Musings on: Beach Morning

Beach Morning was originally written on April 14, 2003 with a working title of Awakening Early. The original prompt for this story, “When I awoke the next morning…”, came from the first edition of A Writer’s Book of Days, Copyright © 1999 by Judy Reeves, New World Library. My story over time and six revisions has morphed into Beach Morning. The final revision took place in June of 2012 in preparation for publication in the 2012, Tall Tales and Short Stories, anthology.

This story was written as a first person point of view memoir of my remembrances of family vacations during the early 1950s at the “Point”, also known as Cape May Point, New Jersey. In part, the story was an exercise in using the senses to enhance the descriptions. As more and more details were added, I could no longer call it a memoir. I had added bits and pieces of fiction to the writing. However, the overall story is about my memories of the place, the feel, the taste, the sounds that make up the beach at the “Point”. Not only have these memories found there way into the story, but  over the years they have served as background material for many of my dreams.

I’m sure that most of the sights, sounds and tastes in the air haven’t changed. Though there is one significant exception to this: the winds no longer carry the sickening odor of rotten eggs that used to accompany the winds that came from the old Manganese plant that once stood near the Cape May Canal.

One of the things I sorely miss is that now no one is permitted to walk upon the sand dunes. They have been fenced off from the public, and there are large signs that warn off anyone planning to frolic upon them. The Corp of Engineers has bolstered the dunes in an effort to protect the borough from the onslaught of the seas kicked up by raging storms that are all too often a threat.

Before the dunes were protected, and they in turn protected the town, my uncle Paul Duffield and his wife Lillian, who resided close by the Delaware River side of the “Point” told me of one particular disturbing sight. There was a time, many years ago when the tide was out, that you could see a stop sign poking above the chop some 200 yards out into the Delaware Bay. It was the only remnant of a neighborhood that had disappeared during a nor’easter some years before.

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Some thoughts on my story: What of Christmas Dreams

The incentive for the majority of my stories comes from various prompts. These could be those in Judy Reeves’ book, A Writer’s Book of Daysand my mainstay source, Bonnie Neubauer’s Story SpinnerOf course, there are always the little things in my life experience that will drive me to create something new.

The story, What of Christmas Dreams, in its first draft back in December 2008 had the working title of A Christmas Story. Since that title has been used to great affect by someone much more noted than myself, my editor and publisher had me change it. I think the new title better expresses the overall theme of the story, and I must thank my editors Amy Hollinger and Marie Gilbert for making me change it.

The original prompt for this story came not from any of the various books of prompts, but my thoughts on some current events taking place within my extended family. Naturally, names have been changed and the story has been fictionalized. However, I’m sure that if some of the people whom the characters are based upon were to read the story, they might just recognize themselves. So, like just about every story I’ve written, there is at least a passing wave to some autobiographical link.

It took eighteen revisions to arrive at the final draft for the story now titled, What of Christmas Dreams, in July of 2012. My little tale was included in the 2012 anthology, Tall Tales and Short Stories, released  on November 19,2012.