So then I started thinking. I grew up in Huntington, West Virgina and I think my town was a great place to grow up. We had sidewalks and lots of grass with clover for the bees...just enough for us to get stung at least three times each summer. We had bikes and skates and played hopscotch on the sidewalk in front of our house. The only establishment that I know of that closed during the week of July fourth was Jim's Steak and Spaghetti House on Fifth Avenue, so the week of the fourth was just like any other week, except for the fourth and that was always fun.
My family didn't go to the beach in the summer or any other time, for that matter. My father worked for the C&O Railroad so we could take our vacations anytime during the summer, and it wasn't to the beach. My parents weren't beach people. Daddy was of Scottish descent and mother was Irish. Needless to say our skin was very, very, white and daddy always talked about how the sun wasn't good for our skin, and that was in the 50's before SPF 75. For some reason, my father liked to take his vacation over Labor Day. Since my oldest sister lived and lives in Connecticut, we rode the train to Hartford via New York City, where we had to change trains. He arranged it so that we arrived at Grand Central Terminal in the morning, took a cab to Penn Station, checked our luggage in the lockers, and set off for an adventure. My mother usually took my middle sister, Janie, and they went to sites unknown; while daddy, on the other hand, was stuck with me. I remember one trip when daddy took me to Hayden's Planetarium. Because he had one vodka drink too many on the trip from Huntington to NYC, he fell asleep and snored during the program. I was so embarassed. I could write lots of stories about our adventures in New York, but I won't bore you. My point here is that we never vacationed at the beach. In fact,the first time I went to Myrtle Beach was the summer after my freshman year in college. That was the first of several summers that my friends and I worked there.
Although I never made it to the beach as a child like Tom did, we still had fun in Huntington over the fourth because we had great food like hot dogs and potato salad and fun stuff like sparklers. I thought that was the best ever. I can still see the lightning bugs blinking as the bright sparks from the sparklers shot into the black sky.
Below is a picture of me (age 5) in my first two piece.
Here I was dressed and ready for the beach, but I just didn't know where it was! Ignorance is bliss. Tom and I are lucky to have grown up in two towns that we both love. We had normal childhoods where we could run and play with our friends and we were safe. But I have to say, I wouldn't trade growing up in Huntington with any other place, and that includes, you know where!