back in my beach chair, I realize that other things have changed, too. The scents of coconut and sea spray are still ubiquitous, but if someone lights a cigarette, heads turn to sniff out the source. Beautiful, bikini-clad bodies, many with piercings in places too painful for me to contemplate, still decorate tropical-print beach towels, but now a rainbow of umbrellas surrounded by a covers the shore. In some places, there are even tents and canopies, providing shade and respite for babies, grandparents and sun-sensitive people like me. The surf still pounds -- powerful and rhythmic -- now unaccompanied (mostly) by the bass of competing radio stations. Instead, personal music devices of every ilk supply individualized accompaniment to beach goers as they read, nap and sunbathe.

This summer, we're in a first-floor unit for the first time. Like the ones we're used to, it's spacious and has the screened-in patio that I love. There's no loft, though, and if my daughter were traveling with us, she and her friend would be in a room with a trundle bed. Not sure how that would go over. My guess is that they'd probably just take over the living room, which would have ruled out the chair-hopping I did last night from the love seat with my iPad to the reading chair with my book, much like Goldilocks, or my daughter the summer she wasn't so sure her "apartment" was for her.

Like daughter, like mother.

Photo: pippalou via Morguefile

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