For me "the beach" will always be Old Orchard, where my Dad's family has a cottage off West Grand Avenue. It's been in the family since the early 1900s, so multiple generations of Finns have gathered there every summer since, just like we did today.
Visiting with extended family and friends is especially nice because it's the one time of year, I see some of my relatives. The beach is certainly a gathering place for us. Our cottage is a duplex. My great grandfather and his first cousin built and split it. That's two kitchens, two dining rooms, two TV rooms and one large front porch to share. Upstairs, there's the same hallway down the middle, with three bedrooms on each side and four on the other.
Although we expected rain and thunder, the sun broke through the clouds and was out for almost two hours, as some of my cousins and I gathered outside in the sand in the front yard. Lea and Neil made sand castles and took a dip in the ocean. Mike spoke baseball with Uncle Charlie and Chad.
Thursday into Friday Mike and I are headed back. My Aunt MaryJane and cousin Liz will be there as well. I like being married and bringing my husband there. It's like the generational circle of life makes another turn of the wheel.
I plan to say a prayer to the sun Gods because nothing beats a sunny day at the beach. The ocean breeze is the best for napping on a beach towel or sleeping in the same rickety bed frames my great aunts and uncles slept on.