Our good friend Dot once suggested that if only all hospitals could be built by the ocean, patient recovery time would be much quicker. I agree. I love the sounds of the ocean and the many different ways it presents its beauty and its mystery. Yesterday the surf was wild. There were warnings posted not to go in the water. There were no sail boats. There were even few sunbathers even though the temperature was a mild 70 degrees.Today is a different story. The ocean is calm. With its soft blue and aqua marine color it generates feelings of peace and tranquility. It was very special, in early March, to share this ocean and its many different moods with our son Jerry – also an ocean lover.
Growing up on Long Island in Laurelton – still part of New York City – even though we did not get a car till I was almost a teen , we were actually not far from the ocean. We were about a ten minute walk to the Long Island train and a twenty five minute ride to Rockaway Beach. I have always loved the ocean, even though as a very little girl I was intimidated by the ocean waves. My father used to bring me in the water on his shoulders. Can’t remember how old I was when I was no longer fearful but I didn’t want my father to find out. It was so much fun being on his shoulders. Then one day he took me off his shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said with a smile, “I don’t think you are afraid any more”. I giggled and swan away from him. I felt so grown up.
My maternal grandfather died in the mid 1940’s. As I said in a previous blog he and my grandmother, Nana, used to spend their summers at a small family hotel in Spring Lake, New Jersey – not far from Ocean Grove where our son Jerry and his wife now have a home.
When Grandfather died my cousin Fran and I took turns being company for Nana at the ocean. I remember one time ocean swimming in a designated swimming area that was very crowded. I was by now about eleven years old and very ocean comfortable. I loved the freedom of the ocean. I did not like being confined by a rope to a specific area, so I swan under the rope and out to my freedom. I kept an eye on Nana who was lifeguarding me from the boardwalk. I didn’t want her to think I was doing anything wrong. She seemed to be OK so I forgot about the lifeguards and just enjoyed myself swimming and diving and floating in the water. And then I heard the lifeguard whistle. I stopped immediately to see who was being rescued and then I realized they were coming for me. I had to decide quickly what to do. Should I pretend to be in distress so the lifeguards wouldn’t think they were wasting their time? The lifeguards were now swimming toward me. I was treading water trying to make up my mind when the first guard reached me and said something like “little girl are you ok”? Aside from being taken aback at being called a “little girl” I was fine and hopeful that my grandmother had not been disturbed by the lifeguards thinking they needed to rescue me. Aside from giving me a a reprimand for swimming outside the ropes, the life guards were very nice and offered me a ride back to shore on one of their floats.
With the passage of time it is no longer necessary for me to actually be in the ocean to enjoy its many restorative aspects. My husband, our children and nineteen grandchildren are all competent and comfortable ocean lovers. It is so much fun to just watch them ride in the waves. I was never much good at that – my pleasure came from diving into the waves and ocean swimming.
In a few days we will close up our rented Florida condo and head to the auto train in Sanford Florida, two and a half hours away. We used to drive back and forth between Virginia and Florida but now this is no longer our preferred mode of transportation – a bowing to our body’s various protests against a fifteen and a half hour car trip. It is always fun chatting with fellow auto train passengers from such diverse places as Michigan, New England, Canada, etc. though it is a tad weird when they talk of the long trip that they have ahead of them when they leave the auto train in Lorton, Virginia for their final drive home. I never volunteer the length of our trip, twenty-five minutes.
We take the auto train on Wednesday. Today, Sunday, we went to Holy Family Church in the morning. I love the ethnic diversity of this church. On the drive back to our condo we made a couple of stops – hoping to to find a New York Times but knowing it was a lost cause. It used to be no problem but now either South Florida stores are just not ordering as many copies or the Times just has more customers. Now we are lounging on our deck soaking up the sights and smells of the ocean. Shortly we will go for an ocean walk, tomorrow we will golf, Tuesday we will pack, and Wednesday it is goodbye to our Florida winter.
Have enjoyed looking for the perfect quote that reflects my feelings about the ocean. There are just so many to chose from. I have decided to end with the words of Jacques Cousteau which so well describe my feelings: The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.