WEST MEETS EASTMay 28, 2021
Only the FrenchJuly 14, 2021
My first trip to the beach was long ago and far away, indeed in an unlikely spot. I grew up in Scotland where the summers are brief and the days are long. My parents liked to travel so one summer they packed the family up and then walked to the train station. We were off to the beach, but not south as you would image but north to Aberdeen. Nowadays every right thinking Scot would be heading for Spain, but since it was World War II most beach resorts were closed or turned over to the military. Only those in the north were open. And Aberdeen is in the far north. At present it is best known as the bustling center of the North Sea oil industry with ships and helicopters servicing the drilling rigs. When we were there it was better know for fishing and whiskey as there are many distilleries close by. We, however, were there for the beach. While Aberdeen can have pleasant summers–helped along by global warming–it was not so for us. My strongest memory is lying under the blanket, on the cold sand, while the wind howled.. I do not recall going into the water.
My parents left Scotland and migrated to Canada the scene of my next beach experience. We were part of a small group of Scottish families that entertained and played together. Most summers the families would rent cottages at Lake Simcoe north of Toronto. The lake that, it should be noted, was frozen all winter and warmed up slowly during the summer. Late August was a good time to visit and go into the water although it was wise never to dive to deep or the cold would get you. Lying on the beach could be an adventure as the beach could clear quickly and those in the water would dive under when a marauding horse fly came cruising along. You only had to suffer one bite to understand why you never wanted to repeat the experience. Mosquitos were light weights in comparison.
After five years in Canada my parents moved again and this time to the South–to Southern California. This was my introduction to real beaches and warmer water–at least during the summer. I have never left.