When I was a little girl, most homes and cars didn’t have air conditioning. On a hot summer’s day, the best way to cool off was to go the beach and swim in the ocean waves. I loved floating on my back and just relaxing in the water. After, there was sunbathing on a blanket spread out on the sand. We didn’t know about the dangers of sunburns back then.
In the picnic areas there were grills for the hot dogs and hamburgers we brought. Also, in the Scotch cooler were juicy peaches and plums, cold sodas, and fresh tomatoes. In the background the portable radio played the top hits or baseball games—the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, or the New York Giants to accompany the gathering.
While my family played pinochle on the picnic table, I would sit on a sun-warmed rock. I watched the endless movement of the waves as the sun began its journey to sunset. I would think about my future when all dreams seemed possible.
It is in the memories of those innocent times and dear people that I found the courage to meet life’s challenges. These memories are with me still.
—Bernadette R. Gentry