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Thread: Love Is

  1. #1
    Senior Member charles's Avatar
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    Love Is

    Hi Charles, I saw ur addy on aruba.com and wanted to say Hi and to let u know that we looked for 3 years into a Caribbean vacation but were undecided on the island. One of the gals at work read ur 10 part story (She called it the Ching Saga) and told me about it. Hubs and I started reading it and ur other stories and one week later we were on Aruba. Maybe you remember us, U came to the Links pool to sign ur book for the couple sitting next to us. Hubs offered to take the pic. then took one of u and me. Remember? The pic is at work and the gals think is so neat. I just wanted to say tnx for all the stories and for making ur island so vividly alive with words. Aruba must have been a cool place to grow up. Lucky u!! I wanted to ask if you found anything about a story I asked about? Like u always say Be Well……. Laura/Bobby 

    Hi Laura,
    Say hi to Bob, and thank you so much for your lovely letter. Yes I remember you guys. You asked me if I wrote love stories and I explained that what I posted had to have Aruba in it. I just take notes on life and jot them down. I took these notes. They are reflections of a time long passed but vividly alive. Remember, I am not much on love stories.
    be well
    charles

    Loving
    Living on an island is unique. So much beauty is taken for granted; and so many wonders become the norm. As kids, we all looked forward to school in Europe or the USA, however the change was impactful and it took most of us a while to adjust. Some never adjusted and returned to Aruba within months. I stayed but missed the beaches and the constant breeze. As time passed I realized that what I missed was the Island attitude and style. I adjusted, however none of us ever forgot where home was. My lifelong friend, Lana, and I ended up at neighboring schools in the US. This is something we both suspected was by the design of our parents. After graduating, we were both scooped by the same company because of the multi-lingual talents. It was a benefit of growing up on Aruba. The corporate home office of the company we work for is in Atlanta and we moved there, we lived there and got married there. Two boys were born there and a station-wagon and a dog were all a part of the package. However there was never a second that we doubted that we only had one home - Aruba. It is where we started and where we will probably be buried. Anywhere else on the planet is a temporary stop for two people from Aruba that are heading back some day.


    We made it a yearly habit to go back to Aruba, for our vacations, and tried to stay close to nature and to spend as much time as possible on the North Coast. We also tried and maintain some of our childhood habits, one of those being to go to Palm Beach on Sundays. On one of those Sundays, my eldest son asked me something that I never expected him too. We were floating next to each other at Eagle Beach in the shore area off to the side of Costa Linda and he asked me how long I had loved his mother. I thought about that for a minute and told him that it would be best if I shared my childhood with him. He agreed - this is how it went.

    “Son, as kids, the beach we went to was Palm Beach – specifically The Aruba Swimming Club, which used to be located slightly to the south of where the current WESTIN Hotel is. The Swimming Club no longer exists, it was bull dozed into oblivion in the name of progress, however up to today, if you go to where it was and look around in the sand that is on the southernmost area of the WESTIN property by the beach side; there are still traces of what was once a tremendous social gathering place. One important trace of it’s’ existence is the conical steel diving tower directly off the coast in the chest-high waters.”

    “I remember it vividly. It was a large square wooden barge that floated on the series of 55 gallon drums underneath it. To the inland side, there was a wooden diving board that the guys used to do flips and show off to anyone sitting on the beach that might be interested – not many people were. With time, the barge started floating with one side lower than the other and the most of the wood (not the diving board) started to rot. There was a general fear that it would capsize or somehow sink and it was taken away and replaced by the steel conical tower.”
    “You have to understand that The Swim Club was a place to meet and be as proper as possible while drinking aged scotch or beer and sitting in what could be a cruel sun while doing it. The club building had a small kitchen and Olga, the lady who worked in it, made burgers that she served with a slice of onion larger than the meat portion. The burgers cost two Florins and the drink that went with it was called GRAPETTE and cost .25. You would have loved it. GRAPETTE was basically a bottle of soda with unspeakable amounts of sugar in it that would send any child into an immediate “Hyper – Zone”. It was a CRO-MAGNON Energy drink that did not need to be bullish or red to assure another two hours of swimming, nonstop. GRAPETTE was a bright purple color and, did not digest well. I remember the first time I peed after drinking it. Holy cow did that scare me. The straws Olga used were made of a waxy paper that fell apart before you could finish the drink. The hotels of today were not even a consideration and the wind had an abundance of free space to move around in. This resulted in anyone sitting outside, was pelted with stinging white sand and if you were eating a burger while standing outside, you could probably count on a measurable amount of sand going into your system.”

