My View from the Porch: ‘We Shall Return’

Reflecting on the passage of time in her town

A few years ago, I wrote a column in the “other” paper in Avalon, “The Bay News.” Yes, for a short period we did have two newspapers here. Lotta water under the bridge since then, for the city, for my family, and for the world.

In that space I wrote about our personal history with the Island, which I thought readers could share and relate to as well: visiting as a child with my parents, as a customer of several hotels, motels, and cottages, and hearing stories from my mom with her grandparents, as a young married woman, and then with my children in our family summer house and then as homeowners of our old then-renovated bungalow.

I’ve written about restaurants and cafes here still and long vanished; beach times and lunches, and fishing off the pier.

I’ve written about friendships begun here and rekindled every summer; of other adults and kids who we have introduced to the island.

This has of course spanned many, many years.

We have come here with strollers and buggies, inflatable toys, hard side and soft side luggage, carboard boxes on dollies, granny carts with food, paint cans with sample shades, bed spreads and towels, lamp shades and hundreds of hats, coffee mugs and silver ware, plastic glasses and placemats, and decorations for every holiday.

This July trip my husband and I gathered in Long Beach with my cane, waiting for the boat guy to bring a wheel chair to assist us up the ramp onto the boat.

As we gathered in the “early” line, we saw another Avalon summer friend with knee brace waiting as well. A couple of local people were waiting with their walker and cart, another wheelchair, all of us to get early access to the Express. Looking back at the line with families, babies, kids with toys, dollies holding vacation equipment and pulling suitcases for a week’s stay with kids, I said to my friends in the early waiting group, “Look—that was us twenty, thirty, forty years ago.” And still we come.

Still we return to this little town, it’s rocky beach, the crowded front street and the clear air. Names of cafes and restaurants have changed. The cramped grocery store (of a couple of names) has spawned a huge store with deli counter, various wines, loooong aisles and more selections (but some things still run out.)

Our house has a real stove and refrigerator (no coil on top) our porch is nice and has nice chairs. We have a couple of couches to sit on, not just beds. We use sun “screen” not just lotion. We sit on beach chairs, not just blankets. We have TVs, internet, wifi, and computers.

Today, we are waiting to greet the kids who came with us many summers ago to share our Avalon adventures.

They played on the beach, built sand castles, drew chalk hopscotch on the side walk, and went “downtown.” Today those kids are bringing their college aged kids, and their kids boy and girl friends—and grandparents.

We will have lunch and dinner and snacks together and tell stories about our trips here on various boats, our nights “out” on various evenings, and hope that our days ahead will be safe and entertaining for all these generations of Avalon adventurers.

I will hope that I will have enough tasty food for the vegans, the gluten frees, the fat free and health conscious “young people” and one or two dishes that will help us old timers remember the good old days.

Hoping we all will keep going with the street parties, the beach picnics, the meetings at the Sand Trap and evenings on the porch—some of us closing the evening a bit earlier than in the past.

For those of you not yet in the “early line” we’re hoping for you lots of good times and memories as you look forward to stories and making memories to share with generations to come here in Avalon.