Water and I made friends early on in my life. Even before I could walk my dad held me in his arms in the swimming pool at his club or in Lake Michigan when we went to the beach.
I couldn't wait until I learned to swim and as luck would have it I went to a grade school in Chicago that had a swimming pool. I learned the basics there and honed my skill at day camp over several summers.
I was a chubby child so being in the water made me feel light and thin. I never wanted to come out of it. So, I spent a lot of time during my childhood and teen years at the beach. Though later on the beach was more about socializing than swimming. I'd ride my bike there every day during the summers until my parents decided it was time to get a summer job. I also went to a college surrounded by three lakes -University of Wisconsin - though memories of those days evoke strong winds and fierce cold.
I was raised and grew up near water, and have lived near it almost all of my adult life. In fact for 19 months in the mid 1970s we lived on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere in the South Pacific, Kwajalein, totally surrounded by water. Even though the water could have seemed like my jailer, I didn't mind. I loved the snorkeling, boating, shelling, and wonderful parties with good friends on Kwaj's white sands.
For the last 30 years we've lived six blocks from the Pacific Ocean in California - just the perfect distance for a Sunday morning walk. Once I get to the beach I walk the full 2-mile length of my little beach town on the Strand and marvel at the blues and greens and grays of the ocean, the surfers on boogie boards and full fledged surf boards, the fishermen on the pier, and the hordes of folks who come to play in the water during the summers. I especially like to start my walk in the dark of the morning and watch the sky transition from a starry scene to an orange-y sunrise over the ocean.
Water is indeed my friend. A friend for life.
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...