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Monday, February 18, 2013

Sorry, The Ocean is Closed

When my children were small, we spent the summer days at the beach club.  This sounds fancy and expensive.  It wasn't.  The beach club was owned and operated by the town.  It had cabanas which were small rooms with showers, and dressing areas.  Each cabana was shared by several families.  Only on the weekends were all members present, and sometimes not even then.  During the week it was mostly mothers, children and their guests.

We left chairs at the cabanas, but mostly the towels, lotions , toys, bottles ,food, soaps, and brushes were all brought each visit.  The facilities at the beach club included a large pool, a kiddie pool, bathrooms, showers, lots of sand, a snack bar, and the ocean.

Walking from the cabanas to the beach was a hike.  We also dragged chairs, blankets, strollers and children.  You found a spot, and hoped your kids did not need to return to the cabanas for bathroom, or injuries.  We had a particular friend who just refused to make the trip.  She would declare, " the ocean is closed".

The cabanas were rented by neighbors and friends.  There was always lots of laughter, friendship, and gossip.  Sand  water and children were a match made in heaven.  These were tanning years, skin cancer was for the future.

One morning I was down at the ocean early.  We had a brand new kite.  The beach was still quiet.  The birds squaked and fished.  The waves hit the beige sand, sea weed and sea foam was everywhere.  The water, warm and salty.  The kids were excited about flying their new kite.  I remember the breeze and sea smells, and white clouds.  I sent the kite up.  The breeze captured it, and the tail danced.  I was flooded with memories of my own childhood.

I saw someone frantically waving their hands and shouting at me.  It was a woman, sitting on a beach chair, under a big brimmed hat and umbrella.  Down came the kite.  We walked over to see what the problem was.  She told me NOT to fly the kite near her, because it was going to hit her.  We were quite a distance away.  I assured her, there was no problem, she would not be hit, and we walked away.

Again I ran with the kids, and the kite, into the wind.  It rose.  The kite was magestic, the kids joyful - could this get any better?  Two curly haired children laughing at the shore...

Then, the wind changed.  The kite fell and landed on the woman's head.  She was unhurt.  I admit I laughed  till I cried.  Sorry- they should have closed the beach that day.

This is for all the friends, and all the summers we spent at the beach!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a warm memory on a chilly, winter morning.

    My one official summer at The Cabana (Malibu), with my folks and the 4 other families that went into the venture, was when I was a teenager. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but was too old for some activities and too young for others. I sunburned so readily, not tanned regardless of creams and lotions, that luxuriating in the sun on a chaise or blanket was never an option. The water was usually too rough for swimming in the ocean, and the pools were usually too full of aggressive and unfriendly people in the adult pool and too shallow to do anything but sit with the tots in the kiddie pool.

    The personalities of the cabana club's members that summer were stand-offish and rude. The families who were part of our cabana fit with my parents, not me. The men played bridge and the women played Mah Jong. Their children either didn't come or were nowhere near my age. But I could walk along the beach, collect shells, feel the breeze, smell the ocean, watch the birds, and enjoy the warmth. I loved those walks. I also had time to read. It wasn't so bad, but not an experience that ever tempted me to look into getting my own cabana when I was an adult.

    On the other hand, much later, a couple of friends who did make that commitment gave annual cabana parties for the opening or closing of the season. Those parties were fun because our group was large (all friends), the beach was basically all ours, and we would have a barbeque.That time was joyful and inclusive of the time period you discussed, when you brought your family to the cabana. The snobs were gone and a more family and friendly atmosphere was present.

    Again, thanks for the reminder of those warm and happy moments.

    B.

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