“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”

The line outside my Sunday breakfast spot was long. I even had to put my name on a list. The air conditioning has been on since early yesterday afternoon. Gracie pants every time she goes outside. Barely a leaf moves, just the few every now and then at the tips of the branches. This is a summer weekend!

I remember weekends at the beach when I was a kid. Nothing tasted better after swimming and playing in the sand than a cold cup of Zarex and a sandwich with a gritty crunch. The Oreos my mother always packed tasted best with an ocean view. We always went shell hunting and came home every time with a pile of them. Our house should have been filled with them, but after a while they disappeared, finally tossed by my mother when she cleaned. After a day in the sun, I don’t think I ever stayed awake on the ride home. I remember going to bed with my head on the pillow and having hot water trickle from my ears, water the result of diving in the ocean, mostly at the sandbar where the water, when the tide was out, was warm enough to enjoy.

I remember an Easter Sunday at the beach in Ghana. I don’t remember which beach, but it had clean water, a place which sold food and few people. We walked a long way on the sand and played ball with a palm tree branch bat and a coconut ball. I got the worst sunburn.

In Togo, the beach sand was so hot your feet could barely stand the walk on it. We always hurried to the small thatched cabanas here and there on the sand. They were usually empty. Very few people went to the beach. The water there was wonderful though I remember one time when I was swimming and a dead pig floated by me. I wasn’t all that grossed out-I had been in Arica over a year and was just about beyond being grossed out by anything. There was a hotel with a restaurant across from the beach, and we often stopped there to eat after an afternoon swimming and lounging under the cabana. We usually ordered bifteck and pomme frites with a coke. The restaurant wasn’t fancy, but I can still see it in my mind’s eye. It was white with a blue trim, had outside tables and a view of the beach.

Beaches fill so many of my memory drawers it is no wonder I live on the Cape.


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16 Comments on ““The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    OMG! Zarex! With the zebra on the label. Zarex was a rare treat for us. The beach beverage of Mom’s choice was Kool Aid in one of those big old metal thermoses with the spout on the front and the dented aluminum lid. Ours was two-tone green and silver.
    Personally, I’m not a fan of the beach between the months of April and October. Too sunny, too crowded. I much prefer a quiet, shady lake. And I don’t like having to fight the water I’m swimming in any more than is necessary. 🙂
    Today is hot and humid. I have paid bills and done a bit of crochet. I think that’s about it for me. Time for a tall, cold glass of something.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Yup, that very same Zarex! We had one of those tartan coolers, and it was always Zarex. My mother thought Kool Aid took too much sugar.

      I am the same about the beaches here but it starts after Memorial Day. I prefer to swim in a lake than the ocean, but I don’t get that many opportunities here.

      I have bill paying on my agenda for later. I figure I’d better pay them when I was still flush! Tonight I’m going to my friends’ house for dinner but in between I’m staying right here in the air- conditioning.

  2. Bob Says:

    When I was a kid in NYC we would go to Rockaway Beach in Queens on Sundays. I remember eating hot knishes filled with cream cheese and cherry filling which were sold by vendors walking up and down the beach. The boardwalk was filled with penny arcades with ski-ball and stands selling a variety of food and both alcoholic and non alcoholic cold drinks. I really hated eating on the beach because there is no way to separate the sand from the food.

    We have taken several vacations to all inclusive beach resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. All of the beaches in Cancun, Cozumel or Puerta Vailarta Mexico are all public. The resort properties line the edge of the sand and are guarded to keep the locals out. These beaches are always filled with vendors selling every kind of souvenir, hair braiding services as well as some offering water skiing behind speed boats or being suspended from parasails behind the speeding boat.

    I was very surprised that the beach at Brighton in the UK is not covered with sand but with pebbles and the beach in Nice France is covered with larger rocks. Only the Brits and the French would lie out in the sun on stones and call that enjoyable 🙂

    The great summer heat wave has moved to the East and Atlanta had the highest ever recorded temperature of 109 degrees yesterday. Here we had a break and the thermometer only toped out at 96. We call that a nice cool summer afternoon 🙂

    • Kat Says:

      My of my very dear friends is from Rockaway. That description is a lot like the old Revere Beach though it also had rides. I loved the beaches in those days as there was so much to do.

