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.