Family Vacations to York Beach Were the Best Parts of My Childhood

by Peter Ricciuti
(Frederick, Maryland, USA)

I love the beach. Almost any beach is fine with me but as soon as I set foot on the sand I am drawn to childhood memories of family vacations to York Beach, Maine. Until I was in 5th grade, every summer my parents took our family on vacation there. With seven kids and a dog in the family, there was instant excitement when ever we took a trip.

Our days on vacation had a familiar and comfortable rhythm. My mother would warm up the chilly mornings by making blueberry muffins. If it was a sunny beach day we would spend the whole day on the sand. My father led us in a never ending quest to stop the tide from coming in by building ever more elaborate sand castles with various wall systems and water diversion tactics to fend off the waves. After the inevitable deluge and destruction of our castle, we would rush into the arctic surf to wash off the sand. At low tide, the beach seemed endless. We would play whiffleball, four square, handball, fly kites or go climb on the rocks that bracketed the beach.

I can't help but try to recapture these childhood memories when I take my own children to the beach now. I compare every beach to York Beach. Is this beach flat, wide, and deep enough so there is room to spread out? Is the water clear enough for me to see my feet when I go in the water? Is there a Norman Rockwell beach town were we can casually walk around after dinner and poke around the shops?

Nothing returns me to my childhood like building sand castles. As soon as I set up the blanket and prop up a chair for my wife, I dive into castle building. Instead of me helping my father, it is my son and daughter helping me. Although somehow my kids have vaulted into supervisory positions without having to do the grunt work. That's ok. I get to feel just like I did as a kid at York Beach. Nothing matters except for holding back the tide.

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