Our Shore House Calls Us Back, Year After Year

By ELLEN KONWISER | May 15, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds With its cheery yellow exterior and inviting decks, the Konwiser vacation house stands ready for multi-generational use this summer.

Our house stands proudly, having survived another winter. It awaits the coming of warmer weather, anticipates sunshine on its decks and, most importantly, the sounds and sights of children. It relishes bikes and kayaks being moved from the garage to be rinsed off, ready to take to the bay.

This two-story yellow house has been loved for 45-plus years. It’s been painted, then vinyl-sided. It’s had a new roof, and windows and sliders have been replaced over the years. The interior has been refurnished many times, the kitchen and bathrooms updated. But despite changes, it still retains its original charm.

Our children grew up spending summers on LBI. Now their children are following suit. Three generations share the love of the shore. Three generations look forward to spending weeks in the relaxed, laid-back aura of LBI.

This past winter was not particularly harsh, but the sand in the garage has accumulated and must be swept. Water, drained before winter to prevent frozen pipes, must be turned on and flushed through. The inside must be dusted, scrubbed and aired. The beach stones surrounding the house need raking and windows need to be washed. It’s all part of the springtime ritual, one we all assist with, one we look forward to – a harbinger of summer.

So we get to work. The entire weekend will be devoted to getting the house ready. We’ll intersperse the physical labor with pizza from Joey’s, walks to the ocean, testing the bikes. We’ll take breaks to share photos and memories of past summers.

We’ll catch up with our neighbors, perhaps gather for happy hour at Kubel’s Too. All will remark on how the little ones have grown. Someone will comment how the adults have aged. We’ll chuckle, adding that we don’t feel any older.

Although it’s still too chilly to sit on the beach in bathing suits or to go into the ocean, we don sweatshirts and long pants so we can pay tribute to the beach. The children march ahead, waiting at the still-blinking traffic light as they’d been trained to do.

It is cold and almost too windy to enjoy the salty breezes. The damp spray mixed with blowing sand seems to pierce skin. But it’s a tradition, so we try to enjoy ourselves, wishing we’d brought blankets in which to wrap ourselves. When we all admit we’ve had enough and our skin is sand-blasted, we leave the beach for cups of hot chocolate and homemade cookies on the deck. But ultimately we must get back to work to complete the “opening of the shore house.”

Toward dusk we make the beds in preparation for a good night’s sleep. We’ll finish whatever is left to do the following day.

Can we go out for breakfast? I wonder if The Chegg is open yet.

Ellen Konwiser lives in Mt. Arlington, N.J., and has owned a house in Brighton Beach since the 1970s.




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