And then, of course, there was the beach.
Where I grew up, in N.Y., that meant Brighton Beach. (Occasionally, people drove to Jones Beach or to Rockaway Beach but my recollections are of Brighton Beach). Laying on the sand at Brighton, one could look up and see the roller coasters and the parachute drop at nearby Coney Island.
The beach itself was divided by stations, or bays as they were called. (Bay #1, Bay #2, and so on). People had their favorite bays and clustered to them according to their particular affiliation, such as the school they attended. There was a bay predominated by Italians, by Jews, by gays.
Rather than a lemonade stand, men, dressed in casual attire, would stroll the sand, carrying their treats and shouting “get your ice cold orange-aide, get your hot knishes” (for those unfamiliar, a knish is a potato delicacy).
In June, just before school let out, blankets would be strewn with ‘Regents Exam’ study guides. Regents Exams were exit exams covering a multitude of subjects, given by the state of New York to all graduating seniors before they were permitted to graduate.
Folks arrived at Brighton Beach and Coney Island in droves to watch the 4th of July fireworks.
I recall one time in the seventies, when people were devouring Jaws, the blockbuster novel by Peter Benchley; fewer swimmers dipped their toes into the waters of the Atlantic that summer.
Speaking of the Atlantic – when I relocated to the West Coast two things struck me about the Pacific Ocean: there seemed to be more debris, rocks and shells, on the ocean floor and the water was much, much colder than that of the Atlantic.
Which ever beach is close to you, I hope you’ll be relaxing on it some time soon, placing a sea shell to your ear and listening to the ocean’s waves.
Have a great weekend whatever you do,