The beach played a big part in our family life. It was only an hour's drive and free, so we spent many weekends body surfing, picnicking, and playing foxes and geese. This snapshot suggests that my enduring love for the ocean was formed before I could walk.
When we weren't at the beach we were usually involved in the arts in a lowbrow sort of way. All of us at one time or another participated in local or school theater, but music was the one art we all did together with equal enthusiasm. Both Mom and Dad had gorgeous voices and a deep appreciation for most types of music. None of us kids inherited our parents' talent, but what we lacked in quality we made up for in gusto. We sang in the car, around the piano, at the dinner table and at parties.
Daddy had no musical training but his natural gifts were prodigious and supplied endless family entertainment. He sang bass in a barbershop quartet and played a homegrown honky tonk on our piano. He patiently taught me simple melodies so we could play mean duets of a sort--me plunking with one finger and him with at least twenty five fingers banging on the other eighty seven keys.
But my fondest memory is of the ballroom dances my folks learned and happily practiced with us at home.
As much as I later loved to do the twist and the bump, bopping to the Beach Boys never held a candle to waltzing with my father.