It’s that time of year again….

It happens to me every year around this time. I get the summer fever. I’ll be sitting down at the office working on this or that and BAM, all of a sudden I’ll remember some little detail from my childhood summer vacations at the Hilyard.
The shower next to the stairs that led to the beach with the jug of tar remover hanging off the side. The way the second floor deck at the front of the hotel would get so hot you couldnt walk on it barefoot and how we kids would make bets to see who could walk out on it the furthest. Sneaking into and pool hopping at the Americana and then later when it became the Sheraton. Making up stupid scientific names for shells we’d picked up on the beach: “This is a Sapuncoccular terranofica shellecus.” Me and the other boys my age vying and trying to woo the cutest girls each year.
I swear, I can draw a floor plan of the entire hotel with all the rooms from memory and I still remember every single square inch of that pool.
As I type this, I swear I can almost smell the ocean. It mixes in with suntan oil and the scent of sun dried beach towels. Flex shampoo and chlorine. Oceanside barbecues and my aunt Lulu’s frituritas de bacalao.
I can picture the Atlantic and big foamy waves. Little kids on boogie boards trying to catch the big one. It kinda frustrates me right now, what if when I get there, there’s no waves? I swear, I must be the only 42 year old man out there with teenagers riding waves.
It’s summer and Im working and my family’s at the beach and I want beach towels and Hawaiian tropic. I want beach hair. Dried sea salt on my skin. The sound of the sea breeze pounding my ears. I wanna ride waves. I wanna make believe Im not watching the girl in the string bikini out of the corner of my eye.
I wanna teach Amanda’s kids how to build sand castles just like I taught her and her sister and their cousins and her brother. I wanna scare the crap out of my sister when she’s in the ocean. Mr. Shark.
I wanna help my mom into the water. I want to convince my Tias the water’s fine. Come on in! No tengan miedo. Im right here!
I want sand in my shorts and cheapy rubber chancletas.
I want to be at my beach with the family. The beach with my family. My beach with my family.
What about you?

8 thoughts on “It’s that time of year again….”

  1. Val,
    Man, you brought back memories for me too! I do not remember the hotel name in southbeach but I sure remember that each summmer our vacation was 1 week at the hotel swimming in the pool all day or at the playa.
    What vividly came back as you went back on memory lane is the smell of the ocean on my skin and the sun tan lotion!! Wow.
    Thanks for the memories.

  2. I want sand between my toes, sea breeze on my face, warm sea water on my skin, the smell of salt on my skin and hair and the taste of it on my lips.

  3. I LIVE for those kinds of summer days.
    The sounds especially. The sound of the waves rolling and crashing and the voices of all ages squealing with delight.
    It’s the perfect soundtrack for summer. =D

  4. You guys wouldn’t happen to be Cuban by any chance? 🙂
    This great love of the sea, the sun the sand, it’s almost genetic. I can’t swear to it, but there is probably no spot on the entire Island that is more than 50 miles from a beautiful sun-washed beach.

  5. On the cheap, rubber ‘chanks’ as I call them: They are extremely popular in Brasil. Everybody wears them around the house, out in public, of course on the beaches, etc. You need to in the shower: the shower head is electric, you need to flip a switch in the shower to heat the water. You know electricity and water are a nasty combo. Anyways, I always remembered the chanks from summers at the Keys, and when I first started using them here I always remembered the summers at the Keys (Tavanier, Sunset Acres, close to America Outdoors, right by the Dairy Queen in the middle if the median of US1, if you know the area)

  6. Val,
    For me, your story took me back to Coney Island. I mean the real Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York City (not the one some of your readers may remember as a small amusement park in La Habana.)
    Those hot New York City summer days started with getting our blankets and some sort of grub backed in A&P paper shopping backs. Then there was the long train ride on the subway to the beach. Next was the trick of staking your spot. Imagine a sea of people at a beach (to the point that you can barely see the sand) and you’re looking for a break in that blanket of humans to put your stuff down and start your day. (If you think I’m kidding , check this photo out )
    Then there was the water. Dark brown cold northern Atlantic ocean water. ( )We’re not talking about Caribbean beaches here. Nevertheless, I knew nothing else so I was in heaven. The boardwalk, the original Nathan’s hot dogs, and the rides made for a perfect Brooklyn beach day.
    Finally, there were the sounds. Everyone had a transistor radio. You know… the vintage kind circa 1960-1966. I still have a vivid memory of the Simon and Garfunkel “Sounds of Silence” song suddenly being played on the radio and, as if by magic, every radio for miles was instantly tuned to the station in a wave. Then all you could here was that song blending with the waves. Those were beautiful childhood times. I now wonder what my parents thought of those beaches. They had the ones in Holguin and Santiago de Cuba to compare with.
    Abe Cardenas

Comments are closed.