Until I was six I lived year round in Humarock, a little beach town located on the south shore of Massachusetts. After we moved from Humarock to Arlington it was still the location of summer vacation, most weekends and some days after school since my Grandparents had a house down there and it was only about an hour away. This is not new subject matter in general, I have definitely written about Humarock a whole bunch of times before (possibly even bits and pieces of this story) so bear with me.
It is one of the very few places in this world I consider a comfort place, right at the ocean’s edge I can see all the way around the world.
I was pretty much raised barefoot and sand was definitely a food group; sand is something like glitter, it sticks to anything and everything so something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is no exception. Of course sand is not as obnoxious as glitter since it does actually wash off when you want it to. (Funny side note, a friend of mine believes glitter multiplies during the night and is an evil substance from hell. I tend to agree with him.) Until I started first grade and we moved to Arlington, we lived at The Rock. Sorry Dwayne, residents were calling it that long before you were even born.
As a child of the 70’s and 80’s it was impossible to turn on the television on Saturday mornings without seeing Fat Albert and although I wasn’t a big cartoon watcher, every once in a while I enjoyed the goofy fun those cats had with their Junkyard Band. I always kind of dug the harp and especially loved when Albert made his entrance saying “Hey, hey, hey…” in that signature low voice.
During the summer months my sister, a friend of ours, and myself would hang out in The Pit across the street from my Grandparent’s place and play Fat Albert. We would tuck our Strawberry Shortcake t-shirts into our running shorts (in matching red with the white trim of course), and then we would take pails full of sand and dump it down the front of our shirts to get the perfect “fat” stomach. It would hang over our waist bands and we would walk around the pit saying “hey, hey, hey…its faaaaaaat Albert”.
The Pit was just that, a big pit of sand, blisteringly hot on the top but surprisingly cool just below the surface. We would run over there, barefoot of course, across the gravel and sand street. After so many years of hanging out at the beach our feet had transformed from what we affectionately called city feet into full fledged beach feet. The sand could have been 200 degrees and we never would have noticed, it was summer and we were playing without any cares.
It has been almost a year since the last time I was down at The Rock and today on the way home I rode up along side a little maroon SUV with an airbrushed tire cover on the back of their vehicle. It was done up with the characters of Albert, Russell and another I couldn’t make out. It made me laugh immediately and think back on all those fun, lazy days of summer.
I instantly turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows of the car so I could feel like that carefree kid again. On a day like today when it was in the mid 90’s and humid it sure felt like summer and after seeing that SUV all I could think about doing was digging my feet into the sand to feel the cool comfort just below the surface, right at the water’s edge.