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#11 BEACH MUSIC: A time of tans, blonds and hot pants

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IT WAS A TIME OF TANS, BLONDS AND HOT PANTS, WHEN THE ENDLESS SUMMER WAS JUST A SHORT WALK DOWN A HOT SIDEWALK
Beach Music, an On the Street Where I Livestories is really a tale of two cities; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California. It was originally published in the LA Times Sunday Magazine.


Beach Music We came to California from Canada, with a detour to Puerto Rico that lasted one endless summer of a year. A year in which I turned 15, and my hair turned blond from living in the sun. “Psst,” the boys and men would call after me in the blue-cobbled streets of San Juan. “Psst! Hey, blondie. Psst! Hey, cutie pie.” I was devastated when my parents said we had to go, that it was time to leave the island so that my older brother, Russell, could get a first rate education. The plan was to drive cross country from Miami and settle in San Francisco so that my brother could finish high school before going on to UC Berkeley. But, once we got there in the fall of 1968, we found that …

Model Citizens: Think SMALL #BriFri

I don't know whether to caption this photo They Might Be Giants or Model Citizens.  This snap shot of my brother and me was taken at England's Bekonscot Model Village and Railway in the 1950's, but he, at least, was hardly a model citizen. Russ loved to tease me, sneaking up behind me and digging his bony fingers into my ribs crying "It's Mr. Tickle Time". The demonic grin on his face just this side of psychotic. Our little sister was not immune; she was small enough that he could grab her by the ankles and dangle her over the toilet, swinging her back and forth, back and forth, like a pendulum, threatening to dump her into the white porcelain toilet bowl. Other times, while our mother was busy in the kitchen or deep in the pages of a book, he'd wind us up in our heavy Turkish carpets and send us rolling across the living room floor. 
"Mo-o-o-o-m! Make him stop!"
It's scary what boredom will drive kids to do!

I was surprised to learn that Bekonscot is still there, just a 45 minute train ride from London. For those of you traveling with kids to the UK this summer, staving off the boredom factor while you tour the historical high points can prove difficult for the little ones. 

The disappointment that sets in when they realize you can't actually play with the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum. Or that riding the tube doesn't quite compare to the tubular slide at the indoor playground at your local McDonald's. Walking across the street reenacting the album cover for Abbey Road just doesn't have the same zing you ascribe to it. Riding the Eye on the other hand, is pretty cool, if the adults in your party can handle the height. 

Consider taking a break from Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London and visit Bekonscot—a fave of the Queens when she was a girl. There's just something magical about great big grown up buildings brought down to a child's level. It might even bring out the kid in you.

And try not to despair if your kids aren't getting along. One day, they'll get beyond the snipes and swipes and grow to appreciate and value each other for a lifetime of love and the kind of support only family can provide. They might even say I love you, big brother.

Speaking of which, my big brother—who I've always looked up to and not just because he's 6 foot 2—is turning 65 today. His days of playing Mr. Tickles are far behind him. I love you big bro.
















Bekonscot Model Village & Railway
Warwick Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2PL  
Tel:01494 672919 
Fax:01494 675284 info@bekonscot.co.uk 




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#BriFri

This is my contribution to British Isles Friday a weekly British appreciation theme hosted by Joy Weese Moll.  

Comments

  1. That looks like a fun place to take kids -- the ultimate in doll houses and model trains!

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