"I think I'll go to The Beach today." That's how it sounds to me now. The Beach, with a capital B. We spent so much time over there, on the hot sand and in the warm water. This is The Beach at Morehead — Morehead City in North Carolina is my home town. I was born and raised there — from 1949 until 1967, when I finished school and went to college several hours inland.
The house I grew up in was (still is) about 2½ miles from The Beach by car or bicycle. As the gull flies, it was about 1½ miles. When there was a storm offshore, with my bedroom window open I could hear the surf pounding on The Beach all night. When the wind blew hard from the southeast, the waves would wash up seaweed the came from the Sargasso Sea, east of the Gulf Stream and west of Bermuda.
The main town on The Beach is called by the generic name of Atlantic Beach. Nowadays there are other towns on the barrier island called Bogue Banks — Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, Emerald Isle. One of the older villages on the island is the unincorporated community called Salter Path. You could go to any of those places and be at The Beach. There are a lot more houses on the island now than there were back in the 1960s.
So 1970 was my last summer at The Beach. After that, I worked on the mainland, in North Carolina and then in Illinois. And in France, including years in Rouen, Paris, and Metz. I can only remember going to The Beach in summertime a few times over the years. Walt and I went to Morehead one summer (1990), and we once went to Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke (1985 or so). We went swimming in the ocean. We went crabbing in the sound and cooked and ate blue crabs for dinner.