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Our Summer Place


Our Summer Place by Eva PascoPost-graduationsentiment for Be True to Your School and let the colors fly fading, barely 18 that summer of 1969, a coveted driver’s license under my seatbelt, the beach was the place to go. So let’s get back together and do it again…hey now, hey now. Back when a gallon of regular gas cost $.35, I made the nearly hour long drive to and from Scarborough on practically a daily basis, happily motoring in my high school grad-gifted, 1966, blue Chevy II Nova Coupe with baby moon, silver hubcaps. She purrs like a kitten till the lake pipes roar and if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid, there's one more thing-- I got the pink slip daddy!   


Fully loaded, with no option for air conditioning at the time, the roar of the wind from the open windows competed with the blare from my radio station.  Set on either WICE or WPRO AM, my trigger finger frenetically jabbed buttons until I settled on a song.  As far as I was concerned, The Beach Boys ruled the airwaves. 


During the Sixties, before Interstate 95 paved its way in asphalt, the tires clicked like castanets as your wheels rolled over concrete all the way along the two-lane stretches on Rtes. 4, 2, and 1 to  Scarborough’s beach access road. Get around round round I get around, I'm a real cool head…wah wa woo. Though the high tide of inflation has escalated fees so that a Rhode Island resident’s season pass now costs sixty bucks, a weekend pass is fourteen, and a weekday pass fetches ten bucks—in 1969, it was only $1 for me to enter my summer place.  


Scarborough, infamous for attracting hordes of teens for its surf, and a long boardwalk conducive to babe watching, it was the summer place to be seen. Often jam packed, you sprinted on the sun-scorched sand to find a patch of ground to lay your towel and plump your canvas beach bag which served as a pillow.  Chances are, Sixties chicks spent a good part of the day baking in the sun to work on a tan. I perfected the art of bronzing by rubbing Johnson’s Baby Oil on my person from head to toe so my skin would soak up the rays.  Quite contrary to all the precautions we are advised to heed today to avoid sunburn, a precursor to skin cancer—the toasted look was in.  


East Coast girls may have been hip, but let’s face it, the West Coast has the sunshine, and according to the Beach Boys—California girls are the cutest in the world.  Hence, a bikini string of Sixties movies sunbathed us in the theme from a summer place. Surfer dudes, beach bunnies, and rock n’ roll became an integral part of low-budget fare for drive-ins.  California, here I come!  Teen idol, Frankie Avalon, and Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello kicked up sand in Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964),  Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). After all, beach bumming allowed us to live life unencumbered by responsibilities—except to pursue the dream of catching the perfect wave. 


 Before Sally Field reprised the role of Gidget in ABC’s 30 minute sitcom (1965-1966), Sandra Dee was America’s original, iconic, and budding young lady in a print bikini, determined to fit in with California’s surfboarding set as a means to win over Moondoggie. 


The beach was our summer place to go for idling the days away prior to hitting the books. At eighteen, busy doin’ nothin’, the summer of ’69 felt like an endless summer. I’d yet to begin my freshman year at Rhode Island College and form a close-knit bond with those who comprised division 10.  The good times were about to roll with every spaghetti-by-the-pound run to Tweet Balzano’s in Bristol when it was just a glorified chicken coop.  Putting snow tires on my coupe seemed light years away.   


For now, living in the moment, it’s time for me to rub on more baby oil and find a good song on the transistor radio…T-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs …we've been having fun all summer long…won't be long ‘til summer time is through.



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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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