    My son looked at me and asked, “Dad, don’t get P.O’d but what does this have to do with you and Mom?” I smiled at him and answered, “Everything son, everything. You have to understand that The Swim Club was a way of life. It was a tradition and a place where families went and women talked about whatever it is that women talk about, while off to the side, men talked about business or about women. I suspect that the women sometimes spoke about men but I was not privy to those conversations. What I was privy to was the long lasting and lingering talks with your mother.”
    “She was my childhood friend. Your mother and I learned to swim together and when we were tired of the sea, we walked for what seemed like untold hours on wide-open beaches. We talked about the things that two five year old kids talk about. Do you like church? Do you like dogs or cats? And so much more. They were an endless line of questions that needed no answer yet were significant to us at the time. Any unanswered questions for a particular Sunday were picked up on the following Sunday at the same place and time as if nothing had happened in between. Every Sunday, your mother and I discussed the weight of a child’s world. We lived in an unequalled innocence. The moments were pure and without “white lies.” It was just talk between two young souls. Perhaps I already loved her then. We had no idea nor could we have suspected that we were setting the groundwork for a life of love. Odd isn’t it? At that age, your birth and that of your brother was secured.” My son looked at me intently.
    “We were just two young souls that walked and talked for almost half our lives before reaching ten years of age. We were kids and had no idea that we had started something that would develop into a relationship to span both their lifetimes. That is the thing about life; you just have to live it and not guide it, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart. Little did we know and actually little did we care. We were kids and kids live for the moment. Kind of like you. I don’t know. Maybe I have loved her since I was about ten”
    My son looked over and asked me to tell him more.
    “The Sundays were endless and ever changing. Then there was a brief period where all we did was say hello. This happened during the late pre-teens and early teen years when being with the same gender was important, yet I constantly found myself looking over my shoulder to see what she was doing and often I could see that she did the same. When this happened, either we would look away quickly or (most often) smile. I think that I was too young to know about love but then again there was a youthful promise of love or something of the sorts that lurked silently in me while I never imagined that she felt the same. She must have felt something – I think – actually, I hoped. It could be that the childish stuff was just that and that I started falling in love with her in the pre-teen or early teen years. It’s so hard to define.”

    I swam out a moment and then back to him to continue.

    “I was just thinking that from there we went on to the hand holding and eventual first kiss.” I thought about that first kiss a moment. “You know, I think that this may have been the time I fell in love with your Mother.” Does that answer your questipon?" He looked over and said, “Yeah Dad, it does. Thanks for sharing that with me.”
    We walked out of the water and I looked over towards the WESTIN. I could see the conical tower and I asked my boy if he wanted to walk over to the diving tower. He agreed, grabbed our sandals and we started the walk over. I started to think further about Lana and everything we had lived through. Incidents popped up and one lingered. I decided to share it with him as we walked over to the tower.
    “You know son, love is about respect and without it, you can’t be in love. You can be in ‘Passion’ or can be infatuated but, solid love requires respect.” A few steps on he asked me, “Did you respect Mom?” I answered him but thought that it would not sink in as I meant it.
    “We weren’t married yet, I mean we were still in high school and one time, it was that – well you know – something could have happened but didn’t.” My son looked at me and asked me why I was telling him this. He seemed uncomfortable. I continued. “Anyway, nothing happened. A few days later I got a call from your grandma (On Moms side) to come to their house. Son, I was terrified but went to see her. I walked in and Gama asked me to sit in the kitchen with her. She said to me, “As you know, Lana tells me everything, and she told me about the other evening. I wanted to thank you for respecting my Lana and to let you know that when you respect, then you build love. Come and give me a hug.” I was flabbergasted but hugged her – You know how she loves hugging. So maybe it was in that moment of respect that I started to really love your mother.”

