…disease and Tricia Nixon.
I have just returned home from two weeks at the beach. My blog celebrated two years while I was away…cue the non-partisan confetti and balloons.
In past years when I have taken this lengthy “rejuvenate the child-bride within me” vacation, I usually had one or two posts waiting in the wings. This year, I let the ball drop (much like the confetti and balloons above).
In part this was due to the lack of good ideas for an “I” post in my quest to complete 26 alphabetically ordered posts. A few I’s that were tossed around were a post about Instant Gratification and Instagram. As you can tell by the title, there was no instant gratification with infectious disease and since I don’t follow Tricia Nixon on Instagram, you may be wondering how I make the connection with the two topics.
I love being on the beach. It has been many years since I was a sun-bather; rather I spend the majority of the day on the beach sitting under an umbrella with at least 30 spf sunscreen protecting my delicate skin while reading a book. I do enter the ocean provided the waves are not too rough and the child in me cannot help, but build a sandcastle.
I suppose it’s rather strange to see a 40 + 10 + a few more years-old woman building a sandcastle on the beach, but to me it’s relaxing. Also, once I have sand on my legs I feel obligated to enter the ocean, only to return to my umbrella shelter and book. (I finished Girl on a Train and The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss…both great reads.)
While sitting on the beach, I tend to be a “people observer”. Let me just say, I don’t wear a bikini (you’re welcome). I used to wear a bikini as seen here, but no longer as my body has become older and
wider wiser. Since my last several swimsuits have been ordered from Lands’ End, I am curious if there are no mirrors in brick and mortar stores that sell bathing suits for I cannot believe that people actually thought that some of the suits they were wearing fit properly. I don’t just mean too tight or too small;…a few suits were too large. I saw more “full moons” than Neil Armstrong when ill-fitting swim suits were swept off bodies during the crest of a wave.
Warning: You may not be able to “unsee”!
In addition, I observed many young families making memories. This of course had me longing for the days when my Son-sters were a part of our beach vacations.
Ocean City, 1996
In the evening, the Hubster and I went out to dinner most nights. As we pondered the menus of our various dining locales, usually bay side, I once again was a“people observer”. Mostly, I was trying to determine what they had ordered for dinner to see if I wanted to copy their choice.
One night, we sat next to a family with three daughters. As they were looking at the menu, one of their daughters (a preteen) complained in the most articulate way possible that she “despised” everything on the menu. She wanted to leave. Her parents were offering every option they could think of in order to coax her to stay, including stopping at the golden arches after they finished their meal. She was having no part of it. She complained and complained until they finally left. Hubster and I were shocked at her behavior…Hubster texted our Son-sters to thank them for their good behavior while growing up and going out in public with us.
Unfortunately, this whole scene was somewhat of an embarrassing déjà vu for me. Way back in 1971, shortly after school was out for the summer, my parents packed Baby Boy, Keary, and I in the Milkman’s 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass for our annual trip to Canada.
We usually drove a direct route up the portions of I-95 that were complete and then cut across the backwoods of Maine to Jackman and on to the Canadian border. I was never consulted about the route; however I was an observant; even at a young age.
I’m sure we left at the crack of dawn. I am also certain that had I not had impetigo covering my nose, I would have been sitting smack in the middle between Keary and Baby Boy. Instead, due to the infectious disease on my face I sat between the Milkman and my mother in the front seat. (Infectious disease be damned, my parents were going on vacation.) As they were teens, Baby Boy and Keary were absolutely mortified with my scaly nose. They stated they would not sit near me, nor would they sleep in the same bed with me as sharing beds was typical on a family vacation. Keary lost this battle because as the only other same-sex sibling on this trip, she would sleep with me. At the young age of 8, I was a pariah in my own family. The photo of my family at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is one of the few from that vacation…all taken at a safe distance from my nose.
Our trip took us from Boston up I-95 and into Bar Harbor, Maine. It seems my mother had other plans for the first day of our vacation. The date was Saturday, June 12, 1971 ( I had to Google the exact date). Tricia Nixon, daughter of then President Richard Nixon, would marry Edward Cox in a televised ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House. My mother, insisted we stop at a motel with TV. It was probably about 1 pm when we stopped. My mother wanted us to eat “lupper” (lunch & supper) before the wedding was to be aired so we drove into Bar Harbor proper. A thrifty seafood meal was intended, but I had other plans. I complained about every menu choice my parents suggested. Given the infectious disease growing on my face, my parents did not want to make a scene. Trust me, I did not get away with this kind of behavior ever, but for some reason my scaly nose, whines of a finicky eater, and exhausted parents caused my parents to choose a rather fancy restaurant. I don’t know what I ate, but it was probably fried. When the check arrived the look on my parents’ faces were of shock.
I know my mother had budgeted $400 for meals for our two-week vacation for five. (She was quite an economist when it came to eating.) You’re probably wondering how an eight year old knew the budget. Well, about a week before we left for vacation, my mother and I were walking to my dental appointment. On our walk and only two blocks from our home, my mother was mugged…she screamed; I holding her hand turned and screamed as well. She would not let go of the purse. The young man picked my mother up and threw her into the street. She released the purse and I ran screaming down the street. When the police officer questioned us, my mother told the officer that she had $400 in cash in her purse because she had withdrawn that amount for food for our upcoming vacation. As it turned out my mother had forgotten that she changed her purse for the walk to the dentist. While this event still impacts some of my behaviors today, at least the money she had saved all year was not stolen.
Anyway, back to the shock and awe on my parents’ faces…the check was $42, more than one-tenth of the designated allowance for food. I never lived it down and meals were strictly budgeted for the rest of the vacation. The impetigo on my face, would not be the tour guide for the rest of our vacation.
For the record, my mother and I watched Tricia Nixon marry Edward Cox on the motel TV while the Milkman, Baby Boy, and Keary swam in the motel pool. I was banished from the pool due to the infectious disease.
Have a wonderful week!