Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Way Back Machine


The Time: Summer, 1958
The Place: Silver Sands Motel, Panama City, Florida

This photo brings back an incredible number of memories. Isn't it funny how much of our childhood is lost in the fog of time and yet some things remain crystal clear. I suppose it's a sign of aging.

There's nothing on the back of the photo to identify the time or place, but I don't need a reminder. It was burned in my memory by the hot summer sun.

We had made our yearly trek to Florida with another family, Bob & Helen Gulley and their children. They stayed at the Silver Sands Motel on the beach in Panama City and we stayed at our Uncle Jack's beach house.

The sand on the gulf coast is as white as salt and the water is clear and blue. I can smell the suntan oil that our mom slathered all over us. I'm shielding my eyes from the sun because I'm not cool enough to have shades. My brother (second from the left) is employing his best Lloyd Bridges Sea Hunt stance. See the three kids in the middle? Well, in the middle of the middle kids is my sister Cindy and she's looking crabby. On the right is my baby sister Pam. She is so stinking cute.

Here's a close up of Pam:


Look at that bathing suit. My mom made alot of our clothes, but judging from the complexity (the ruching) I don't think she made our swimsuits.

The Silver Sands had huge inner tubes that had the name of the motel painted on them. We used them to float in the shallow water.

What's that silly music you're listening to? (If you're reading this on June 22nd, it's Shep Wooley's Flying Purple People Eater.) It was the big hit that summer and we sat at the outdoor snack bar and begged my dad for money. We played Purple People Eater again and again, until the adults cried for mercy.

It was a fun summer vacation and one that I never forgot.

Did you have a great summer as a kid? One that was unforgettable?


Janet said...

I remember that song like it was yesterday. It wasn't you say? Humphh! I took tap for a very short time and if we behaved like little ladies during the class we were allowed to "jitterbug" to this song before we left! My career as a dancer was cut short when we moved from a small town in VT where lessons were 50 cents to the big city where they were $1. Those, indeed, were the days my friend.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I don't remember the song, but I can see why it appealed so much to you kids! Such a cute photo. The children are all adorable and the bathing suits are wonderful. Your brother is a perfect little Lloyd Bridges.

Lucy said...

Wow...Purple People Eater. Takes me back to early teenage years at Chief Moses Jr. High School in Moses Lake, Washington...but mostly the summer there that year.
There must be a recording of it on the web someplace. next blog?? Summers there were swimming in the lake which was FILLED with carp. I still cringe at those things. Eeeeyuck.

Heather said...

I LOVE the picture of you kids standing on the beach all lined up. That is too cute.

My most memorable family vacation was a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Good gravy, WHAT were my parents thinking???

Jill said...

I always love beach photos.... and bathing suit shots. The bathing suit styles always tell a story.

I especially love how parents never change, and we all want to take the shots of the kids looking in the sun... thus they're squinting and their hands are always up shielding their eyes.

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

I love that beach! It must have been wonderful there. My favorite summers were also spent on the beach at Clear Lake, Indiana, where my grandparents had a cottage. Some of my favorite childhood memories were from there. I so wish I could go back to that place again.

Those were the days. There was no working phone there, no TV, and none of today's entrapments like cell phones and computers and video games. We spent hours in the water or in the old row boat or taking hikes around the lake. The old cottge is now gone. In its place stands some pretentious mini mansion. The lake went from a friendly place where the working man could buy a summer place to a lake where you have to be a doctor or lawyer to be able to afford a lakefront cottage. Breaks my heart to see it all now.


The Burp Cloth Babe said...

Found you on Tadpoles & Teacups (my aunt's blog.) Loved my visit.

Cute, cute, cute pics! :)

Jessica said...

oh I love vintage! Thanks for sharing these photos.

And no wonderful summers that I recall. I just glad to be away from the mean kids at school.

I hope to improve on that with my own kids.

BittersweetPunkin said...

I LOVE that song...and the Mom used to make our clothes when we were little..I don't know how she did it. I was brought up on the East Coast and we were always at a beach or a lake although my Mother didn't like to swim. wow..I have a LOT of catching up to do here...I adore that sand castle cake and the story behind it is so funny...anything is possible...I have a cat that loves potato chips!

Robyn said...

What a glorious photograph! I remember holidays just like that and I think I even had the same hairstyle as you did.

American in Norway said...

How fun... that is a great picture. I always loved summer... we spent everyday at the pool & with friends... Ah, those were the days...

Cindy La Ferle said...

You brought back the summer-delicious scent of Coppertone and my own Florida beach memories ... and my dad singing "See the USA in your Chevrolet!" as we careened down the highway in the old Impala. Thanks for the smiles.

Suzanne said...

Janet - I remember that little beach side restaurant and the juke box like it was yesterday.

Vee - You're way too young my dear. My mom had a really cute bathing suit too. I remember it well, it was pink and black, two of my favorites colors.

Lucy - EEWWWWW, swimming with carp. That's as bad as the swimming hole my grandfather would take us to in northern Wisconsin. Only after we'd been wading around for awhile did we discover it was inhabited by LEECHES!!!! I can still hear my poor grandmother screaming.

Heather - The Grand Canyon. Yikes!! That would give me nightmares. We went to Lookout Mountain when my son was only two. I almost had a heart attack trying to keep him safe....I was 7 months pregnant and scared of heights. What was I thinking?

Jill - Yes, actually all the styles come back around. But you can still tell the difference, they tweak them a bit. I'm waiting for elephant leg bell bottoms to make their comeback. Maybe they did and I missed it.

Kady - Hmmmm, I'm going to have to see where Clear Lake is. We would occasionally go to Cedar Lake, Indiana. I agree it's sad about the "McManshioning" of the old summer homes. My great grandfather had a cool little cottage on Nippersink in Wisconsin. It's now a multi-million dollar place. I wonder what great-grandma would say.

BCB - I'm glad you found my place. I love your aunt's blog. She has the coolest banner.

Jessica - Oh gosh, I love vintage photos so much that I buy them!! Yes, I have boxes full of other people's famlies!!

Punkin - I'm always amazed at the talents of my mom's generation. Wow....they could throw together an awesome picnic complete with blackberry pies from the berries we had picked. My mom was a terrific seamstress, out of necessity!

Robyn - I remember that my hair was really wavy/curly and uncontrollable at that time. It was probably a home haircut and a Toni perm!!

There's my Ameri-egian - HA. Don't we wish as adults that summer's were as carefree as when we were kids?

CIndy - Coppertone was indeed the scent of the season. Nice and oily and with it's own distinctive smell. My dad always drove Chevys. We would fit two adults and four kids into a 4-door sedan and drive to Florida WITHOUT air conditioning.

Thanks everyone for taking a trip in the Way Back Machine.

- Suzanne

Rue said...

Hi Suzanne :)

You were all pretty stinkin' cute ;)

My most memorable summer vacation as a child was when my mom rented a beach house for the summer. We had a lot of fun, but the one thing I remember the most was not fun. My drunk uncle lit a spinning firecracker and it went between my foot and the strap on sandal I was wearing. It wasn't pretty to say the least. Now when we have firewoks, everyone has to wear tennis shoes LOL


Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne!
GREAT photos!
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blog posts about Silver Sands to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)