Monday, April 2, 2012

B: Brothers and Beaches

    There are, among other things, two things that have been core to my life so far:  brothers and beaches.   I have ALWAYS felt supremely special and lucky to have grown up as a middle child with  seven brothers (four older, three younger) and one little sister.  As kids, my brothers were my best of friends and, at the same time,  the biggest annoyances in my young life.  We were a tight crew on a tight budget and the sense of family was huge.  There was a great deal of pride in being one of the gang because one of the gang meant you excelled in school, you worked hard at anything you attempted, you were seen as valuable to the greater community,  you knew how to be respectful, and you knew how to have fun.  As we marched into adulthood, those aforementioned attributes continued to pay dividends.  Equally important, that sense of camaraderie and support only got stronger.  As a group, we span the baby boomer generation and the oldest of us has hit retirement age.  We have all had children of our own and our children have become best of friends in much the same way we were (and still are).  Although we might not all see each other frequently, I know any of us would drop anything to be there for the sibling in need.  There is a bond that cannot be matched in our relationships with each other.

    It was from my father, I do believe, that all my siblings and I got the connection that we have to the ocean.  My father grew up in Michigan but came to California just prior to the outbreak of WWII.  He enlisted and was stationed in San Diego until shipping out for the South Pacific for three years.  When the war was over, he married my mother and they settled in Los Angles County.  We grew up going camping at Tin Can Beach in So Cal (aka Huntington Beach), or at Jalama (closer to Santa Barbara), and down in Baja California.  As a college kid, I lived about a 35 minute drive from Santa Cruz, CA and spent many weekends (all year round) hanging out on the coast.  I knew that wherever I settled after college, it would need to be a relatively close drive to the beach.  It took me a few years to get through college and grad school but when I was ready to start a family, my husband and I relocated to a wonderful community in NorCal that, yes, features a 25 minute beautiful drive to the beach.

    The most cool times have been when beaches and brothers came together in life's adventures.  The camping trips when we were kids, the college beach outings (yes, several of my brothers were nearby in my college days), the times when, as adults we took our children camping together on California's northern coast - all of these occasions make for the warmest of memories.

13 comments:

  1. Simply, I envy your relationship with your siblings and share your love of the beach.

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    1. I know I am fortunate in both respects :)

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  2. Brothers, beaches and baseball. 3-b's.

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    1. okay, fine , what about bridge???? and BOOKS!!!!!
      I was trying to keep it short - and, oh yeah, I am the ONLY one who has never played bridge... gotta stand out in some way or another.

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  3. I didn't have any brothers, but my sisters and I have the same relationship, with each other and the beach! Your post has me positively itching to get out there, the sooner the better!

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    1. Maybe this weekend? Except do you live in the middle of the country?

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  4. I grew up going to Huntington Beach . . .although I don't have seven brothers - - only one. And he is 13 years younger, so he doesn't really count in a lot of my childhood memories :( But, I'm with you - - beaches and brothers!

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    1. Did you grow up calling it Tin Can Beach too?

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  5. Your post makes me smile, in a nostalgic way for the memories and in a real way at the value of family.

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    1. It's true - family of origin and family I have created - both are at the top of the values hierarchy.

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  6. Big family. Lots of good memories. I have two younger brothers. Same here.

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    1. Big family had it's plusses and minuses but pluses far exceeded the minuses. :)

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  7. I have one brother--the youngest of the four of us and the only boy. Born two months premature so destined to be (and is still to this day) Baby Brother for always. I can actually remember my sister, who was seventeen at the time, carrying him around (he was 11) like a little kid. And when he was in his twenties, I remember looking out as he was playing with my kids and half the neighborhood in the backyard and saying to Hubby and my other sister, "To them, he must seem like a grown up." as if he WASN'T one. I used to be jealous of how "spoiled" he was (as I was thoroughly participating in the spoiling, mind you), but I can see now how it might have been a bit stifling to be him. We are tremendously close now--he lives four houses away. I can stick my head out the door and yell and he can hear me.

    As for the ocean--you already know. ;)

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