Thursday, June 26, 2008

Keeping my head above water!

I've been quite busy with wholesale orders and spring trade shows (Boston Gift Show and the National Stationery Show), and am just now starting to get my head back bove water. This week and next are looking to be quite busy, and then I'm *hoping* to have a little down time over the 4th of July long weekend, and some time to enjoy the start of summer! I've been busy printing mermaids, lobsters, crabs and other sweet beachy cards for a few months now, which has made me so in the mood for summer.

I'm a beach girl at heart - my "win the lottery" dream is a little beach cottage in New England. Nothing grand. 1 or 2 bedrooms, kitchen, bath, living room, a deck where I can sit and have my morning coffee, and an outdoor shower. Just love taking a shower under the stars!

My first trip to the beach I was around 2 weeks old. My family spent summers camping at Hammonasset beach in Connecticut (until I was 12). I was born in the summer... so it was off to the beach for the rest of the summer. We lived in a trailer and a tent for the entire summer, as did many of my aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends. It was nothing fancy. Really. There was running water (cold only) to a faucet shared with the surrounding lots, and the occasional shower stall along the side of the road (again, cold water only, unless you took a shower mid-day, and got the water that was in the pipes and heated by the sun), and outhouses. The old fashioned kind (buckets, no flushing). When we were really little our baths were taken in a 3 foot round galvanized tub, with water heated in kettles on the stove. It was one of the few things we used the gas stove in the trailer for - cooking was mostly done on the charcoal grill. These days I prefer a few more amenities, but at the time it was heaven - the best childhood you could ever want!
My parents, brother and I shared our lot with my grandparents and aunts and uncles. The moms and kids spent all week at the beach, and the dads came on the weekend - this was back in the day where most of the moms didn't work (or worked in the school and were off when the kids were off). My parents and grandparents slept in the trailer, and my brother and I did when we were really little. As we got older, we moved out to the tents with the single aunts and uncles.

Things were so simple. We rode our bikes everywhere and our moms didn't worry about where we were. Every day we went to the beach. All of us kids rode our bikes, and the moms loaded everything we needed into a wagon (along with any babies) and took it to the beach. If we left the beach for any reason during the day, we just left all of our stuff there... nobody took it. We went creek jumping. (Ok, that was one of the few things we weren't supposed to do, but my adventurous cousins always took me.) We gathered shells, made sand castles, and buried ourselves in the sand. We swam and swam and swam. And we took swimming lessons. One night a week was kids movie night. We rode our bikes to the pavilion, sat on picnic tables and watched a movie. Parents didn't come.
We cooked on a charcoal grill all the time... on weekends we even had breakfast on the grill (dad would cook bacon and eggs on a big griddle on top of the grill.) We had an awning and a deck outside the trailer, and ate all our meals there.

There were no phones. Funny, I just realized that now. There must have been pay phones somewhere, but I don't recall. It just wasn't important. Remembering this simple living has really made me think about what's important. It was all about family and friends, fresh air and sunshine. Now that I've reminded myself, I hope to recapture some of that in the coming summer days!
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