That Moment in Time
Teenage memories of Daytona Beach and Dad’s Bonneville convertible
Writer Phil Perkins shares teenage memories of a family trip when he was 16 – a nostalgic tale that speaks to memories in us all.
In the summer of my 16th year, things just clicked. I had finally worked off the baby fat that had plagued me on and off for years. And although I’d never been what you would call a shy kid, sometimes I got a little tongue-tied when addressing the young ladies. Even that malady seemed to melt away with the weight.
As luck would have it, that’s the year my parents decided it was time for a two-week vacation in sunny Daytona Beach. We had been there before but never for an extended period. This time my dad insisted he wanted to size Florida up as a potential location to start a business. I can’t recall exactly what that business might have been. On one day he would talk about convenience stores and on the next a construction company.
When we arrived at the motel (and yes, it was still a motel in those days) the first task at hand was to see if there were any teenagers around. I was absolutely astounded to find that there were kids everywhere. More importantly, there were girls. Lots of girls. It didn’t take long to stake out a lounge by the pool and begin introducing myself to the other kids. Truth be told, my little brother was a “tagalong” at that point. Being four years younger, he could only marvel at the life of a teenager who had his sights set on a little interaction with the opposite sex. Nonetheless, there he was.
Never one to exclude my kid brother, I decided to make the best of it. We concocted a plan that seemed made for the times. Rather than being two kids from Ohio, we became two kids from Liverpool, England. Didn’t really know the Beatles, we admitted, but had crossed paths with them. It served us well as the teenagers at the motel flocked around to hear totally fabricated tales of life “across the pond.”
The two-week period was more than idyllic. There were beach parties, pool parties, dates, helloes and goodbyes as kids came and went. But we kept the accents up for most of the trip. As the older brother and one who could drive, I was able to borrow my dad’s Bonneville convertible just twice to spirit one of the young ladies away to view the world from the little tower in downtown Daytona. I think it was the Terragona Tower, but I can’t be certain. The young lady in question thought it was true love. I thought it was a nice evening and great view of Daytona. We lost touch quickly after that.
Just to be clear, it was a time before kids would sneak a drink at a party. At least for me it was. Of course, the two brothers from NYC that we met might have put a little pep in their pop … (for you true Southerners, that equates to putting hooch in your soda).
It was a time of transition for me … and perhaps my little brother. We met kids from all over the East Coast and beyond. We shared stories and dreams of things to come.
For anyone who has read my book The Legend of Corky Sandoval … or even seen it … that’s me on the cover. I’m second from the left. That summer. That beach. That moment in time.
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