Saturday, July 3, 2010

Seashells and Transisters

There is just something about the beach along the river that is magical to me. My family and I were at a homeschool graduation party on one such beach lately. Lots of people, food, fireworks and celebration of one young man's very hard work completed. People from a few weeks old to those in their eighties were together. I've never been to a grad party like that before. The warmth of the fire, laughter of teenagers out on the river, the hum of boats and the glorious covering of the starry sky cast it's spell on me again.

We lived on the beach as kids. The same tranquility was felt then, but with much more excitement in my ignorant bliss of childhood. We spent long hours in the narrow length of woods along the beach building forts...houses really, with many rooms filled with log couches, rock tables and floors swept clean to earthy, brown carpeting. Nature provided everything for the domestic details a young woman desires. A clay hole near the water provided moulded and dried bowls and plates (and sometimes body paint). I even remember a broken rock in the form of a telephone, and tree roots which were divinely shaped into a spiral staircase of three steps leading to the upper level of our homestead.

My "first kiss" involved a leaning old tree who was Rob Lowe one day and John Schneider on another...whispering sweet nothings into its bark. I have two wonderful sisters and Mim who shared my creative endeavours and whose chronic laughter appreciated my silly imagination. I also have a dear "sister" friend who shares these memories and added MUCH to the dreaming and pretending I was a slave to. They are like treasure boxes, holding secrets and gems of experiences, locked away, but always there for nostalgic pondering.

Funny, I don't recall any cell phones, video games or Internet getting us through the day. Our attention was totally centered on exploring, swimming, sunbathing, creating and talking...a lot of talking and singing. All we had for technology was a little transistor radio which played "It's Hard to say I'm Sorry" and "Love Rules" over and over as we lay beside the beach fire, wishing we didn't have to end the night and walk home to bed. A tent soon went up on the beach so that broken engagement with the night sky would not have to happen again. Short trips to the house for food and hard wood kept Mom informed and content. No email, just long hard shouts or twitters of short messages from beach to house kept all parents involved updated on our "status". One neighbor even had a big seashell that they would blow into as a signal for their daughter to come home. Everyone knew the signal, and there was no opportunity for argument or debate with that shell Teen magazines kept us stocked with pictures of Springfield, Leif, Ponyboy, Dillon, ...who am I forgetting?? We each had our favorite "friends" added to our imaginary profile...some deleted and some added as our loyalty swayed. It was a brief time of getting to know the world, God and ourselves. We weren't trying to figure out who who wanted to be yet, just enjoying the present and dreaming of what was ahead.

Sure, times have changed as far as activities and opportunities are concerned, but human nature is the same. Kids are still kids and one needful thing we, as big people, can give them is lots of time interacting with the real world. They need to form some kind of relationship with it, attach themselves to it in a healthy way. Unplug for awhile and live in the real world, face to face with people and nature. How grateful I am for that childhood, those friends, that little radio, my grand imagination and the great outdoors.

The summer has just begun...make the best of it :)

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