My parents bought the beach house when I was just a kid. And while they’ve sold house after house over the years, and even divorced themselves, the beach house remains. Ocean City has changed, the drive has changed, and even the decor inside the house has been altered over time…but still, the beach house brings back memory after memory after memory.
It was here that I wrote my first short story and showed it to my mother, who said I was a good writer. It was here that my sisters and I went fishing and crabbing with my dad. We spent days at the pool, building forts in the small clubhouse. We returned from the beach and were careful not to track (too much) sand inside. We met up with friends and family at the beach house. I remember Aunt Mary burning her shoes on the empty lots next to ours (now filled with more condos and houses) after quitting an awful waitressing job. I can still almost hear my dad trudging up the stairs when he’d arrive on the weekends, after we’d been there with my mom all week. My grandfather is floating in the ocean and making dippy castles out of sand and water. I can almost feel the excitement from a boardwalk night. I see cousins, remember the TV shows we watched on early mornings and after beach trips, recall the disappointment of a rainy day.
Of course, I wonder how many of these memories are actually my own, and how many have been compiled from years of stories and nights reminiscing. And even those moments have become memories of their own.
So here I am now, sitting out the beach house (wishing I was drinking coffee but unable to find any) with my three girls. We had a week with no plans, and I thought I’d like to bring them here, just the four of us. I wonder if one day, when they’re reminiscing about their childhoods with their own friends and family, if they’ll have the same memories of this place that I do.
I hope so.