Summer time is THE time of the year to meet new people and find new loves. The summer people arrive as soon as school is out and stay until Labor Day. We have made them a part of our lives and when they return each year it is like our family is returning to us again. We get up early in the morning and find a bathing suit, get our bottle of iodine and baby oil ready and grab one of the old blankets Mother let's us use to lie on. Sometimes we make sandwiches and pack koolaide to take with us but most of the time we take money to spend at the Chew 'N Choke. Ozzie makes the best hamburgers in the world and has us all hooked on french fries with mayonnaise.
The music from WAPE plays loudly all up and down the strand as everyone has their radios tuned in to listen to beach music and the favorites. We all wait for a shout out from the Big Ape and a scream from the giant gorilla. We lay our blankets side-by-side until there is a long and colorful patch of squares down from the pier. The guys start to arrive as the girls get settled in for a day of sun and surf fun. They drop their surf boards and wop boards on the wet strand and find a girl to sit with.
Most of us are just friends. We see each other every summer and on holidays throughout the year. Although we live at the beach, the summer people are also considered locals. We can trust each other; friends forever.
My best friend comes from town to stay for the day. She plops down on the blanket and hands me a coke from the basket she is carrying. We talk about how excited we are that college starts in just a few weeks. We will be saying good-bye to family and friends and going on to an adult life. We laugh about all the boys we have met and dated through our summers in high school and how we "think" we have found our one true love. But by evening we have decided to go to the movies with one of our summer friends. Our boyfriends have left our mind completely.
The final week of summer comes and with it come the winds of Fall. The weather man predicts a storm; we always have a hurricane to consider on Labor Day weekend. In a few days we will begin our lives as adults. We will begin to learn the subjects that will eventually be the backbone of our trade. We have to learn to rely on our own judgement without back-up from our parents. We have a budget to work with and we have to stay within it or go hungry. On Saturday night we all go down to the dance pavillion. The beach music is playing and everyone is pairing off to dance the cha cha or the shag. We pair off and dance and finally take a last walk out on the pier for stolen embraces and good-bye kisses. Tomorrow is the beginning of the rest of our lives. Kiss our childhood good-bye.