Being a writer can be challenging. Being a great writer is a disease. Being a writer with wealthy friends that will let you stay at their vacation homes for free—NICE CONSOLATION!
Some of my earliest childhood memories float through my mind like the fog that rolls toward the California shores, particularly Belmont Shores Long Beach, where my father procured a rental every summer for our family. I was too young to understand that this was not the most tony of beach resorts, but did take note that my father often told other adults that he preferred the weather in Belmont Shores to any other costal city. And my father did have an aversion to big shots and people who fancied themselves chic.
As years passed on, the family vacations came to an end. And as more years passed my connection to Belmont Shores, like so many of the great wonders of youth, became a distant memory relegated to an occasional visit.
I pause to think now about my dream of buying the beautiful brick house that to this day sits on a corner of an island called Naples, which juts into the bay at its most favorable bend. In my lifetime I earned the money many times over to buy this spot so beautifully balanced between the earth and sea, but the foolishness of still larger dreams caused this one to vanish like the sandcastles of children with the rise of the tide.
My friend Ed, EY, Big Ed, or Edward Yawitz, he answers to all cheerfully so, grew up in Montebello a few blocks from I. And his family too escaped the heat of August by family vacation in Belmont Shores—and many other neighbors did so as well, it was the Catskill’s West. Even though many friends of my childhood kayaked in the bay in my company, and broke bread at my wooden table on the patio of The Beach Burger, or stood in line next to me at Woody’s Goodies, it had never occurred to me that their dreams had taken the shape of my own. But unlike my easily corrupted, by greed and grandiosity, vision of existence my friend Ed bought a home on the shorefront of Alamitos Bay, Belmont Shores, Long Beach.
“Why don’t you come down to Long Beach and spend the night? We’ll paddleboard around the island,” Ed suggested whilst we drove around the city smoking Cuban cigars in an American made truck he uses for work on occasion.
“Okay…” said I.
The home, built in 1903, was the first on the peninsula. Originally a Grand Victorian it was the sales office for much of the neighboring beachfront property. Later the first home on the bay laid claim to being the first brothel of the beach. And then came the remodel that converted the magnificent home to an apartment building—with three thousand square feet preserved ground floor, in front, for a hint of grandeur past.
And it is this valuable footage that my friend Ed has turned into a vacation rental. It warms me to think that other families are experiencing the summers as I once did. Ed is a wealthy man, he does not need to rent out such a special place—he won’t admit this. But in his heart I see that he wants others to know what we know about this little part of Earth.
I paddleboarded up and down the bay, after an unfortunate moment in which I attempted to mount the surfboard like contraption—it slipped from underneath and I landed face first in the shallow water. “Warmer than I remember,” I thought to myself, as Ed and several children accompanied by their parents had a great laugh. I chose to make it a teaching moment. And after failing so miserably the first time, I tried again and succeeded excessively.
Post paddle, I took a luxurious hot shower. This particular cascade of pleasure can only be experienced by walking directly from the sand to the shower bath—and even an adult must smile at the sand that washes down the drain after finding its way into the most inappropriate of places.
Ed took Frankie (another of his friends) and I to dinner on Second Street. Continue reading