Vacation’s Got It Together

Posted by laura on Jul 29 2008 | Holiday, Uncategorized

There’s this incredibly sharp memory I have from back in middle school or so, of a grey slushy evening in winter, probably late February or March. My body was slumped over some eye-crossing homework assignment and I can still hear my old fluorescent desk light buzzing over the pages I had to finish before bed. Every feeling from that night is as clear to me as if it were yesterday. I was dying. I was going crazy! I was somnolent. (I was not melodramatic. At All.)

In my misery, I did something any self-respecting, homework-hating, fed-up-with-winter Virgo would do. I started a packing list for the beach.

Yup. I loved those two weeks my family took at the beach each summer with such an intensity, just planning for them could pull me out of the winter doldrums. The beach was the antonym for March. It still is. We’ve gone to the same beach every summer since I was a baby, and now I take my babies. In fact, we just got back a week ago. 

It was amazing. The whole family was there, in three cottages. The six young cousins got to play together in the sand every day and sleep together almost every night. There was a morning somewhat-constitutional up to Dunkin’ Donuts with their grandparents. The beach was just four houses down the street and ridiculously well equipped with fine soft sand, low-tide pools, freezing water and a jetty with crabs sneaking around in the rocks. In the afternoons, they worked on their ski-ball technique at the arcade. It was beautiful.

There’s a slice of practically every life visible at Hampton Beach – every ethnicity, age, occupation. You can hear all different languages and some very hardy New England accents. It’s familiar, noisy and often incredibly beautiful.

When we were little, they’d release a bumper sticker each year, and they’d say things like:

Hampton Beach, NH – It’s a shore thing.

or, Sea for yourself

Summer better than others

Water way to enjoy

I’m sure Joe and Claire can think of more. Someone – my Beautiful Aunt Mary or my cousin Rosemary maybe, used to thumbtack the bumper stickers to the ceiling of one of the bedrooms in the back cottage. If I ever slept inside (instead of on the porch) I would stare up at them as I fell asleep. I wonder what I would have thought then if I could have had a look into the future and seen my youngest niece in her crib in that same spot? There’s a great photo board in the front cottage with beach photos from when my dad was a kid in these cottages up to today. It’s amazing to look at all my great-aunts and uncles out under their umbrellas and think about all our memories of the same place.

Dad and I took a walk one night over by the docks:

Hampton Beach, NH. What a setting.



1 comment for now

One Response to “Vacation’s Got It Together”

  1. Peter

    I’m glad you’re back, love the post.

    30 Jul 2008 at 11:09 am

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