My dad got two weeks of vacation time every year and he always arranged to take the last two weeks of August (just before the school year began for us Bronx kids). When I was young I remember our favorite spot was Atlantic City, this was loooonnng before the looming casinos. We always stayed at the same motel, The Jolly Roger [THE Jolly Roger I am speaking of allegedly burnt down several years later and was never rebuilt].
There was a regular group of families who frequented the motel during the final throes of summer play and we all arranged lots of group activities. Between the outdoor pool at the motel, the beach in Atlantic City, the boardwalk and the amusements it was always 125-percent fun filled and always the best way to rejuvenate before heading back to the realities of work, school and life.
I remember that I learned to swim in the Jolly Roger motel pool. Daddy always supervised my sister and me in the pool. Since I am the younger of two, I assume, if memory serves correctly that rules were obviously different. I was not allowed to be IN the pool unless my Dad was right there with me. This particular day he just wanted to relax and let the hot sun bake into him, I was SUPPOSED to be sitting on a neighboring lounge playing with dolls or reading a book. Alas this day I was being a brat and running around the pool deck.
My Father was unflappable, he had a way of “sleeping’ while he remained totally vigilant. There I was teasing him that I was going to jump into the water without my swimming tube. Calmly he told me that I should be seated next to him. I stood on the diving board lightly jumping up and down. I still remember thinking how does he know what I am doing, he’s got his eyes closed and I swore he was even snoring now and then, but I couldn’t get a rise out of him and I was ready to give up. As II did an about face away from the water my foot slipped and I tumbled in hitting the side of my ribs and SINKING like a sack of potatoes.
I don’t know how far I actually went down but I remember thinking I was going to get sucked down through the drain hole. I started kicking and managed to swim underwater to the nearest pool ladder. As I pulled myself up the rungs I looked over to the lounge Daddy had been napping on (I guess I was hoping he wouldn’t know what I had done?), his chair was empty! I looked over the water and was surprised to see my Dad gliding through the water at high speed; I barely had a chance to turn my head and he was already next to me and verifying that I was indeed all right. That was the day my swim tube disappeared and I discovered that Daddy really could see through his eyelids!
We had so many fun summers at the Jolly Roger, we all made friends and had terrific adventures. I remember meeting “Mr. Peanut” on the boardwalk, visiting Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, eating cotton-candy and salt water taffy, building sandcastles on the beach with my sister, having fun filled dinners out with the rest of the gang. Finally the summer came when the gang seemed to fade and even my parents decided to try different adventures and go other places. We still had so much fun.
Summer vacation has always seemed synonymous with family fun, relaxation and starting the new school year feeling refreshed… I always loved the writing assignment “What I did during my summer vacation.” When our children were young we tried to emulate the summer family vacation and we actually got to visit some very interesting places. Now that they are grown adults hubby and I find other ways to enjoy and relax although we do tend to stay closer to home these days.
Remember that books can help take you on (short) mini-vacations filled with new experiences and lots of interesting people and I hope you’ll take some of “the gang” along with you this year.
I hope that your summer holidays are both fun and memory filled adventures. Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me.
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