Every year my family would go to the beach for a week. It was a great vacation because my grandparents lived down the Ocean, so we always had a place to stay. My grandfather worked at an arcade for years so we always got a roll of quarters and dimes each day for games and my grandmother worked for a t-shirt shop so we got to pick out a t-shirt or sweatshirt each year with a special decal.
I have a lot of memories of the beach which include cheesesteak subs at Dayton's, pepperoni pizza and birch beer at Lombardi's, Thrasher's french fries and Trumper's rides. I also remember the week the granddaughters stayed with the grandparents sans parents and a young man named Chip got sunburned because he fell asleep on the beach when he was suppose to be watching us, so we left him there.
But, that is not my favorite memory.
My favorite memory is the year I was 13. We went to the beach and took one night to hit the boardwalk and the shops at the Inlet. We always had some money to spend on candy or a few souveneirs and I always enjoyed looking in the little shops, especially the teddy bear themed one since I was an avid teddy bear collector as a young girl.
On this particular night a thunder storm rolled into the beach without warning and we found ourselves in a shop while the rain just poured outside. We decided to stay in the teddy bear shop (I was in heaven!) until the rain slowed down a bit. But, after a half hour and no end in sight, the cashier gave us a few trash bags to wear and out into the elements we went.
What you have to understand about this whole scenario is that normally my dad would have been fuming - the rain, having to wait, being in a teddy bear store - all of those things would have set him off and put him in a bad mood. But, this night he wasn't mad or upset or anything. He donned his trash bag and led us outside into the rain.
And then he started to run and skip and jump into the puddles with three giggly girls and a wife following his every foot step. We laughed the whole 10 blocks or so home.
When we reached my grandparents third story apartment building there was a three foot deep puddle by the curb. As my parents and younger sister, Janie went inside to get dry, my older sister, Nicole and I sat down in the puddle and splashed and splashed. We were wearing jeans and we were soaked!
We ran up the stairs to the apartment, out of breath from splashing and laughing and were met by our Mom-Mom holding two towels.
"Take off your clothes"
"What? Here? Now?"
"Yup. Take them off now. You hold the towel while she undresses and she will hold the towel for you. You are too wet to come inside the house!"
Did I mention she lived on the third/top floor of an apartment building at the beach. The porch was outside and very visible to other apartment houses surrounding it.
But, we did as Mom-Mom ordered us and got undressed and wrapped in towels, laughing the whole time.
Over 25 years later and it is still one of my favorite memories. What's yours?