    He looked at me and asked if that was all Gama said. I responded with:
    “She kept on hugging and started to talk to me and said, that she and my mother, your other Granny, talked one Sunday at the Palm Beach Swimming Club and came to the consensus that we would be a couple some day. We were both five at the time.” My son looked at me inquisitively and asked how his two grandmothers had come to that conclusion.
    “It’s silly really but it seems as if there was one Sunday that some sand got into your mothers soda and I gave her my GRAPETTE. Silly isn’t it? Maybe I loved her then.
    We reached the beach in front of the tower and he looked over at me. “Dad, that whole answer was the most perfect non-answer you could have given me.” I smiled and wondered to myself if my love for Lana was about noticing that there was sand in her soda or giving up mine because there was? Hell, I was five years old!
    The day was perfect and we walked over to the water and swam out to the conical steel tower. We swam out to a steel cone where Lana had been waiting for us - we swam out to tradition.

    Love is ……..


    Be well
    charles
    Last edited by charles; 01-31-2013 at 09:18 AM.
    THERE ARE PLACES TO SEE - STORIES TO TELL
    IMAGES TO HARNESS - AND MORE STORIES ON caribbean.tv
    be well
    charles

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Love...ly!


  3. #3
    Senior Member DiviDiviFan's Avatar
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    Beautiful story Charles what memories are all about

  4. #4
    Senior Member danadog56's Avatar
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    so sweet....
    ARUBA....HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  5. #5
    Senior Member tavilas's Avatar
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    I could l the warm breeze on this cold day in Rhode Island as I read this wonderful story.
    Thanks

  6. #6
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    Thank you Charles for that wonderful, wonderful story. I also remember the conical steel tower.

    My daughter and I head back to Aruba on Sunday, June 16, for our three week stay at Playa Linda. Upon arrival, we will quick chill several bottles of wine, pick up some pizzas and join our group on the beach to watch the first of many sun sets and celebrate that we are once again back on "The Rock." Monday night is dinner at Smokey Joes, up to the room to grab more wine and meet the group again on the beach to watch another sun set. Just does not get any better. And we plan on repeating that every chance we get, especially on July 4 when we celebrate my daughter's birthday. And like everyone else, will shed a few tears as we depart on Sunday, July 7, and fly back to Houston.
    Be well Charles
    Dolores Grissom
    (Lago 1935-1944)
    Last edited by ArubaDolores; 01-23-2013 at 03:07 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member charles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArubaDolores View Post
    Thank you Charles for that wonderful, wonderful story. I also remember the conical steel tower.

    My daughter and I head back to Aruba on Sunday, June 16, for our three week stay at Playa Linda. Upon arrival, we will quick chill several bottles of wine, pick up some pizzas and join our group on the beach to watch the first of many sun sets and celebrate that we are once again back on "The Rock." Monday night is dinner at Smokey Joes, up to the room to grab more wine and meet the group again on the beach to watch another sun set. Just does not get any better. And we plan on repeating that every chance we get, especially on July 4 when we celebrate my daughter's birthday. And like everyone else, will shed a few tears as we depart on Sunday, July 7, and fly back to Houston.
    Be well Charles
    Dolores Grissom
    (Lago 1935-1944)
    There was a place - somewhere in all our minds. This place was perfection, and then - perfection was out-done by Aruba.

    Charles
    THERE ARE PLACES TO SEE - STORIES TO TELL
    IMAGES TO HARNESS - AND MORE STORIES ON caribbean.tv
    be well
    charles

  8. #8
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Charles, For a guy that's not much on 'love stories'..... you really shined with this! Thanks for sharing!

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