The Childhood Memory That Never Grows Old
When I think of family vacations I always think of the Hotel Del. The iconic white building and red roof with picturesque windows staring out to the ocean symbolizes my favorite childhood memories. I can recall memories of us kids running across that powdery gold sand with our boogie boards overhead to catch the first wave, our parents taking our sunburnt cheeks in for some cool ice cream at the local shop, and diving in the pool to get all the sand out between our toes. Only to end each day with an orange sunset fading behind a horizon full of hope, waiting to start it all over again in the morning.
I was about nine years old when my family and I first visited Coronado. Driving over the bridge from San Diego to Orange Avenue feels like driving in to an old neighborhood home. Except my home away from home is the Del standing like a beacon at the end of the island tugging my heart strings. Why do I love this place so much? Because its worked its magic over me since I was a little girl. Of all the places I have travelled, Coronado island is the most sentimental to me. Family vacations are about exploring, adventures, and leaving all the worries of the world behind you. I remember my family and loved ones at our very best on our vacations to Coronado and these memories keep themselves like little secrets in all the seashells on that beach.
Over fifteen years later I continue to visit with my mom and we fall back in love with our old vacation routine. Wake up with the smell of the ocean in the air, drink our coffees and get our bathing suits, and walk over to the Del for an entire lazy afternoon sunbathing and swimming on our old familiar shoreline. The Del quite possibly may be the only place that has witnessed me grow up. It has also been one of the few places that never changed as I kept coming back a year or two older.
I still feel like that little girl wrapping her arms tight to the nearest sign pointing to the beach, determined to never leave. Instead I find myself expressing a different goodbye by walking the beach barefoot for a final round, tossing my flip flops on the sidewalk, listening to the crunch of sand against my shoes and somewhere behind me a wave breaking. I take a farewell sigh and my honorary last stroll. Another year gone and another year to come back. Another opportunity to bring a friend or a lover to share these memories with next time. I’d like to think years from now when I’m older, maybe some graying hair, and weathered skin, that I will still hear the live band on the sun deck playing “Where are you going?” while I look out to the ocean reminiscing of that little girl always swimming in the waves.