Pinehurst Beach Runaround (a 30:30 report)

06/08/2020 2 By BuddyCushman

Well, Buster Gagner, now that cat was a friend of mine from back in the day. A summer kid, his family had a place in Pinehurst Beach which was/is one of the summery beach communities in my hometown, and back then (’61) when the winter population was something like 9,000, this was when I was 12 or 13, and the summer population was like 35,000, well you can see and imagine and pontificate about the changes we felt and the fact that a lot of businesses in our town were dependent in a big way on the summer trade, tourists, though Buster was not a tourist, people who owned cottages or rented cottages even and came down for the summer or did one of those two-week rental deals were not tourists, at least not by my estimation, they were part of our town, and a pretty important part too,

I can think about that when we reached the last day of school, which was celebratory and worthy of our emotional efforts of joy, part of it was being out of school and part of it was knowing that if they weren’t already here, and most of everyone wasn’t, in a couple of weeks and a magic date was July 4th, like a lot of summer people would come down right after the fourth, that part of the joy and magic of getting out of school and summer vacation was seeing summer people again. And since lots of those people were families that owned summer places, nearly none of which were insulated so could not be lived in year-round and especially in our wicked winters, but they came down every summer so you got to know them and expect them and become friends with a bunch of them and even romantically involved sometimes, which makes me remember that song “Sealed With a Kiss” which could exactly describe our situation where you fell in young love with a summer girl but you knew she was going back to where she lived up near Boston toward the end of August and so that was a heart break waiting, predictable, but still so worth it – and staying with a musical thought, the other side of that equation was the song “See You in September” which would have been for the people who did not have summer places and were staying in their town up near Boston and they were singing that to the girls (or boys) who would be coming back after a summer away.

So many songs, man I could sit here and do a little brainstorming with myself, some meditation, and come up with more than 10, all these summer songs, think of “Summer Place”, which they also named a movie and I remember going to the drive-in with my parents and sisters and another family we knew was parked right next to us – which stuff like that was often planned though not by teenagers who wanted make-out space, which I personally know that from lots of personal experience too for sure, but anyway me and Larry, who was the kid my age from the family parked next to us and his dad was a butcher in the local A&P, me and Larry walked up to the swings right at the base of the huge drive-in screen and we sat there swinging through most of “Summer Place” which, and they refer to this a bunch in the movie “Grease”, was starring Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee and so we couldn’t really hear most of what was said in the movie, since you heard stuff at the drive-in through the speaker you parked next to and pulled up into your window, though we could still here like a collective sound, musical/aural ambiance from all the speakers, anyway me and Larry kind of felt the movie more than saw and heard it but it’s funny what things move you in life, what you remember more than other times, because that is a big memory for me and I know the song pretty well, the “Theme” from the Summer Place song which surely ain’t rock and roll or Motown or blues or folk or my usuals but still I know that song and like it a lot and can sing some of it right now if you wanted, and this is a trip down memory lane for me, talking about going to the drive-in – and mostly drive-ins went away which feels like a pretty huge loss when I remember how much fun we had at them including getting older and drinking and like I said earlier kissing and actual sex at times –

So memory lane, I think it’s hard to go wrong going down memory lane, I think it might keep brain cells lit up and help grow new ones even when a little slice of a memory holds the promise of a bigger one if you work at it a little, hence the brain action, but Buster and me or Buster and his family, we never went to the drive-in together, we mostly did summertime beach things like for sure swimming and swimming out to the raft which in this case was a ways out toward the Hamilton Beach side of the water there, though not nearly even half way I would not have been able to make it that far, probably, and I doubt I would have tried, and of course laying on towels in the sun on the beach and checking out girls and other kids and feeling really alive and we had our share of rainy days so on those days we might end up in Buster’s house or someone else’s, some other summer kid, and play cards or play Monopoly or listen to records on a record player, lots of 45’s where you stuck those red plastic things in the holes so they could adapt to how you were playing LP’s, and when we got a little older or were lucky enough to get to hang out with older kids we could also go riding around town together too, though mostly the times I’m talking here about, when I was 12 up to say 14, we were riding bikes, and me and Butchie who lived four houses up the street from me we would ride out bikes over to Pinehurst, which was a couple of miles, at least, and also involved a couple of wicked steep hills and back then we were in way better shape, I mean here it is more than 50 years past that, more like 57 or 58 more years, and sometimes I get pains in my chest and I haven’t ridden a bike in forever because my knees would not be too cool with that, though I do walk a lot and if I was back in my old hometown and was standing in front of my family’s house from when I was a kid I’m pretty sure I could walk to Pinehurst Beach, I would be beat by the time I sunk down in the sand, no doubt about that, and the walk back would be a challenge but I think I could do it, and of course we all have cars now.

So, yeah, Buster Gagner, gee, there were so many summer kids in my life I cannot even remember what town he came from, where his family came from, I could offer up a few guesses and maybe one would hit out of the odds of having wavery memories – Jamaica Plain, Randolph, West Bridgewater – but the geography details aren’t really the important thing. It was getting to grow up in a town that got four times bigger for nearly three months and if you were someone lucky to have five or six good friends in the winter then for a couple of months you might have had seven or eight or nine, plus, like I said way back there, maybe even a summer girlfriend. It’s funny, I seem to remember friends of mine having summer girlfriends more than me, I do remember summer flings you might call them, but no long-lasting heart-breaking when they have to go back home longer-term relationships with summer girls, and their names could have been Roberta or Marlena or Carol or Pattie or Dulcinea, though I threw that one, Dulcinea, in more to show off my well-read-ness more than I can actually remember a girl who had that name, not like the others where I do.

And Pinehurst Beach was not my teenage main beach in my hometown, that would have been Parkwood and sometimes Onset, but when I was younger and our bikes were our life, how we got around – round, round get around – yeah, it was Pinehurst, and one of the kids I hung out with a lot was a kid named Buster.