Beach Doodle

May 18, 2014

By Jim Sizemore

On August 26, 1981, I wrote a longish letter to my niece, with whom I’d been corresponding for some time. What follows is an edited draft of the short note in that letter about one of my yearly visits to Ocean City, Maryland. The original draft also includes the doodle, below. (Click image to view a larger version.)

BeachDoodle059

Dear Sheila,

When we arrived at Ocean City last Saturday the weather was crummy; rain, wind, etc. It was like that all afternoon and evening and it was cold, too. By Sunday morning the rain had stopped but it was still overcast. Mid-morning showed a little sun between the clouds and by the afternoon it was beautiful; bright sun and clear, Kodachrome-blue sky and big white-capped surf. It’s been like that since.

I’m here with some friends and their kids—a boy and girl, ages 14 and 15—who happen to be the same ages as my son and his male friend, who are also here. So everyone has someone to play with. Last night the adults dined and shopped and strolled on the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, just 16 miles north of here. Who knows—or wants to know—what the kids did?

Each weekend the rental units quickly empty out and fill right back up. Pale families arrive and tan families depart. Car doors and trunk lids pop open and suitcases, boxes, bags, coolers, folding chairs, beach towels, are packed in or pulled out. The air is full of greetings and goodbyes. The people leaving seem more relieved than rested. For better or worse, they have survived an intense week of togetherness and are now ready to return to the normal routine of everybody going their own way, doing their own things. Leisure, they have learned, can produce its own kind of pressure and they’ve had enough of it for this year.

The folks arriving, on the other hand, can’t wait for an early morning walk on the beach. Joggers, all sizes and shapes—with few exceptions grim-faced—separate into groups; some run on more or less solid ground, others prefer the shifting sand. Gulls scavenge near the water’s edge and casually turn their backs on human walkers. Surf fishermen, who never seem to catch anything, stand like sentinels with their poles pointing to England.

In the afternoon small airplanes, one every ten or fifteen minutes it seems, fly perhaps a hundred yards beyond the beach and a couple of hundred feet above the ocean, trailing commercial messages. (There’s no escape from the big bad Ad Man!) One banner, reading “MELLOW ROCK,” advertises a local radio station. The phrase seems to me to be a contradiction in terms. An attractive young woman yells to a macho boy in a bikini brief: “The water’s too rough.” He: “Rough, yes, but wonderful, too.” With that, chest out, he struts into the sea.

Now it’s late afternoon, around dinner time. Fewer human bodies still on the beach: some ugly, most average, a few beautiful. As you stand very still at the fringe of the surf, the ebbing water pulls the sand from under your toes and soon you are ankle-deep in the wet grains. Meanwhile, back at the beach house, aggressive black flies hang out at the screen door, demanding entrance.

Your uncle Jim.

Copyright © Jim Sizemore 2014

Today’s Pic

January 16, 2013

For a time during the late 1970s and early to mid ’80s, I rented condos or apartments in Ocean City, Maryland and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and invited friends and family to join me for a few days or a week. On this occasion it was raining in Rehoboth, which made it a good day to stay inside and doodle with my camera. I liked the “frames-within-a-frame” situation created by the screened-in porch, so I set up the image and waited until serendipity took over and the young lady walked into the scene. She made what had been a so-so composition something special, and I congratulated myself for being such a good —and patient — photographer. But then I noticed that I had screwed up the focus. Or, to put a positive spin on it, is it just rain drops softening the view of that girl and those edges?

Originally titled “A Day at the Beach” this is a re-post from August 11, 2008.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Sizemore.

A Day At The Beach

August 11, 2008

For a time during the late 1970s and early ’80s I rented condos or apartments in Ocean City, Maryland and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and invited friends and family to join me for a few days or a week. On this occasion it was raining in Rehoboth, which made for a good day to doodle around indoors with my camera. I liked the “frames-within-a-frame” situation created by the screen door, so I set up the image and waited until serendipity took over and the young lady walked into the scene. She made what had been a so-so composition into something special, but then I screwed up the focus. Or is it just the rain drops softening the edges? Copyright © 2008 Jim Sizemore.