Solo to the beach means “hands free”

I remember when I was a kid growing up in Queens Village, NY, my parents would periodically load up the Vista Cruiser and take us to Jones Beach. Embarking on such a trip with four kids was an epic; I look back and do not wonder at all why we didn’t go more often.

Each person in the family required towel, t-shirt, dry clothes, flip flops, whatever sand toys were coming along, lunch, snacks and drinks. Additional requirements: umbrellas, beach blanket for the kids, and chairs for the adults Oh, and if there happened to be someone still in diapers, that was another thing to add to the pile.

All of this stuff was hauled down the thirteen steps of our front stoop to the car, which was more often than not parked around the corner on a side street, where it was safer from crashes than it would have been parked on our street. For those from Queens who might be reading this – we lived on “Franny Loo”, between 94th and Jamaica Avenue). The people doing the majority of the hauling were the two oldest, me and Big Bro. Hauling it down those 13 steps was one thing; hauling it all up again was quite another matter!

Into the Vista Cruiser we piled, traversing what felt like the road to forever. Along the way, we tried our best to one up each other with staples such as, “Get on YOUR side!” (this references some unseen but far from imaginary line splitting the back seat) and, “Stop LOOKING at me!”. OH! And let us not forget the ever-popular, “Mom, he’s BREATHING on me…” 🙄

Once arriving at the beach, we unloaded – only, this time the parents had to help because making multiple trips down the boardwalk was not desireable. Find an appropriately sized square of sand, unfurl blankets and umbrellas, sit down, AHHHH!

And then, it happens.

“Mommy, I hafta gotuhduh bafroom.”

“Go pee on the water.”


“Mommy…. I hafta MAKE.”

Really LONG-ass pause.


“You didn’t go before we left, did you? I TOLD you to go before we left!”

Kids are maintenance. Families are work. Sometimes I wonder how the human race survives, why mothers put up with their young instead of eating them.

I hear this is the reason Mother Nature makes babies of all species cute. It’s to give the mother pause, ketchup bottle poised mid-air above our delicate skin….

“Aw, crap. I can’t do it. She’s too cute.”

I’m sitting here thinking these thoughts as I laze upon Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Isand. I’d like to show you what I brought with me this morning.


It took me less time to pack the backpack chair than it took me to type this post. This leaves my hands free to snap pictures, tweet and pick up interesting shells while walking from the parking lot to the shore. My mother would never have been able to do that.

Posted by Wordmobi

5 thoughts on “Solo to the beach means “hands free””

  1. I remember my folks loading up the car to drive the 30 or 40 miles to Lake Huron to the beach. That drive seemed like it took hours. There were only two of us and my bro was almost 10 years older. I think he must have done all the work because I don’t remember ever hauling anything!

  2. Ummm…well, I come from a large family – a very large family. We never had a station wagon, usually just a car. After the family expanded beyond 6 or 7 youngsters, I don’t believe we went anywhere as a group.

    We would have a few minor squabbles if it was just my mother around, because she was a little bit tolerant, (although we were made to follow many rules – otherwise it would’ve just been constant chaos). My dad, on the other hand, was not tolerant at all. We all learned to behave exceptionally well (also known as being very quiet) when he was around.

    My mother was a remarkable woman. Somewhere along the line, she put each child ‘in charge’ of the next child down the line. For me, this meant that I was ‘in charge’ of my brother who was two years younger. If he couldn’t find his boots, I had to help him. If I couldn’t find my boots, my sister, 2 years older than me, had to help me.

    As a result of growing up in a large family – all of my siblings have very small families. I only have 1 son – who is now in his mid-twenties. I love him dearly, but I am so glad that he is fully grown now and there is just me again.

    PS: Don’t tell the cat, but when she “crosses the rainbow bridge” I’ll be doing some extensive solo and carefree travelling. :p

  3. Yo, Sno – nice work, getting out of the hauling! ;p

    Mari, I watch my SILs and my friends with their babies, and even ONE child can cause the hauling of a stupendous amount of “stuff”. The first year I lived here, Bro #2 came with wife and child, who was two at the time, and her “stuff” gradually spread like a fungus throughout the house. In fact, after they left, I kept finding “stuff” and eventually packed it all up and shipped it to them.

  4. Ummm….and don’t forget the brother who got car-sick just driving to the end of the street,and had to go everywhere with a paper bag to throw up in….
    Gawd,life was simple and fun back then,tho,wasn’t it?
    I’m just glad I wasn’t my mother and had to put up with us three snot noses!

  5. You have described perfectly why I do not go anywhere. When Nick and Elijah were little it was easy and I was at the lake/playground/library/etc all the time. Then I added Emily. We slowed down. Now that I’ve added Olivia and Lucas we don’t get in the car unless it is necessary. My husband wants to go camping and all I can imagine is two days of packing and the horrible clean-up when we get back not to mention it really won’t be any fun for me with the nonstop cooking and caring for kids. That’s just horrible. Now I have bad-mother guilt. I’m getting older and I want to be selfish, but I have another 15 years before I can.

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