So much for the youthful abandon of a shore getaway

Bob Faulkner /
Bob Faulkner / (Bob Faulkner /
Posted: July 21, 2012

It's not as if we were going to Antarctica.

Our friends were vacating their seashore cottage in Surf City, Long Beach Island, for three days, and had invited us to occupy it in their absence. We'd be the cottage-sitters and enjoy all the perks, including that most cherished of all LBI luxuries, a two-car driveway.

So there we were on a recent morning, getting ready to dash on down to the seashore, just like we used to in the early days of our marriage. Just the two of us.

Except that this time, there were lists. Three-page lists.

This time, instead of jumping into a VW Beetle of questionable lineage and uncertain stamina, we were surveying the trunk of our sedate sedan wondering how in the world it would hold what we were taking for this little runaway romp by the sea.

There was some puzzlement, I admit, about how two people who once packed their worldly goods for a weekend at the Shore into one small knapsack now required four pieces of luggage and several tote bags for this two-night/three-day odyssey.

Back in the days when those runaway weekends were spent in questionable off-island rooming houses, my husband would throw a pair of bathing trunks and a tennis racquet into the same overnight bag into which I'd stuffed shorts and a bikini.

This time, packing took the better part of a day and ah, the inventory:

The heating pad for a possible siege with his tricky lower back.

My vitamins. Ointments. Antacids. Sunscreen. Our own pillows. Low-fat pretzels. A fan, just in case the cottage wasn't as cool as our friends had sworn it would be. And a demure one-piece bathing suit and beach cover-up were carefully folded into the larger of my two suitcases.

Instead of a dawn departure on this wild little romp, we were still debating at noon the wisdom of taking along our own sheets just in case those we found were scratchy.

Such abandon!

We had just about gotten on the road when I remembered that I'd left my spare pair of glasses on the kitchen counter. They hadn't been checked off on Page 3 of the master list.

That return trip home also gave us a chance to check on whether or not we'd unplugged the toaster oven (we had) and to scoop up another stack of books (we had packed seven for the two nights) just in case we hated all the ones we'd already chosen.

My husband wasn't pleased that this meant still another reshuffling of the jammed car space. I wasn't pleased by the tone of his voice.

So instead of singing along to the tunes on the radio, as we used to do on trips to the Shore when we were both younger than springtime and songs actually had intelligible words, we sat in stony silence listening to classical music (his choice) until I demanded equal time for my Peter, Paul & Mary CD.

We also had a wee bit of trouble deciding exactly where to set the car air-conditioning now that the temperature in the "cabin," as my husband calls the car's interior, was making my teeth chatter.

And so it went on our recent odyssey to the Shore, where we were lucky enough to encounter two and a half days of rain and a screaming infant in the house next door.

We did attempt one walk by the ocean between the raindrops. I managed to cut my foot on a broken shell.

On the ride home from our fabulous seashore getaway, two former beachcombers agreed that time was indeed marching on, and that some things just can't be replicated.

The abandon of youth was, alas, high on that list.

Contact Sally Friedman at

comments powered by Disqus