My family has a beach house that my grandfather bought in the early 1940s. It is where my parents went on their honeymoon, where Husband stopped being Boyfriend and became Fiance. It was two separate apartments with a garage and is now two large apartments with two large kitchens and four bathrooms. It is where my father taught me how to cross the street (three times, look left, right, left. It’s clear. Cross). It is where life changes and chapters started anew. It is a lovely cottage that we call home and, as a family, make memories. Ford calls it “Woo-D’s beach house.” Martha calls it a girl’s weekend. I call it a memory.
For the past four years our beach cottage has been living in my mind with a husband too busy to take a weekend for ourselves- but rather, sacrificing for the family and spending time either together or with either set of parents accomplishing any much needed project around the house. My pea pod walls, 1950s stove, awesome folk art and white hospital bed have only been tokens of the past.
Now that we have time (that word being used loosely) we lack convenience- 1513 is a lengthy 8 hours away; it might be 6, either way- the point is, it ain’t a weekend trip. Putting our beach cottage on a shelf, we move forward and work to make DC home, complete with vacations.
What a difference 10 miles can make in a vacation. 10 miles north of Bethany is OCMD-- where the drunk fall & the stupid prevail. 10 miles south of OCMD is Bethany Beach, where the restaurants have high chairs, no one offers jell-o shots with waffles, and families are awake before noon.
LMC was in love with our rental-- the Bikini Bottom. The Bikini has two stories. Bikini Top (top floor) and Bikini Bottom (bottom floor) broke ground in the early 40s with yellow asbestos tile, an outdoor shower and an instant feeling of home. No dishwasher, one tiny bathroom, and windows throughout- we walked in and knew this is where we will call “home” away from our “home” when we need to get away from the city.
Sand in our toes and wind in our hair, the Cagle girls set out to find the birdies. Unbeknownst to the elder Cagle girl, LMC had pocketed small rocks in her Georgia pocketbook. As we quietly snuck up on the seagulls, readying to pounce, they heard LMC giggle and put their wings in motion.
“Wait, Birdy! Wait! I feed you! I feed you!”
She had pulled the rocks from her pocketbook and was trying to feed the birdies with them. Hot in pursuit, the wings gave them a slight advantage over the running two year old.
We built sandcastles as she was more afraid of the water than she has been of her shadows. Having conquered the shadows-- quack quacks we call them now-- I scooped up the ‘fraidy cat and was determined she would love the water as much as her mother by trips end.
Toeeessss in. OUT!
Twenty minutes later, only a mother has patience like this, she did not want to leave the freezing waves and gleefully screamed with each crash, “Ma-MEE! Wook! Wook! LODER! Fun!”
Yes, baby, it is fun.
We collected rocks as seashells are not as prevalent on the Delaware coast and LMC surprised me with a rock in the shape of a heart. Husband said, “E- tell her what you told me.”
“Hap-pee, Ma-Mee. Love.”
Sweet potato, I’m happy too.
Lunch and dinner on the screened in porch, two daily trips to the beach-- one with a cooler and one without, seafood on the grill, and a sleepy sandy baby tucked in each night, it reminded me why I love the sticky salt air.