Nearly all my best, childhood memories include my family. Sun soaked, water logged days spent swimming in Non and Pop’s pool with my bro, mom, and dad, inhaling the Intercoastal with its pungent, sulphur smell that smacked my sinuses, stalking the brown water, dockside, hoping to see a silver eel streak by.
Memories that also involve the Atlantic Ocean which was just a short walk across A1A from their condo, the mysterious body of water that housed millions of varieties of life. Whose beaches I lay upon under moonlight, motionless, transfixed, watching as the dark, shadowy sea turtles came ashore to dig nests and lay their eggs. The buoyant salty waves that lapped at my soul. Tides which pulled life’s negativity, ugliness, harshness out to sea till they became little specks on the horizon.
Just some of the magical powers of memory–like a small town revival with its hallelujahs and deception entangled under one tent. Fortunately for me (and something most kids take for granted), Ionly experienced the Messiahs during childhood–the joys and carefree days which blurred into years that formed me like wet sand in the hands of a master sculptor.
My being, my core, my inner child is grainy, sun streaked, and dampened by salt spray. My remembrances which I keep dusted and lovingly displayed in my heart are happy and messy. They leave sandy footprints behind as they traipse through the years to find me where I am now. They slip into my dreams and cover me in beach sunflowers. They resurrect my beloved Nonnie and Pop-Pop whose wrinkled hands stroke my sun bleached hair, whose dark, Italian eyes speak love, whose lips utter “mangia” and “I love you.”
My memories are my buried treasure, coin upon golden coin, hidden from the surface, yet, shallow enough to dive for whenever life becomes overwhelming or hateful or unforgiving. They are my secret to survival. They are. . .and I am.