Gerry Stahl's professional & personal web network

-- GerryStahl.net --

| Home Page | eLibrary | Publications | CSCL | Teaching | Research | Sculpture | Salt Marsh | Personal |

My Paradise

My Paradise

Carol Bliss

Period 4, Adv. Comp.


Out of my all too short seventeen summers, fourteen of them have been spent in Cape Cod, more specifically Harding's Beach in Chatham. How I love that beach, with its miles and miles of pure unending sand that glistens in the sunlight. The frequent dunes with scarce sections of beach grass and steep banks provided the perfect place to play "king on the mountain." I can remember one summer when my brother and I tented on the beach for a week. We lived on the beach and in the water only returning to our cottage at mealtime. At night we would tramp along the shoreline with flashlights in hand, peering into the depths for unusual items. We found many.

In order to allow for safe swimming, rocks were piled in succession protruding from the shore out into the sea about 150 feet. It was fascinating to watch the huge workmen manipulate the big trucks and cranes into position and then swing the rocks into place. As they hit the water a tremendous splash would take place and we'd swim to meet the incoming wave. Usually at the close of the day if we were good and didn't bother them, the workmen would place us in the truck and ride us along the beach. We showed our gratitude by bringing them cold lemonade and selling it at a reduced rate of 2 cents a glass.

The bonfires were the most fun. Parents and kids would sit in two groups. We'd roast marshmallows on long green sticks that we'd found in a nearby marsh. As the fire died down, the adults would retire to play bridge as we remained prodding and wheedling Jim, a freshman in college, to play something else on his guitar. He was a huge guy with a deep tan who sort of supervised us at the bonfires. During the day he worked as lifeguard. You could always see his tall body walking up and down the sandy beach blowing his whistle, and sometimes rescuing a panicky swimmer.

I guess what I liked the most about the beach, was the water, especially at high tide. The waves, often six feet high, could be seen approaching us turbulent white-caps. As their peaks were reached they'd often be ten feet high and we'd paddle towards them on rubber rafts. They'd usually bring us back to shore where we'd lick the salt from the splashing waves off our wind-burned lips. The waves would often dump us, but we'd faithfully return for more. During low tide, we held races and diving exhibitions on our home-built raft that was stored on the beach during high tide. As Jim blew the whistle, ten deep-tanned bodies would skim the water gracefully and skillfully until the shore was before them. At the end of every week, winners and losers would crowd around the one green bench on the beach and indulge in one slightly overweight and rotten watermelon. Nobody minded that it wasn't too good, after all, it was donated faithfully every week by the local grocer.

This summer, these joyful days will be gone, for I'll be working as a waitress at the Cape towards my college education, but I hope they won't be gone forever and possibly my free time will bring back these memories to me.

Return to main page for Cape Bliss photo galleries