When I think back on my childhood, there are lots of things I remember clearly. Like, getting a Glow Worm for Christmas when I was 3 or4. Or swimming in the pool at an old mom and pop hotel in Charleston, SC with my mom. Even the horrible day that we came home to a fire truck in our driveway and watched as our house burned to the ground. Those are the things that are burned into your memory forever. Even when I’m 85 I’ll still remember the feel of the cool water in that pool and how it smelled of chlorine and Sundown Sunscreen (with PABA!).
Luckily for me though, I get to relive some of my childhood memories each year when my entire family takes off to North Myrtle Beach, SC for an entire week. It all started when, after my mother’s first heart attack, she decided that we all needed to get away for a week each year. And thus the Family Vacation to the Beach began! My parents, both sisters, my sister’s best friend and a fluctuating cast of characters that changed from year to year. Most of the wonderful memories of my youth are in some way associated with that trip.
For anyone that has been on a trip like that, the vacation doesn’t begin when you arrive at the beach house– the trip begins back in January when you begin looking for that perfect vacation home. Mom would get that little book from White Realty in Myrtle Beach every year about the middle of January. And the race was on! Some houses are too small, others too expensive; this one’s ocean front, that one is a fifty mile walk to the ocean. So and so didn’t want to share a room this year with such and such. We would wheedle and go back and forth and argue about the house for a good 4 months before finally deciding on the same one we went to the year before. Since my mother’s passing, we’ve continued this tradition– even down to the wheedling over the house.
Its interesting how people get into routines and before you know it– its a tradition. We find ourselves going to the same places each year and we actually feel like something is missing if we don’t. I can’t take a trip to Myrtle Beach without spending an afternoon wandering around Barefoot Landing, shopping for teeshirts and the perfect ice cream cone. You have to smear down with sunscreen and go out to the beach from 11am to 1pm every day and then come in for lunch. Night time has to be a steady diet of home cooked meals followed by a tour of every ice cream parlor on the Grand Strand and finally when you’re so stuffed you can’t stand it– you stay up til 2am playing cards and drinking fruity concoctions laden with coconut rum.
Some people wonder why I have such an affection for summertime. I mean, I live in South Carolina which in high summer is roughly akin to the gates of Hell. But in summertime, we get to be a kid again. You can’t go home again, but you can go to The Beach.