I have written short stories of growing up on the beach, “Box Kite,” “Footprints,” and “Sand Castles,” to name a few. One of the memories I have is down the beach from the life guard station, maybe a half mile or so. A large pipe stuck out of the sand dunes. It went almost to the ocean. It was about four feet across. A lot of the small kids would play in it. I was only 8 or 9, but it scared me, so I only played in the very front of it. It went under the sand dunes. One end was at the “pone” and about 50 feet away, the other end was almost to the ocean. The idea was, when high tide came in the water would go through the pipe and feed the “pond.”
The kids were told by the parents that “rich people” lived by the pond. I was told by my dad to only go on the water, because if I went on the land the “rich people” would have me arrested. This didn’t go over very big with the bigger kids. So as a young child I got to know what happens to start a war.
One day I saw my dad reading the paper. This was unusual because the paper only came out once a week and he said there was nothing in it anyway. He asked me if I knew anything about an article he was reading. “No,” I said. But I guess someone had untied the “rich people’s” sailboats. They floated into each other, causing a lot of damage.
A few days later I climbed the dunes and on the “pond” was a crane lifting the boats onto trailers for repairs.
All was calm for the rest of the year. Then summer came and all hell broke loose. The “rich people” were back. They checked out their houses, lawns, gardens and sailboats. Can you imagine their shock to find out there was no water in the “pond”?
As soon as I heard about it, I rushed to the beach. I climbed the dunes and the “pond” was all mud. Some of the tall boats were on their sides, some were just stuck in the mud. What a mess!
Over by the pipe, a lot of people were looking inside. The state had sent people to find out what happened to the water. A man walked up to me and asked if I knew what had happened in the pipe. “No,” I said. “Well,” he said, “Whoever did this is a genius.” All the valves are turned around. So the water leaked out of the pond and back into the ocean all winter long.”
I walked along the beach, thinking, “Genius, huh?” Not what they used to call us. I couldn’t help but smile.