When I was a kid, my family and I spent one month every summer at the beach, specifically Chadwick Beach in New Jersey. My brothers and I would spend all day, every day on the sand, unless it rained and then we spent it spending my parents’ money in the arcade.
Don’t worry. We didn’t spend too much. My parents were teachers. Teachers were poor. Still are. But sports stars make millions. Oy vey. Don’t get me started.
The days on the beach were my favorite.
The sun, the sand, the water, my friend Tracey and I slicking ourselves up and down with Baby Oil, then laying back and willing our winter white skin to tan.
Tracey’s will was stronger than mine. Her skin went straight to the “tan” setting.
Mine made a stop and “burn and peel” first.
I know now that such sun-loving fun was bad for me. But oh how I loved it then. Sure, I’d burn, but then my skin would turn golden brown. And my yellowy-white, blonde hair, bleached from the sun and surf, gave me this whole Jersey-Girl-Gone-California thing.
I was a rockin’ cool 12-year-old, I tell you.
Yesterday my friend Jenn and I went to the beach. Jenn read while I took in the 12-year-olds and the teens lathering themselves in oil, laying in the sun, flipping over, flipping back, applying more oil. In my wide brimmed hat, my cover-up, my face and body slick with 4,000 SPF, I was so envious. And hot. How in hell did Tracey and I lay there all day? All day! After an entire two hours, I felt baked to imperfection. Fried, dry, and grumpy.
Oh to be 12 or 15 again and not have a worry in the world about crows’ feet and wrinkles and sunspots and God forbid, skin cancer. To be able to lay there, baking to a golden-brown glow, knowing that whenever it rained, I’d be rocking an awesome tan when we hit the arcade.
I couldn’t spend a lot of money there, but I’d look like a million bucks.