When I was kid, there was one week of the year I ALWAYS looked forward to. Just when I was really starting to bug my mom because I didn't have anything to do. Right when the whining of my sister and I reached it's peak, we packed up the car and went to the beach.
Some of my earliest memories are of trips to Cape May, NJ with my family (parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) to the Cricket House. We played in the sand, built castles, visited the lighthouse and searched for "Cape May Diamonds". It was the best week every year. There was no bickering and everyone just seemed so much more relaxed.
When I was in middle school we started going to Bethany Beach, Del. with good friends of my parents and their sons. I still loved the weeks we spent there but when you're 13 and wanting to look cool, nothing makes you overly happy. At least I had Kevin and Casey to hang out with. We were given longer leashes to go exploring on our own and when Kevin got his license, well, we were off and doing our own thing. As we kids got older, started heading off to college for Kevin and I or getting into high school for Casey and Little Sis, the trips began to peter out. Sometimes Aunt Kathy and Uncle Chet (my parents' friends) would go on their own with an open invite to us to join them. Having just paid for a portion of my college education, and with another one soon heading off, my parents stopped going on a regular basis to save money. The last summer I went to Bethany for an extended stay (longer than a day) was 1996...it was the last time I saw Kevin.
I stopped taking my long beach vacations after Kevin died. The place held so many memories and so many ghosts still lived there for me, I couldn't handle more than a day trip every now and then. That and I was in the working world, so my vacation days were precious and few. When I had a day off, it was for something that I had planned in advance or for some much needed rest around the house.
Over the last couple of years I've been wanting to go back to Bethany. Time does heal some wounds and while I miss Kev every minute of every day, I want to go back. I'm ready for a trip to De Febo's or Grotto's for pizza. I want to hit the Bethany Surf Shop for one more t-shirt and the little jewlery store where I bought my claddagh ring 20 years ago (still not turned around permanently, I might add). And how could I not have some of that famous Limeade?
Next week, Work Friend A and I are taking off for a long weekend of sun, surf and relaxation. The closer we get the more excited I am to get out of Dodge, even if it's only for a couple of days, because nothing says you've been out of town more than a relaxed look on your face and sunburn on your legs.