Friday, August 23, 2013

Hampton: Some Things Change, Some Things Remain the Same

I battled end of summer behavior from a car load of restless kids who are just tired of the air their siblings breath to get here this morning but I finally made it. We arrived later than I had wanted to so it was no big surprise that the parking lot I like to use was full.  We had no choice but to park close to a mile away from where I like to plant myself on the beach.  When you have kids in tow there are a few key establishments that need to be a stone's throw away from where you set up shop--Hampton Beach Waterslide, McDonalds and Playland!  With the hot sun beating down on us we trekked down the boardwalk and finally chose the perfect spot.  Off to the water they go.  Perfect!  Now I can sit in relative peace and do a little people watching.

In recent years Hampton Beach has undergone a bit of a revitalization..  They've done a beautiful job and I believe it's still a work in progress.  Although changes have been made, the shops and food shacks appear to have been untouched and all the fan favorites are still here. Some things change, some things remain the same.  It's all good.  One thing that hasn't changed is that it's still the best place around to just sit there and watch people.  The things you see here!  It's a melting pot of cultural diversity and social class.  You see lot's of class and no class at all.  Expect a whole lot of "will ya just look at that" swirling around in your head!

To describe Hampton as peaceful at even the best of times would be a stretch.  If you are looking for "peaceful" you definitely want to go somewhere else.  Peaceful or not I like Hampton Beach.  I grew up coming here in the summers and so did most of my childhood friends.  My parents had a red station wagon back in the day and they'd pack it full of all the necessary gear--chairs, coolers, food and drink and off we would go.  Back then it wasn't common for the family car to have AC so you could count on all the windows being rolled down.  As we neared the shore I can remember the excitement I would feel the moment I smelled the salt in the air! It wasn't long before the boardwalk would come into view and that's when the real excitement would begin!  It was a simpler time back then. There were no waterslides, penny candy really cost a penny, and a day at the beach was a HUGE treat!

I like thinking of those times.  I like sitting on the beach, breathing in the salt and letting my mind wander to thoughts of the way things used to be. They were special times and I have special memories of this place.  My mother would say that I "blossomed" here.  I was just 14 and my family was staying in a cottage for two weeks.  We had family visiting and my cousins were up for a few days.  We did what teenagers do--we went on the prowl to find other teenagers and it wasn't hard to do. The place was, and still is, crawling with them.  Before long we had quite a posse going of girls and guys and we were just running around the place having a whole lot of fun.  It was our kingdom.  It was that summer that I had my first crush and met my very first boyfriend.  Big SIGH!!  Those were the days my friends!!  I can still picture him with his wavy hair and beautiful smile.  He was a bit older, 17, and lived in Massachusetts.  I could go on with stories about him but that's material for a different post!  I'll have to tell you about it some time.....

As I got older I would still come here but the things I would enjoy and the special times I would have included entirely different activities--adult fun you might say.  Nights or weekends away with friends, concerts at the Casino, restaurants and, of course, the bar scene.  Hampton can really be a hotbed of activity and we had one heck of a good time!  Those certainly were the days my friends!

Time passes, things change.  It's time to pass the baton so-to-speak.  Now I take my children here and it's time for them to have their special times and make their special memories.  While I enjoy watching it all unfold, I still spend a great deal of time just sitting and thinking while I'm here.  My thoughts drift back and it always brings a smile to my face.  It sure was fun while it lasted....


+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life

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