      I never minded the sand and eating when I was a kid. My hands were usually sandy anyway.

      I have never done an all inclusive resort. I haven’t ever been all that interested as I live near the ocean and paying for another one just wouldn’t suit me. I also like to travel and staying in one spot isn’t anything I’d do.

      98˚ would be a killer. We call the 80’s a heat wave here. Boston is supposed to get hotter than us-low 90’s. I’m sitting in the AC!

      • Bob Says:

        The beauty of the all inclusive resort is that you don’t have to move for an entire week. They provide you with all the food you can eat and all the non and alcoholic drinks you desire. There is entertainment at night and lots of tour guides ready to show you the sights if you can pull yourself away from the beach or the pool. I have never been to Cape Cod, but somehow I don’t equate it with tropical paradises such as an island in the Caribbean or in the South Pacific 🙂

  3. Hedley Says:

    Big Rick is selling the minivan, it has served our Sundays well for nearly 15 years. I really don’t like change. I can hear it when it swings into the subdivision and I am ready to go.
    Stoney was crazy busy this morning at 7.45 am perhaps because it is fireworks night I dunno.
    Wandering out to watch the final tonight between Spain and Italy, should be a good one. the Prince is here, drilling a turkey sandwich and playing a game.

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      It is difficult to part with a familiar friend, even if it is a minivan.

      My windows are closed, but I could still hear the bangs of fire works last night. Luckily, though, none of my pets are afraid of the noise.

  4. olof1 Says:

    Our memories of going to the ocean are very much alike 🙂 But we didn’t have oreos back then (we have now days though), our favorite cookie was and still is Ballerina cookies. with chocolate/hazelnut filling. Even though the beaches around Gothenburg mostly are rocky we still got sand in our sandwiches 🙂

    The only time I’ve burned my feet walking on a beach was when I went to Lanzarote, one of the Canary islands. The sand was black volcano sand and it was so hot that they told us to wear shoes if walking on it 🙂

    Heavy showers before noon while driving 270 kilometers from southern Sweden, not fun at all! But now the clouds let the sun peak through every now and again 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      We don’t have Ballerina cookies, but they sound wonderful. The beaches in Maine are pretty rocky, but I loved climbing over them and getting soaked by the water as it banged against the rocks.

      The sun gets so very hot in Africa, and the sands are blistering. I wore sandals.

      I could use a bit of that rain. Send it this way!

  5. Kat Says:

    What I meant was I get enough of beaches living here, and I wouldn’t want to plunk myself down in one spot for the week. It’s not the way I travel. I like to roam around. I’ve been to the Caribbean and Costa Rica, but I moved around. It was more fun for me. I also don’t like cruises for the same reasons.

  6. Morpfy Says:

    I grew up on the west coast of S.Calif. & love the ocean. Surfed,swam and partied on the beaches of good old southern calif.When now I live in another state & in the moutains I like this too, but the smell of saltwater brings back younger years of memories.Guess my comment on the song above “sea of love” tells you so

    • Kat Says:

      There is nothing better than the smell of the sea. Some mornings, even as far away as I am, I can smell it on the damp air.

      I love living on the cape.

  7. Zoey & Me Says:

    Zarex? Never heard of it. Must be a local drink. We drank kool aid and if lucky enough, bottles and bottles of coke. My Mom was weary of drinks in glass containers but watched us carefully to grab the empties and put them in the cooler. Like you, I fell asleep on every trip to Ocean City. I also did the same the days we went crabbing in Deahl which was much closer to home. Those were the days!

    • Kat Says:

      Zarex is a New England drink . It is a syrup which came in a glass jug with a handle. You mixed it with water and didn’t have to add sugar. We all loved it.

      My mother never bought coke or any sodas when we were kids. We had milk or and the summer, Zarex.

      I love falling asleep in the car. When you woke up, you were home!

  8. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    I’ve been to many beaches..up and down California, back east, near Kat, but I think the first beach as a child always holds special memories. This beach was MY beach and town.

    • Kat Says:

      These are really cool postcards. Amazing that your childhood home is so well preserved on these cards.

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