All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
One early autumn morning, I came to find my five-year-old self standing in the modest kitchen of my family’s Ocean Avenue home. Summer sunlight was still streaming through the tiny kitchen windows, as if it was August and the fall was still a distant dream.
It was ironic that we lived on a street named Ocean Avenue, since the ocean was nowhere in sight. It was a quaint avenue, shrouded in the shadows of tall trees and sunflowers. Across the street lived a strange girl named Erin. She had a moose head mounted to her basement wall. Whenever I visited her home, I could feel the moose’s eyes watching me as I played Barbie. I was always afraid it would come out of the wall and snatch me up. And thus, my phobia of moose emerged.
Other than the creepy moose, I loved Ocean Avenue. There were lots of fireflies and frogs in the summers, and there was always snow in the winters. Our little house had an outdoor garden that could grow almost anything, and the next-door neighbors had a nice pool that I could swim in when it was hot out.
But there was just one thing missing from Ocean Avenue-the ocean. We were close to the beach, of course. It was a quick thirty minute drive to Jones Beach on a good day. However, I had always wished that the ocean were closer. I felt drawn to the water. There was just something about the way the sunshine reflected across the sparkling blue-green expanse that captured my imagination. I wanted to be by the ocean all of the time. It was the most amazing thing that I had ever seen in my life.
It was on that early autumn morning that I finally got to see the ocean. As the summer sunlight streamed through the tiny kitchen windows, my mother and father were packing the dark green minivan. Less than an hour later, my brother and I had been buckled into car seats and our van was moving on the road. We both wore bright red sweaters despite the warm weather.
“It might be colder on the water.” My mother had said, tucking her light brown hair behind her ears as she folded over my little brother’s sleeves. I paid no attention to her words. As a child, I had never really paid mind to anyone, a habit which became particularly problematic when I entered the first grade. I did not question where we were going as I laid drowsily against the side of my car seat, I was content just to be brought along for the ride.
After about an hour, we arrived at a large dock. The ocean spread out all around us, blinking in the morning sun. I laughed happily as I was unbuckled and helped on to the ground. Everywhere, there were boats. Boats were in the water, boats were suspended in the air, boats were sitting contently on the ground.
We were lead down the dock to a small slip that held the most wondrous boat of all. It had black and yellow (my favorite color!) stripes lining its sides, and the words “All Together Now” were emblazoned across its stern.
“The Beatles!” I cried, staring at the boat’s name. I was carried onto the boat and put on the back seat. My legs were much too small and I couldn’t reach the chair’s edge. My brother was seated next to me, and we were outfitted with bright orange life vests. The vests were puffy, annoying, and seemingly useless.
When we got underway, the motor buzzed loudly and the boat creaked ominously. Within minutes, we were sailing in to open sea. Well, “open bay,” I suppose.
We drove lazily for hours, relishing the wonderful freedom that came with owning a motorized aquatic vehicle and two bloated life vests. We tested the boat’s strength, surging under bridges and turning past coastlines. We were unstoppable in that tiny boat. For a few hours, we seemed to rule over the glorious world of water. We dashed the glassy surface with foam, waves and gasoline.
What we had failed to notice, however, were the ominous gray clouds on the horizon. Or maybe we had noticed them, and were simply too naïve-thinking we could beat the storm in our tiny All Together Now.
Unfortunately, the storm caught us. I remember the waves tossing the All Together Now as if it were a tiny toy boat floating in a bathtub. There was bright lightening and booming thunder. There were whitecaps and bubbles. I hid in the boat’s cabin, hitting my head hard on the ceiling every time the boat jumped over a wave’s crest. I saw a few stars.
My parents replaced the small American Flag on the stern with a long, blinking light. The gangly light illuminated the choppy water below and the forked lightening illuminated the swirling tempest above.
It took a half an hour to return to the marina. It was now well after seven p.m., and night had fallen. Rain still poured in sheets, and fiery lightening still licked the sky, but we were back.
The boat was tied to our slip and within no time we were on our way back to Ocean Avenue in our warm, dark green minivan.
And, as we drove home, I thought about how Ocean Avenue was nowhere near the ocean. I thought that maybe, this was a good thing. There are positives and negatives to everything in life, and this was especially true of the ocean.
When we finally arrived back to our little house on Ocean Avenue, I was half-asleep. But as I drifted in and out of consciousness, I had decided that the ocean was still the most amazing thing that I had ever seen in my life.