How does a family tradition start? I never thought about tradition but I realized it this year as we took our family back to Ocean City for Memorial Day to start our summer and on Labor Day to say goodbye to summer, til next year.
What is our tradition? Every year for the past several years, Memorial Day, we’ve been cleaning the house, dusting, getting it ready, packing it with food to last the summer. Then of course being lazy, knowing the beach and the boardwalk is two blocks away, opening the windows, and feeling the salty ocean breeze. Putting excited kids to sleep may be hard work but after cleaning, well it’s not so hard.
We wake up in the morning lazily again, not really looking at the clock but feeling out tummies grumble then walking to Layton’s on Philadelphia and 16th Street for some creamed chip beef, chocolate chip pancakes, or steak and eggs. Afterwards, taking a trip to Walmart or CVS for forgotten items or to replace expired items in the pantry, while listening to the kids complain and argue about what to do first.
Then we say hi to Officer Bill and Officer Bill, and the other firemen at the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Department as we check out their trucks and equipment again and again, never tiring of the bright red shiny trucks.
Usually the big girls will then take the little boys to the boardwalk and buy a day pass bracelet to ride rides at Trimper’s. Then they come home to eat dinner possibly from Grottos Pizza Parlor as the girls prepare to hang out at the ‘teen’ hangout H20 – the underage nightclub which only serve sodas and water. One thing about this place is we see so many cops around and on every block, we don’t worry so much although I do stay awake until I hear the door open as they come home around midnight. We stay in and play board games and watch videos and put the boys to bed by 9.
Next morning, it’s usually Dip N Donuts or Doughroller then beach time as all of us help drag out the boogie boards and chairs and beach toys and mats and our Playmate filled with water and fresh fruits and snacks to prepare for several hours in the hot sun.
We get back and wash off all the sand at the pool and swim off the salt then shower and if we are lucky, the kids will let us go on a date.
Dinner is usually Embers, Hoopers, or Marina Deck – we need to get our seafood on. I’m sure all of you know what I mean when it comes to being near the ocean or sea.
Sometimes, we go out for a late night at the boardwalk, gorging on Thrashers fries or Fischer’s popcorn and yummy soft serve ice cream from Kohr Brothers or Dumsers. We may take the kids to the arcade or run around the beach at night enjoying the sand art and entertainment and chatting up the police officers.
Next day laziness continues as sometimes it rains and we drive up to the movie theatre up Coastal Highway to watch the hit of the summer.
We do this as much as we can throughout the summer, sometimes with all the kids and sometimes with only some of the kids.
Evenings are lazy, cool as we open all the windows again and turn off the A/C to feel the breeze wind through the house as we sit on the small patio watching the kids ride their trikes an skateboards and draw with chalk.
Last day is our walk back to the boardwalk to play in the arcade and get quarters to do all the laundry since we hate having any laundry to do when we return.
Today and this evening is our goodbye to summer as we sit outside again enjoying the camaraderie and love of family and our traditions like eating giant roast beef sandwiches from Anthony’s Carryout which has been here for years and years since I was a kid.
Why do we come here? Because for my husband and me, it was our family tradition, growing up summers through our childhood and teenage years. The wonderful memories that our families built for us that make us look back and smile.
Tradition for us, building memories, watching our children grow up, looking forward to and enjoying and loving life as a family.
Have a wonderful end of summer and wonderful traditions from our family to yours