Wednesday, January 23, 2013

National Day of Service Turns into a Personal Day of Gratitude!

Like hundreds of thousands of people in the United States , MiVida and I participated in the recent National Day of Service.  We signed up to clean a local beach in Encinitas and were at our destination at 9 AM ready to fill bags and bags of trash.  We were joined by lots of eager volunteers, but there was one big problem.  After an hour of walking and searching, we decided that this was the cleanest beach in Southern California.  We had only found two plastic straps, two cigarette buts, and some paper.  
However, we soon realized that we had been walking and searching so hard that we forgot to think about where we were walking to.   You see I grew up in Cardiff by the Sea,  about 3 miles from Encinitas, and we were more than half way there.  So we abandoned our hunt for nonexistent trash and just enjoyed the beautiful morning, walking to Cardiff. I was soon talking about all my early memories living near and actually almost living at the beach.  The closer I got to Cardiff, the more excited and talkative I became.  Luckily I have to listen to all MiVida’s stories about growing up in Carlsbad under similar circumstances, so he was very patient and let me stroll down memory lane.

How the memories flowed!  A large group of us hung out all the time, and the beach was our ”go-to” place.  We had frequent overnights at the beach (yes without parents, and we started in the 6th grade.)  Cardiff was so safe.  We would do chores in the morning, when there was morning fog, and then we all headed to the beach.  Those were the days of rubber rafts, and we would paddle out and lay on them for hours.  I had a slight problem.  I didn’t know how to swim, and I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was afraid they would tease me.  So for many years, until I finally learned how to swim in Junior High, I just held onto my raft for dear life.  In my teenage years, I would spend hours sitting on the beach bluffs and contemplating life as only teenagers can.  I really don’t think I could ever live very far from the ocean.

Raymond and I had an epiphany that day.  We both shared similar backgrounds – alcoholic dads, moms without much financial support who worked multiple jobs, broken families, minimal supervision, not much in the way of stylish clothes.  Neither of our families even owned an automobile.  And yet, we both are reasonably sane optimistic adults who have wonderful childhood memories.  So with all those negative factors – what was the difference!  For us, we decided it was the environment.  We had a healthy safe place to be.  It was a place that the most money in the world could never buy, and we never needed more than a bathing suit, raft or surf board to fully participate. 

IWe didn’t do much service on that beautiful Saturday morning, but we had a chance to acknowledge what a gift we both received as beach babies in the 50ties and early 60ties.                                               

                                                   Thanks Moms!  You raised us well! 
My mom, Alta, with Raymond's Mom, Celia, and our youngest child, Christian

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