Almost time to start packing for my upcoming trip back to Florida! My dear husband has a business trip to Cocoa Beach coming up very soon, and was sweet enough to get me a ticket to tag along with him. As many of you know, I grew up as a child in Titusville, Florida (pictured above) and always enjoy going back "home" again. I love going back to Playalinda Beach in Titusville which is very near Cocoa Beach where my husband and I will be staying.
Playalinda Beach has looked the same forever! I love that about it! In the 50's, there were some houses along this beach, but the government bought the homes from the people who owned them and demolished the houses at the beginning of the space race. They did this because you can actually see some of the launch pads from this beach. For safety reasons and for fear of sabotage at the time, the government took over the property. I am glad they did because this beach has remained in the natural state with the dunes and palmettos surrounding the beach.
Playalinda Beach closes down when there is a launch but is open to the public at other times. When I was a child, the wooden walkways were not there. In order to get to the beach, you had to walk over dirt paths and sandbags that went up over the dunes of palmettos. There was some improvements made several years ago and the wooden walkways were part of this process.
When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time on this beach. There was a section on the beach where you could still see a bit of a slab from one of the old houses that once stood until the government bought them. The kids referred to this area as "the houses" and everyone knew exactly where this spot was. Sometimes, people would tell you to "meet me at the houses" as a way to identify where you would meet along the beach.
Armed with my blanket, my small radio, a bag of chips and a container of water and maybe my camera, I would find my perfect spot on the beach and plop myself down. After that, the slathering of baby oil would begin. In those days, we did not know that the sun was so bad for you. I am lucky that I have the skin I have today because we never wore sunblock in those days, and we spent hours and hours in the bright Florida sunshine at the beach. Getting a dark tan was important to us in those days. I even, like many gals, combined iodine with my baby oil for optimum tanning. Our bikinis were small and our tans were dark in those days of the late 60's and early 70's. Thank you, mom and dad, for the good skin genes I got from you......because, based on my long days of tanning, I should look like a dried up prune today who spends a lot of time at the dermatologist's office in surgery. I have been very lucky but I cannot help but think that if we had known about the sun damage then and I had protected my skin, I would probably look a lot younger than I look now! Luckily, I started wearing hats and sunblock when I was in my early 30's....thank you to Dr. Kronberg in Houston....and have, at least, saved myself some additional aging due to sun damage in the second part of my life. But, can I say............and be honest..............that I MISS those days of sitting there for hours in the sun on the beach getting a dark tan. Alas, those days are gone but I have very good memories of sitting on the beach with that baby oil on with my girlfriends while watching the guys surf and waiting on my boyfriend, who is now my husband, to come in from hours of surfing. The gals didn't mind waiting on the shore. We had fun chatting and walking the beach together.