July 1, 2020
Dragging out old photo albums reminds me that July is the most fun month of all – except for December, of course!
I don’t even need pictures to remind me of how funny my little brother was on the beach in July. Our family took a two-week vacation every year, and it was amazing. It wasn’t fancy, and I had to share a room with my terrible little brother, but it was still amazing.
We would start every vacation day covering ourselves with Coppertone. No one knew about “SPF” numbers back then, and many people got as much sun as they could. (Warning! People didn’t know then how dangerous it was, but we know now!)
Anyway, once we were covered with Coppertone and smelled like walking coconuts, it was time to cover up our swimsuits, grab hats and sunglasses, and head for the beach.
I remember walking down the street toward the beach, waving at the nice old gentleman who sat out on his porch with a beautiful Irish setter. I’d never seen an Irish setter before and saying good morning to “Rusty” was the best part of walking to the beach.
Eventually we would find a spot on the beach, planted our towel, and my father dug a hole and stuffed our beach umbrella into it. The gaily striped umbrella wobbled a bit on a breezy day, but it didn’t matter. I would strip off my beach cover up, throw my sandals on the blanket and head for the ocean. Even though it was July, the water was usually pretty cold. I would wobble around like the umbrella, deciding whether or not to brave the cold water. But not my brother. He was like a tank¾full speed ahead! He never met a wave he didn’t like. And the water was never too cold for him.
Taking a break under the umbrella was fun for me. Friends came over, and we talked about books and games, and I made up stories for them. Especially stories about little girls wearing Coppertone and freckles. They always laughed!
My brother just built sandcastles. He would run back and forth to the edge of the waves, filling a small bucket with water. Once he got back, he dumped water in a hole and made drip castles. They were ugly, but he loved them!
Leaving the beach was always a little bit sad, but not too bad. We knew that after dinner and a quick bath, our family would go to the Boardwalk, and we would ride the Ferris wheel and the carousel and something called the Flying Disc. Sometimes there was even some ice cream before we went back home!
I always loved July, and I’m glad I have silly pictures of my brother’s sand castles to remind me of days in the sun and ice cream and the cold waves of the New Jersey shore.