Monday, August 19, 2013

Who Stole August?

August was always my very favorite summer month. The last few years I have noticed that it's basically gone. How did this happen? Why isn't everyone complaining?

 I finally realized I wasn't alone when I read "Whatever Happened to August?" in the August 16-17 weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal.

When I was a kid, my parents always rented a beach house in Balboa, California, for the entire month of August. I loved it there. The "Peck House" (named for the owners) was really a dump, set on a large lot that stretched between two streets, and it was full of charm. The yard boasted a huge, brick, wood burning BBQ, with both a griddle and a grate. We had so many great meals at the picnic table in the yard.

The outdoor shower had a knot-hole that was really a peep hole and I always made sure that a wash-cloth was in place when I took a shower. Many a hilarious game of tug of war was played on either side of that knot hole every summer. Shampoo in the eye was caused by keeping one eye out for the slowly disappearing wash cloth, a happening that was always good for shrieks and giggles.

Days were long, lazy and perfect. High tides were a happening that often lapped the sidewalks and erased all the footprints on the sand. The look of the pristine beach was one of pure delight.

The Peck house was half way between the bay and the ocean, about a block in either direction. Little kids and all the moms spent the day on the bay. When I got older I spent the entire day body surfing and shooting the curl at the ocean. The only rules were that I had to stay in front of the life guard stand and couldn't go in the water if the flag was red, because that meant dangerous surfing conditions.

My brother Rob and I slept in bunk beds, barely bigger than the screened in porch on the side of the house. We hung our clothes on wooden pegs, and didn't care a twit that we didn't have a closet. The place next door was so close, we could hear every word that was being said over there. One vivid memory is of a mom repeatedly saying, "Markie, drink your bosco." Finally, I took my head out from under my pillow and yelled, "For God sake, Markie, please drink your bosco." Our parents laughed about it for years.

During my Junior High and High School summers, I was required to work at my Dad's company in the heart of un-air-conditioned, industrial Los Angeles. I was the switchboard operator vacation relief person. It was hot and miserable, but I would count the days until August 1st, and dream of being a beach rat again.

Ocean temperatures are the warmest in August. Corn and peaches are the sweetest. Tomatoes are the most delicious. The grunion are running. Life is good. Beaches are the best.

I never had to go back to school until AFTER Labor Day. I don't know what I would have done with out my August on the beach. Why did this change?

Our grandsons had to go back to school in Tucson on August 5 this year. As I write this it is still a 108 degrees in Tucson. Schools starting so early have a domino effect. Restaurants lose their summer workers, summer camps lose their counselors and have to close early, life guard stands at pools and beaches are empty. Why has this happened? Why is it OK to steal summer from kids? There ought to be a law. Whichever Presidential candidate vows to take August back gets my vote.

1 comment:

Lorna Collins - said...

Loved this! I agree! Although summers are too long a break from school, August and September are the hottest! Loved your reminiscences of the beach.