Who else is excited for warmer days, brilliant sunshine, and spring weather? After a little tease of spring back in March, the past few chilly weeks have had me wishing for warmer weather. When the weather gets warmer, I always start thinking about which books I’m going to toss in my beach bag or load on my Kindle for late spring and eventually summer days on the beach. As I’ve mentioned before, The Other Side of Later is set in a small town at the Jersey Shore, where the beach is a part of life. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek!
Some of my favorite childhood memories are from summer days at the beach. Squawking seagulls, rolling waves, ice cream men ringing their bells from the bulkhead, and lifeguard whistles comprised the soundtrack of my summers growing up. It may sound rather cliché, but through the craziness of my early 20s, I always found comfort in living – and raising my son – in the same place that held so many good memories for me. Each time I wiggled my toes in the sand, it took me back to a simpler time.
When my brother, Luke, and I were really young, weekends were family days at the beach. Our parents, grandparents, neighbors – Mr. and Mrs. Johnson – and their children all congregated at the 17th Street beach by noon and we didn’t dream of rinsing off and packing up until well past 5. We ate my mom’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, learned to body surf in the ocean with my dad, sat on our grandmother’s lap to get some much needed shade under her umbrella, and somehow, without fail, persuaded my grandfather to dig us a big hole to play in.
As we got older, summer jobs and social lives changed the routine. Our work schedules didn’t always allow us to be at the beach on the weekends. We didn’t dig holes and I certainly didn’t body surf once I graduated from one piece suits to bikinis. Instead of my mom’s peanut butter sandwiches, my friends and I would walk to Loretta’s, the neighborhood diner, for lunch, and breaks from the sun were few and far between as we took turns paddling away from shore in the Johnsons’ ocean kayaks.
The activities changed, but seagulls still squawked, waves still crashed against the sand, ice cream men still ran their bells, and the lifeguards still blew their whistles. The sounds were exactly the same each time I climbed the steps over the bulkhead and onto the beach.
The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon for only 99¢!