Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Vacations

Vacations are pretty much synonymous with summer. So many people take off to their favorite fun, relaxing spot at some point during the summer months. Not this family. We don't take vacations. I don't think it was that big of a deal when the lovelies were growing up since the beach is a mere 3 miles from our front door. Closer if we draw a straight line from our backyard to the shore. So we pretty much spent every summer day at the beach, the lovelies and I.

When I was growing up, we did take vacations. And I loved them! Our recurring vacation was the annual trip to the beach. This one was the one we took with everyone- grandparents, aunt, parents, kids. We all went and we all had a blast. We stayed in the same house every single summer and we left at 4:00 AM every single year. By the time we arose, the car was packed. All we had to do was get in the car and fall back asleep for the three and a half hour trip to the Myrtle Beach area.

We never stayed in Myrtle Beach- it was just too commercial even at that time. We stayed at Crescent Beach which is now considered North Myrtle Beach. In all the years we went on this trip, we always stayed in the same house. It was a huge house right across the street from the ocean. It was a two-story monster with a row of wooden slat enclosed showers lining the back separated from the house by a wooden slat walkway. We always stayed upstairs as it was big enough for our family. The downstairs was divided into two, smaller apartments. We only stayed in one of those one year and it was the last year we went. Most of us were up in age and couldn't make the trip.

We spent every day of our week at the beach, at the beach. We awoke to a fully prepared breakfast- eggs, grits, bacon, homemade biscuits and sometimes pancakes and then headed off across the street to the ocean. After waiting the traditional hour following eating breakfast, of course. We would come back across the street, rise off in the outdoor showers and back up the stairs for lunch- usually sandwiches and chips- and then head back to the beach. Again, waiting that hour after eating to enter the water. We built massive sandcastles and had fun riding the waves on those canvas floats with the nylon ropes around the edges. Remember those? And wearing the t-shirts due to the sunburn from the day before?

Nights were spent eating a big family dinner and playing games into the night. There was not a television or radio to be had. No cell phones back then either. Just a fun, family filled week without the stress of everyday life and technology that was created under the guise of making our lives better. What in the world was better than spending time together like this?

To this day I cannot smell Noxzema without thinking of Grandmother. She smothered us in that stuff every night as it took the burn out of our sunburns. It really did help and the smell does hold memories for me.
 One night of our beach vacation was always reserved for going to the Pavilion riding rides and another was reserved for standing in those mile long lines at one of the hundreds of Calabash seafood houses. The food was so worth the wait. I still remember my Granddaddy always sat at the head of the table and, if you sat next to him, he would reach over with his fork and take a bite of your food. I loved it and never could figure out why no one else wanted to sit beside him. No matter where we were, if it was a seafood place, Granddaddy always had fried catfish. And Grandmother always started off with shrimp cocktail. I was a perch or flounder girl.

We never left the beach at 4:00 in the morning. We always left in the afternoon. We were always just a little sad to leave but we knew there would always be next year.

Until there wasn't because we all grew up and out grew family vacations. Or moved away and the miles led to distance separation. Luckily, we never let the distance in miles lead to distance in our hearts. We always visited and called and wrote letters---actual letters with actual pens and paper. And now, we know that Grandmother and Granddaddy were the best ever at creating memories. Memories that are still cherished today.   

I'm having a nostalgic summer, obviously. Sometimes, you just can't help it.

Share some of your nostalgic summer memories. 


  1. Well, first of all let me say I loved hearing about your childhood vacations and all the memories you have. It is a blessing to grow up surrounded by a loving and fun family! Our summer vacations were spent in Ontario, Canada, at a fishing camp (Nina's Camp) of Rice Lake. It, too, was the whole family. Grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts & uncles, and even my BFF and her family, one year. Going always included a stop over at Niagara Falls. Great memories.

  2. Terri- Canada is so beautiful! I've only been once and that was in grad school when I went to Toronto for a conference. A college friend lived in Rochester, NY and met me up there and we had all sorts of fun. We went to a theater- really big screen-- and saw a film about western Canada. I've never seen such beauty before. Since then, I've read so many books set in Canada and have always wanted to return.

  3. I love your reflections as a child. Yes, we used those same kind of rafts when we would go to the beach and I spent all day every day in the water. I love that your whole family went and you had such a wonderful time with extended family in the same house across from the beach.
    Such nice memories to share and to reflect back on. It is also very nice you live so close to the ocean now. That has to be heaven.

  4. Kim- It is, in most ways. The worse part is tourist season. Other than that, it's pretty dang awesome. :) Perhaps you should just hop on a plane, fly over here and find out for yourself!

  5. Noxzema definitely gives me flashbacks from my past. Your memories sound glad you got to experience that!

  6. I love fried catfish & shrimp cocktail!

    My favorite memories are those of going to my Grandparents fish camp.


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