Vacations change as we do. When I was a child in Englewood, NJ, summer stretched on forever. My family never went on a summer trip, so every day was like every other day. I’d get up early and run outside. Our neighborhood was populated with young families with bunches of kids my age, and we would stay out all day and into the night playing. We played kickball, pick up sticks, and jacks, Mother May I, and hopscotch. We would bring out our doll trunks and play-act scenarios with our Madame Alexander dolls. Then there were the art projects we would do under the big elm trees.
There was a small patch of woods where we would build forts, and a cemetery where we would play hide and seek and have picnic lunches. We would make up plays and practice all day, then after dinner we would perform for the parents. After dinner we would play hide and seek outside until the parents shouted for us to come inside. Each day seemed weeks long.
When I was in high school we moved to Long Island where we joined Malibu Beach Club. Each day, we would pile into the car and go to Malibu, an oceanfront club in Long Beach, with tennis, swimming pool, and lots of parading around to see and be seen. My sister was The Queen of Malibu. She was adorable and very social and dated Billy Crystal who also belonged to Malibu. He was funny even back then. I was sort of a recluse, but found lots of time to curl up on a lounge chair and read. I swam in the ocean daily until I was swept under a big wave and had to be rescued by a cute life guard. That put a stop to my swimming. Later we both worked at the Malibu Day Camp herding little kids.
Later I most enjoyed vacations where we travelled and learned about different places and different cultures. No one wanted to travel with me, though, because I would be enforcing lots of sight-seeing and museum visits when other people wanted a little time to relax. Traveling abroad to France, Spain, and Italy were fabulous foodie trips, and we never gained weight because I wouldn’t let anyone sit down.
We now enjoy vacations where we rent a sprawling house and gather our widespread family around us. We love spending time with kids and grandkids and sharing big meals together. Last year, my Flagstaff family joined us for a week at Isle of Palms. This year we have a vacation planned for a week in July at Lake Lure with all the Davises and will enjoy spending time together. No activities are planned in advance.
My most recent vacation, though, was this winter’s trip to Mexico. It was perfect. At this stage of life, I just want to stay put in a reclining chair, feast on novels, and drink frozen confections. We enjoyed walking a few yards to the restaurants at the resort, eating well, and then walking back to our room by ten PM. The concierge offered us sight-seeing trips to Tulum and elsewhere to see the pyramids, but we were not inspired to leave our beach chairs.
This was the first vacation where we came back rested. It felt great to be back in Black Mountain in our comfy house and our own bed. The cold January weather even felt refreshing for a while. We went back to our jobs and felt changed and ready to begin again.