My mother always loved the beach. She would talk endlessly the same stories about her childhood and going to Coney Island and eating spaghetti out of a thermos they ate like prince and princess my mom would laugh. In late July early August my mother would yell, “I want to go to the beach!”
My father and I would turn white as ghosts as she stormed the house after cleaning it. She can’t just get out and go. She couldn’t just drop what she is doing to go. It is always the same thing of getting up early, packing a lunch in a cooler driving down to Rockaway Beach by B108 or B110 street by Stella Marias. My father would drive and scramble for parking sometimes we would get lucky and get a good spot many times he had to pay five bucks to park in a lot. Then we had to lug everything onto the beach, but my parents didn’t want to stay near the boardwalk but go closer to the water but not that close and pitch the tent, blanket, and chairs. This would make my mother happy that she can go into the water and swim in the waves. My dad and I where not fans of the sand, the seaweed or the crabs the can claw the bottom of your feet while swimming. My father would eat his sandwich, drink his coffee, read a book and listen to the Mets. My mother would come out of the ocean and run for the beach towel and not stop talking of the old days and where the White House use to be on the boardwalk and how Irish Town was torn down.
I would have my birthday parties at Rockaway Playland. I would have a hand fill of friends my parents would buy us an all day ticket and go on all the rides and run around and play at the games. I loved Rockaway Playland. The Roller Coaster was old and it would rock and different parts while you were on the ride there was a sense of danger to the old wooden coaster. I cried when I heard the Playland burnt to the ground.
There were times I hated being there as my mother was very happy to run around in the sand and surf. I couldn’t wait to go home to take a shower to get the grim of being at the beach off. Then I would be sun burnt for a few days due to my fair skin.
I did my time at summer school at Stella Marias, I was a poor student I struggled to get a good grade. I enjoyed taking the Q21 to the Rockaways but taking the C train that was fun I would meet my friends in the third car we would sit together, laugh, look outside when the C train traveled over the water of Jamaica Bay. We would get off at Beach 116 walk down to the boardwalk, my friends might get a soda, funk food and walk to B110 where the Stella Marias stood. When school was over and it was too hot we would take the empty train back, it would rock back and forth because they was not enough people on the train we would stand in the middle and rock with the train. It’s how I learned how to train surf.
The only beach I like is Rockaway. I like that it’s dirty, that they are just a few places to get something to eat. Or when you walk just a few blocks to the subway station you should be on your guard. There has been punks going to that beach since the Romones sang about it, that part I am happy to see hasn’t changed. May Rockaway not lose it’s edge.