The ads for the new Adam Sandler movie “Grown Ups,” which was panned by critics but made more than $41 million this weekend, makes me think about what it would be like to recreate your favorite summer experience for your kids. (That’s not exactly the plot of the movie, but they are in an old cabin at a lake with their kids so that’s why I think about when I watch it.)
My mother was always trying to recreate her summers of fun at Daytona Beach for us. When she went as a child Daytona was busy but still pretty pure. They would spend the day at the beach and then go to the boardwalk every night. A band would be playing at clamshell bandstand and the kids would play simple carnival games. They would stay in the little kistchy motels across from the main drag.
We tried staying in Daytona a couple of times when we were little but it was too run down back then. (I understand Daytona has made a lot of improvements in the last 10 years.) But in the ’80s there were a lot of bikers and cars on the beach and questionable characters hanging around.
We switched to New Smyrna beach when I was a little but once a trip we always went to the Daytona boardwalk at night. We’d get salt-water taffy and play games. But it was always so sad because there was never any music coming from the clamshell bandstand. It was just silent and deteriorating.
My dad’s favorite summer memories are easier to recreate. He just always wants to take us crabbing in Savannah. The sport hasn’t changed much. He still connects long string lines to sinkers and ties them around chicken parts. You stake it into the marsh and sneak up on the nibbling crabs with nets. The only thing that has changed is you have to have a fishing license to crab now in Savannah.
We always had a wonderful time at New Smyrna beach growing up but now I’m afraid to take my kids there because of all the shark attacks over the last few years. (Sorry New Smyrna Chamber of Commerce.) So I guess that won’t be recreated unless something changes where the sharks are hanging out.
What favorite summer experiences would you like to recreate for your kids? What ones have you already recreated? Did they enjoy it as much as you did? Was it the same?