While I was driving out to the Veterinarian office yesterday with Arnie, I was doing my darndest not to think about Arnie. So I sat thinking about the first memories I have of my sixty-two years.
My mother used to say I could swim before I could walk, which could possibly be true. I grew up a mere 5-minute walk from the ocean, on Cape Cod.
Looking back I think I was tremendously lucky because from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Mom would pack a picnic basket with sandwiches and drinks, and her latest summer novel. She would sit on her beach chair, and we would swim in an area of the beach called the kiddie pool in those early years.
Foggy weather or bright sunshine, we lived at the beach. Peanutbutter and marshmallow fluff was my favorite sandwiches, (still are, although I do not eat them) and I learned that a little sand in our lunch wasn’t a bad thing.
Me and Mel. Check out those chunky baby thighs!
Mom had to tie a rope around my waist to keep me from swimming away from shore. I would see Martha’s Vineyard across the sea and I loved it there, and thought, in all my childish ways, that swimming could get me there!
I learned that the salt on my skin felt wonderful. I learned that Seagulls will dive on you for the smallest potato chip and the waves, and body surfing them was the greatest of fun.
My cousins and their parents would come for vacation and join us on the beach. Uncle George taught me the finer points of swimming, and he would toss us in the air and we would splash into the water! Oh, what fun that was!
Mel and me. I’m the little squirt on the left!
One day I was trying to find beautiful shells, I felt something jagged under my toes! I hobbled up to the blanket leaving a trail of blood in the sand. And yes, I was crying. Uncle George picked me up and carried me to the ocean and rinsed the sand from my foot, then carried me up to the blanket. Mom said I would need to see the doctor about stitches, so Uncle George wrapped a napkin or two around my toe and he carried me all the way back to the house where my dad drove us to the doctor’s office. And yes, I did need stitches. Three if I remember correctly, and then I was bandaged up and told no swimming until the stitches came out! That was (or so it seemed) forever.
However, I made it, and looking back now, and remembering how loved and safe I felt in my Uncle George’s arms makes me so very thankful to have had such a wonderful man in my life.
I can look back, on the earliest years of my life and remember the carefree and beautiful life I had on “Old Cape Cod”.
There are more “Cape Cod Summer Tales” but for today, I will publish this and remember my summers back then with smiles and happiness.