This week I’ve been knee deep in suitcases, swimsuits and sunscreen. We are leaving for a week at the beach and it could not come at a better time. Tomorrow is the last day of preschool for my children – and for me as a teacher – and when we return I will start the Greater Kansas City Writing Project summer institute. A week on the beach is in order, for sure. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind packing to MOVE to the beach. There is something about sea air that just calms me and makes me feel like a different person. Thinking about it nearly brings me to tears. And I have to be honest, and totally cheesy, there is something so magnificent about the ocean I can hardly wait to be closer to it.
Starting when I was about 15, I spent a few summers in the gulf coast with my then best friend and her family. We spent hours and hours on the beach, coming in only to eat pimento cheese sandwiches for lunch with sliced tomatoes. At night we would have bottle rocket wars on the beach and in the water. We slept in a loft-style room full of windows and to this day one of my favorite memories is of laying still as can be on a twin bed with the window and the shades up as far as they could go. I can hear the waves crashing and smell the salty air. At the beach, the stars seem to multiply and go on forever. That beach house was completely pink. Ceiling to floor pink. Outside and inside it was pink. Even the piano was pink…and it was perfect. In the “kids” room upstairs was an old juke box that contained only a few 45s: Rod Stewart singing “If You Think I’m Sexy” and Dr. Hook and the Cover of the Rolling Stone singing “You Make My Pants Wanna Get Up and Dance”. Why I remember that is beyond me, but I do. I learned to smoke stolen Virginia Slims in that room, and at night my friend’s younger, more daring brother would steal beer for us to sip as we played cards at the pink table.
I don’t know why all those memories just came rushing back. That was certainly not what I intended to write about when I sat down tonight.
I’m looking forward to hearing the waves while I sleep with the windows open next week. I don’t care if it’s hot as hell, I get one week a year to do that and I will. I am looking forward to leaving the stress of work and school behind for a few days, but mostly to watching my girls experience the majesty of the ocean again. I’m going to be watching at night for the lights of the shrimping boats off the coast. I know when I see them that I’ll feel like I’m home again.