Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 1964

Bill K. and Ron H. Rehoboth Beach, DE 1964

I'm often asked, "When did you move to Delaware?" My answer is that I officially moved to Delaware November 17th, 2006. That was the date I sold our house in Pennsylvania and moved into our new house in Delaware. What I don't say is that I made the decision to move to Delaware, specifically the Rehoboth Beach area, way back in 1964.

Growing up in the small town of Downingtown, Pennsylvania I always wanted to "go to the shore." I envied my schoolmates who had families that took them to "the shore" (aka "the beach) for holidays and in the summertime. My dad would go fishing with some of his brothers and friends off of Cape May, New Jersey but he never thought to offer to take any of his sons along. If he had, I would have gone along with him. The option of taking his family for a day of fun and frolic at the beach wasn't even considered. That was our "Pop." In our family, his needs always came first. Entertainment for his three sons was not one of his priorities. Not that I'm complaining, my brothers and I had plenty to keep us busy during the summer where we lived on 120 Washington Avenue in Downingtown, PA. Our favorite playground was the railroad tracks a couple of blocks behind our second floor apartment building on Washington Avenue. I never felt like I was deprived during my childhood but I do remember envying my friends who went to the beach and saw the ocean waves.

Me (on the right) and my brothers 1947 - this is as close as we ever got to "the shore."

The first time I saw the ocean was when I was 23 years old. In July of 1964 I met Bill, my life partner. He lived in Pennsauken, New Jersey. I lived in an efficiency apartment in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, a long way away from "the shore." I used to spend my weekends with Bill at apartment in Pennsauken, NJ. One weekend, looking for something to do, I asked Bill if he could take me to "the shore." Finally, I'm going to see the ocean!

My brothers and I and Mom - the closest we ever got to water - the park pond 

Thus, on a Saturday in August of 1964 Bill and I headed for Ocean City, New Jersey. The sun was out, the heat was on and the crowds in place. My first impression was "where has this been all my life?" I immediately felt at home. Maybe it had to do with that I'm a Scorpio and a water sign. Whatever the reason, I felt at home. The only problem was the lifeguards. Every time I went out in the water, the lifeguard whistle would blow. I wasn't going out far, just wading in the water. But once the water reached my knees the lifeguard would blast his whistle. I looked back to see what the problem was only to see the lifeguard, who was laying on his back, impatiently waving me back to shore. To me it looked like the lifeguard didn't want to move his head too much so he wanted me and all the other bathers in his line of view.

I walked back to where Bill and I had laid our towels on the beach and told Bill I wanted to leave. What was the point? I'm finally at "the shore" and I couldn't go in the water past my knees. We left and I haven't returned to the Jersey shore since that summer day in 1964. And I never intend to return especially now since "Snookie" and "The Situation" are what the Jersey shore is all about.

I hadn't given up on going to the beach. Instead, I decided instead of going to "the shore", is what you call going to the beach in New Jersey, that I would go to Rehoboth Beach.

Rehoboth Beach, DE April 8, 2010

A few weeks later, Bill and I along with my friends Ron H. and Ed C., headed to Rehoboth Beach, New Jersey. This was in August of 1964, long before Gayberry. This was even before Camp Rehoboth! This was even before Murray and Steve established their exclusive beach house circuit of friends. Wow, we were pioneers.

We loved Rehoboth Beach. Ron, Ed and I worked on our tans. Bill wasn't into baking in the sun. He only went along to please me. He couldn't care less about Rehoboth Beach or any beach. Bill's not a water person. The only problem was the 2 1/2 hour one way ride to Rehoboth Beach.

My friend Ed C. sunning himself at Rehoboth Beach, DE July 1964

That summer day in 1964 was my first introduction to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and I was in love! Bill and I returned a few more times and then in the 70's my good friend Bob McC. purchased a 22 acre wooded parcel of land outside of Georgetown, Delaware. From that day on I often took advantage of my friendship with Bob and visited him, with other friends, at his single-wide in the middle of the woods. Occasionally I could talk him into dropping me off at the beach for a day of fun in the sun.

Me at Rehoboth Beach last week - older and grayer but the Dream is realized

I don't know the exact date that I decided that I wanted to retire to Delaware but I did make that decision. I thought "Someday, somehow, I will retire to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware." As I have found so often in my life, if you set a goal for yourself and work hard towards that goal, you will reach it. I had a dream and in November of 2006 I realized that dream.

I love every day I live here on the coastal shore of southern Delaware. My friend Ed C. has a home right in Rehoboth Beach. My friend Bob McC. still lives on his 22 acres of wooded paradise. My friend Ron H. passed away in 2005. Bill and I live six miles from the beach in Rehoboth. Bill still doesn't like the beach but moved here to please me. And that perhaps is the best thing that has ever happened to me. To be with someone most of my adult life who treats me like a prince.

Me catching some rays on my first visit to Rehoboth Beach, July 1964

So here I am, living at the beach with the one that I love. I have good friends, good health and a good job. Each day is like a vacation day. I worked hard for a long time to get where I am today. I take nothing for granted. I treasure each day I am privileged to live upon this earth. When my time comes, I will have no regrets. I have lived the good life. I am living the good life.

Me with my friend and neighbor Barbara at Rehoboth Beach April 2010


  1. I have so many fond memories of Rehoboth Beach as a child. My grandpa would take me to the rides every summer for about 13 years since I was born. My favorite was the haunted house. I hope it's still there! My grandparents had a house in Bethany Beach. As an adult, I now visit Ocean City with my daughter and/or friends but I just decided that we are going to Rehoboth this year! So excited. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you for your comment Bunny. I don't know that Rehoboth Beach has a haunted house on the boardwalk. I don't think so. I love Rehoboth Beach but the only problem I have now is the traffic is so heavy in the summer. I often put off going because I don't want to deal with the traffic. If I do go I'll go early Sunday morning when most of the folks are still asleep. I should go more often beings as close as I am. Thanks again for your comment.


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