One by One…
Our beach friends are leaving, never to return. The first to go was Joan. We had such good times both on the beach, in the campground and eating our shrimp alfredo linguini at Angelo’s. I can’t count the times we ate mild buffalo wings together at St. Angelo IV! Mickey and Ed were real pals, as well. Mickey, from Rhode Island hasn’t returned.
Then Millie’s husband left. She and I hunted shells and compared findings almost every day. I stood with her as she cast his ashes out over the surf the following month. Their regular campsite never saw the little camper from West Virginia return to its usual spot in September.
Ginny had a place across the road from us and whenever we arrived she always brought over a loaf of freshly made bread. We spent many evenings laughing and jabbering at St. Angelo’s over pizza and onion rings. The live small band sang our favorite melodies and “Just Paul” was a sweet singing fellow. He gave us a CD of his music and I treasure it, remembering how we all sang along. She left her jovial husband of many years to carry on their volunteer work alone at the local veterans hospital. They were very involved in the VFW and Masonic activity venues too.
Peggy, from down the block, left Ray and it was a long journey. He has never fully recovered from her absence, though he tried. We visited with him for several years after and then he moved away. She had a wonderful collection of pretty shells, especially sea urchins.
The trailer next to us once had a family from Virginia. Their daughter and son came several times. We were just getting to know each other when tragedy struck them. Their daughter, in her early 20’s, was floating around on a raft in their pool at home in Virginia and died suddenly, they think from sunstroke. That was a terrible shock to hear and have happen. The couple came back to sell the place, take their personal belongings and we never saw them again.
Ray was from Connecticut and left this world when here, at his and Joan’s place. Their dog, Maggie, mourned terribly too, but keeps Joan’s spirits high as she has returned to Connecticut to stay. When we first bought our place, he let us use his Walmart’s employee card to get a discount on our TV sets. It helped a lot. Joan and Ed were fishing buddies and Ray was a quiet and gentle fellow not minding at all.
Cliff’s wife, Jean, didn’t go out much. Their place was kitty-corner from us. She would instruct him from her lounge chair on how to cook and he often brought brownies and other treats across the road for us, sharing. This March he will be 90! After Jean died, he kept active, walking on the beach every early morning, driving his little car to the grocery stores and visiting all of his friends. Now he, too, has moved back to New York state to live with his son and daughter intermittently. We miss him.
Peggy and Robert were in a modular on the other side of us for a few years. Their permanent home was in North Carolina. She was a tiny and very industrious little lady, and he was more laid back and friendly. They were wonderful neighbors. Peggy always brought home made stews, soups, cakes, and southern specialties to share. One time she was here alone and was called home by an emergency message. Her grandson came to pick her up. There had been an argument back there between Robert and her son. The son had shot and killed his stepfather, Robert. Then he shot himself. Peggy returned several times for a few years after. The drive became too difficult for her and she sold her place. We really miss Peggy and her perky personality.
Doug and Shirley came every year in their fifth wheel, usually with some of their kids and grandkids. Shirley is a “sheller” like me, and Doug was the “fixer-upper.” Every year they would have a group cake and ice cream social at their site and we would all love telling tales of every sort. Doug had several health issues and died on the way here to the beach last year. Shirley intends to return this fall, knowing it will be very different. Her plan is to put the trailer in storage here and have her family bring her.
The most recent exit from earthly things is Morris. He and Betty Jo came to this beach when there were army maneuvers out on the beach and in the surf. The campground wasn’t even established and they dry camped in a tent at first. They haven’t been here for two years due to health reasons but we have snail mail corresponded during that time. We also share seeds for our gardens. We will always remember this amiable couple, rods and bait buckets, catching all the fish possible, accepting donated catches, and cleaning and filleting them to put in the little freezer they brought in their tiny trailer each autumn. This gave them a winter supply back in Virginia. After their “day’s work” was done, the would bring their folding chairs to the beach and sit up by the dunes, watching the sunsets almost every evening until sundown.
There is something about a beach community that brings people together, bonding and sharing and enjoying each others’ company and skills. The salt air, the sounds of surf, the feel of sand seem to bring all sorts of people together to bond long friendships.
Years ago I wrote a little poem when dear friends moved out and left due to necessity. It fits here too.
People Come, People Go......
They drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a book.
When you finally close the cover, the characters have already told their story and you start up again with another book. This one comes with completely new characters and adventures.
Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past - - - you have let them go.
GMR September 5, 2008
Well that's a bunch of bunk as far as I'm concerned. All of those books with their closed covers, remain in the library of my mind! Every now and then a character or two or even three - leaps out to remind me of his existence. It's really an effort to stuff 'em back and I only succeed some of the time.
I now conclude that the theory of "people come, people go" is for others, not me.
GMR September 6, 2008