Childhood Recollections of Days at the Beach

Spend Some Time at the Beach!

“She sells seashells down by the seashore!” I don’t think that I have ever gone to the beach as an adult without this phrase crossing my mind. When I was a child I loved tongue-twisters and found this one particularly amusing. Of course, it might be that I can practically hear my mom stating it whenever we went on a beach vacation. Having grown up in Georgia, it was not uncommon for us to make at least one visit a year—sometimes in the off season others at peak times- to visit the coasts of Florida and Georgia.

I have many great memories of riding the waves in to the shore and laughing with delight as the waves pummeled my sisters and I to ocean floor (of course, we were only allowed to go out about waist deep) so there was little fear of truly being in over our heads. My younger sisters and I loved to try to race the waves back to shore where we could spend hours playing in the sand and building sand castles. As we got older, our interest in beach activities changed, but one thing remained the same...we still love the rush of feeling the sand between our toes and watching the waves come crashing to the shore.

Since we had family that lived along the Florida coastline, we had the privilege of visiting many of Florida’s beaches, but our favorite place to go was Destin Beach. The sand at the Destin Beach, as well as several other beach towns in the area, is nearly pure white. As kids, we loved to pretend it was sugar and would “bake” cakes and cookies to serve to our parents, in addition to building our glistening sand castles.

If we weren’t riding the waves or building sand castles, then we would run about down the beach looking for the prettiest shells we could find then put them in our bucket. Since my parents loved to garden, many of our shells end up as garden decorations/borders while others would be saved for school and craft projects. Other great fun was had diving for sand dollars. Dad wouldn’t let us bring home the ones we found in the ocean, but any found dried out on the beach were fair game.

In the evening on our Destin beach vacations, we would play putt-putt golf and then head to an ice cream parlor. My dad “always” has to have a bowl of ice cream each night and we discovered an ice cream shop called the Silver Scoop that sold a waffle cone that you could choose up to 7 scoops of ice cream for. Being budget conscious, dad would order that and our family would choose our favorite flavors to share.

Other evening fun at the beach was looking for sand crabs and feeding the sea gulls. Mom taught us how to look for the small holes in the packed sand and then stomp the ground so that the crabs would appear. My sisters and I loved to chase the little crabs and would try to catch them before they burrowed back into the ground.

Yes, times have changed, and now I’m the one taking my kids to the beach. And while, Destin Beach is a long drive, we still have the beaches here in North Carolina. My kids have learned to ride the waves, love to chase the sand crabs and are pursuing activities like boogie boarding. The beaches are not nearly as white as those in Destin, Florida but the fun and pleasure derived by a day at the beach is still some of the best around.

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