This is what I recall of my youth. I grew up just blocks away from Lake Michigan. In the summers we would walk to the beach with our mom, her "mom" friends and their kids. We'd take a lunch or snacks and spend the day playing at the waters edge.
I don't recall when I first saw the ocean. It was not a big deal for me because it was pretty similar to the Lake. To me, anything smaller than Lake Michigan was a pond. And anything bigger, seemed the same. As I have aged I now know that they are indeed NOT the same. The ocean has a sense of wild about it. An ocean can be tame, but there is always that wildness in it. On the other hand, a Lake such as Lake Michigan can be wild, but there is always that sense of tameness in it.
When my step-dad and mom died two years ago my siblings and I had the task of cleaning out the house. It was a huge task, but some times it felt like a treasure hunt. While in the musty basement, I found a very dust, water-spotted, unframed, oil painting. One look at it and I knew my mom had painted it and it was inspired from my young days in Miller, IN.
With a sly smile on my face I took the painting home and showed my husband. He was a bit skeptical of my plans. I washed the painting off with plain water and a soft cloth. Then I took the picture in to a frame shop. The end results are what you see in the bottom picture. If you are in my house and you look closely you can still see some of the water spots. I am sorry my mom didn't sign or date her work. It must be from the early 70's.
This summer, when the days are sunshiny and hot, I find myself looking at this painting and thinking of the Coppertone girl with her dog. I see my mom, sitting in the sand and looking out at the water. That sly smile crosses my face again as I know I found a treasure that only I could truly appreciate.