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Archive for May, 2010

Some close friends of ours, who have children the same age as ours, used to rent a house at Topsail Beach every summer. We had a fabulous time watching the kids making sandcastles, doing artwork, playing make-believe and decorating each others’ faces with wipe-away paint.  And, I’ll never forget the year we were there on the 4th of July, and we walked outside on the deck to see the fireworks. 

Meanwhile, I joined and later became a partner in a PR firm. The owner – a wonderful gentleman – allowed partners to use his Sunset Beach house from time to time.  We LOVED going to Sunset Beach!  It’s small enough to ride bicycles around the island, and close enough to get over the bridge to find fabulous seafood restaurants.

After several years at Topsail Beach (just north of Wilmington), my grandmother passed away and left all three of the cousins a healthy inheritance. Greg and I talked about how to spend the money, and we made the decision very easily: we bought a share of a beach house at Sunset Beach, which allows us to go to the beach every 10 weeks or so.

The last time I was down there, some friends and I rode around the island, noticing the interesting, enticing and fun names on the beach houses. I started taking notes, and identified the following (by category):

Sports and Hobbies

  • The Coast is Clear
  • Pier Pleasure
  • Ebb Tide Tee & See
  • Golf Stream
  • Sand Trap
  • 18th Hole
  • Caddy Shack
  • 40 Love
  • Brush Stroke
  • Tee & See

Sunset Themes/Beach and Views

  • Sangria Sunset
  • Copper Sunset
  • Sangria Sunrise
  • Point of View
  • Sandbox
  • Sea-Esta
  • St. Somewhere
  • Lands End
  • Sea Breeze
  • Sea Scape
  • Southern Exposure
  • Dune our Thing
  • Seas the Day
  • Shore Thing

Nature, Fish and Fishing

  • Something Fishy
  • Turtles Nest
  • The Crab Trap

Relaxtion

  • Lazy Daisy
  • Leave of Absense
  • Linger Longer
  • No Worries
  • Attitude Adjustment
  • Reflections
  • Peace and Plenty
  • Paradise Found
  • Do Drop In
  • Interlude
  • Creature Comfort
  • Carolina Heaven
  • All Decked Out

Having Fun

  • Turtles Nest
  • Family Tides
  • Loony Dunes
  • Laughing Gull
  • Beach Music
  • Fiddler on the Roof

And, finally: Geography and M

  • St. Somewhere
  • El Sol
  • Pure gold
  • No Wake Zone
  • Just Beachy
  • Just Ducky
  • Time in a Bottle
  • A Turtle’s Nest
  • About Time
  • About Heaven
  • Always Summer
  • Anchors Away, and
  • Looney Dunes

Note: If you have a favorite name for a beach house – whether true or made up, please let me know in the ‘comments’ section!

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It occurred to me recently that I am the same age – 50 – that my father was when he passed away from esophageal cancer.

My sisters and I continue to miss both our parents (my mother later died of lung cancer), but I have to say we had a special relationship with our Dad because he was fun and full of life. 

In fact, when we lived in Westbury, NY, we had a large, slanting living room filled with family furniture, a grand piano and a balcony overlooking the spacious room. I’ll never forget the time Dad walked upstairs to the balcony, called us together as if we were the Von Trapp Family, and said in his beaming baritone voice from above:

 “TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE”

And he did live an incredible, happy life.   He was: 

  • A Pulitzer Prize winner at the St. Petersburg Times.
  • Editor of a start-up newspaper – “The Suffolk Sun” – on Long Island.
  • A Public Relations executive at the NY Telephone Company.
  • A PR executive for Katharine Graham at the Washington Post.
  •  And, Director of the Ohio University School of  Journalism in lovely Athens, Ohio.   (I believe he enjoyed that most of all.)

Because of his wonderful personality and connections to high-ranking people in the world of journalism and communications, he was able to secure an endowment for the school from the E.W. Scripps Company.

One of the benefits of the endowment was a scholarship in my father’s name. To this day, twice a year, I receive two thank-you letters from students at OU who were fortunate enough to secure the scholarship.

Students receiving the scholarships always send me a note of appreciation. More importantly, they always tell me their stories – about how they could not have stayed in school for four years without the funds – and how VERY much they want to go into the field of communications. (Luckily, they no longer are pining as much for scholarship money to become journalists at traditional newspapers since future careers will surely focus on on-line, broadcast and new media outlets.)

Here is a quote from the most recent letter I received: “I would just like to say that I am honored to receive the Cortland Anderson Award. When I read online about his work, I was quickly road-blocked by praises of his good spirit, brightness and how he was such a good man in all respects. I can’t tell you how great it is to be receiving a scholarship, but to get the privilege of putting his name on my resume one day, and be associated with his name, is awesome.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you that once in a while, out of the blue, I still shed tears for him.  My sisters and I also loved our mother, who died of lung cancer at 57, but she was much more reserved when it came to emotional support.

My father did get to see Sarah 25 years ago when she was first born, and several other times until she was 9 months old. He never got to see his grandson – and namesake – Cortland.  But Dad would be extremely proud of both of them.

It’s been a long time since I’ve cried about my Dad (until writing this journal!)  Over time, however, my sisters Sharon and Mary, like myself, have moved on to build our own careers and families. Fortunately, we decided early on that our sisters would get together and stay as close as possible, even though we live in three different states.

In fact, we’re going to have a whole family reunion this summer, and I can’t wait!

So Dad, I want to wish you a Happy Fathers Day.

And, to everyone else, I hope you adopt my father’s motto:

“Today is The First Day of the Rest of My Life.”

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