What I Miss Most About LBI

By ELLEN KONWISER | Oct 23, 2019

I spend summers on LBI, but at the end of September I pack up the house and drive back to North Jersey, my car crammed full with all my summer clothes, whatever food hasn’t been consumed and my 10 houseplants.

The beds have all been stripped, sheets and blankets washed and stored for the winter. Every surface has been scrubbed, floors mopped. It’s probably the cleanest the house has been in months!

Once my car is loaded, I sit in the driveway trying to resign myself that summer’s over.

It has been a couple of weeks since I left LBI – time enough to unpack and re-orient myself to the house I left in June. Sitting in the unseasonably warm September sunshine, I contemplate the past summer, mentally reliving the shore’s laid-back lifestyle and wonderful family times. I feel as if I have lost something precious now that summer’s over.

To assuage my sadness, I decided to make a list of what I miss most. During the winter, whenever I feel the need, I can refer to the list. Although it’s certainly no substitute for being on LBI during the summer, it does seem to help.

In no particular order, the following list will be my security blanket during the coming months. As I imagine each item, I find myself smiling.

• No schedule to adhere to

Beautiful orange and yellow sunsets

Flip-flops and shorts accepted everywhere

Sea gulls’ early morning laugh to replace alarm clocks

Daily trek to the beach with chairs on our backs, carrying beach bags filled with water bottles, sunscreen, towels and snacks

Midday doze to the background hum of conversations around me

Grandkids riding their Boogie boards

Early morning strolls at the edge of the surf, searching for shells or sea glass

Reading a beach novel

Bike rides to Jersey Girl for bagels and morning coffee

Kayaking in the bay

Monarch butterflies flitting from flower to flower

Summer dinner of grilled fresh fish from Pinky’s, fresh Jersey tomatoes and corn from the farmer’s market

Monopoly with the grandkids or Scrabble with my daughter

Cool night breezes rattling the window shades

And a favorite: Our mascot Sammy the Seagull’s evening roost on our chimney. He’d stare at us sitting on the deck. Occasionally he’d stand up, squawk and stretch his wings, only to turn 360 degree before resettling on the chimney. After sunset, he’d fly toward the south.

Even though when it’s snowing or freezing outside I don’t have the ability to make summer return, I can refer to my list, close my eyes and pretend it’s almost Summer 2020. It will be here before we know it!

Ellen Konwiser lives in Mount Arlington, N.J., and Brighton Beach.




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