Learning from the beach

Learning from the beach

My mother took me to the beach for the first time in 1978 when I was 3. We drove from Wilson to the Johnny Mercer pier in Atlantic Beach. She tells me that the closer we walked to the surf the more uncomfortable I became. When she asked me what I thought of the beach, I covered my ears as I replied, "It's too loud! Can you turn it down?" I spent the rest of our outing quietly playing with shells in the sand while sitting under an improvised shelter Mom had made by draping a beach towel over a folded lounge chair.

Despite this dubious start to the beach-going experience, I came to love the beach. Mom took my younger brother and me to most of the North Carolina beaches, with Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle being our most frequent destinations. One of our favorite times to go was in the dead of winter, when solitude enhanced the sparse beauty of the shoreline.

Now my parents live in Mebane, and I live in Charlotte with my husband and two children. Recently we joined my parents and my brother with his two children at Fort Macon. Many people in my area head to Myrtle Beach for vacation, but my family remains loyal to the beaches that shaped so much of my childhood.

Jennifer Stephenson, Indian Trail, Union Power Cooperative

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