“Someday, Mom, when I am super-rich – a millionaire, you know – I will buy you anything you want.”

beachfront house

Brad had began this conversation six or seven years back. Just a thought that had popped into his mind. He was imagining his million dollar future.

As I was thinking, wishing, and dreaming, Brad couldn’t contain himself; thus, he blurted out that he wanted “…to live in a mansion. I will have people cleaning for me. I will have as many cars as I want. I will have a movie theater. A snack bar. A bowling alley. A skateboard park. My pool will be huge, in the shape of my name…”

“Wow! That’s awesome!” I exclaimed, when he finished naming a million more things.

Of course, aside from all those material things, I had to assume a wife would fit into his future, so… I broached the subject.

“Make sure she loves you for who you are, not for what you have,” I humbly told him.

“Well, how will I know if a girl likes me, for me?” he asked, very interested. “I mean, how do I know it’s not my money she wants?”

“When you meet a girl you like, someone you really would consider as a wife, do not let her know how wealthy you are. Just don’t talk about it, and don’t take her to your mansion.”

“Ah,” he responded. “Good idea.”

“That way,” I continued, “she will like you. Then when you both know you are the one for each other, surprise her. Tell her you are a millionaire.”

Brad nodded his head. Up. Down. Slowly.

“So? What would you want?” he asked again.

Without hesitation I happily said, “A beach house. Nothing big, just a place where I can sit, look out the window, and see the ocean in my front yard. Far enough away from the water so I can have a grassy yard with a walkway to the door; surrounded by a little white picket fence. A cozy place. I want to hear the water, and see it too.”

“Oh, that sounds nice. Okay. I will buy you a beach house. Better yet, I will buy you a beach house on your own island,” he said, so certain he would someday make my dream come true.

Rudy had been sitting in the other room when he overheard our conversation and asked, “What about me? What will you give me?”

“A Range Rover.”

“A Range Rover? Why?”

“Well, that is the car you wish you had, right? A black one?”


“That’s why. That is what you wish you had,” Brad said. He was serious. A serious 9 or 10 year old kid.

When Brad does become a millionaire, I just hope the beach house he purchases me will be big enough to accommodate any and all visitors. Plus, Rudy’s Range Rover will need to be in tiptop shape as we cruise along our sandy front yard, salty air encasing its interior.

boys of summer

Recently Bradford asked if he could go to the beach with a few friends, just to hang out.

“Yea, sure,” I responded.

He’s thirteen, soon to be 14 years old. An age where the strings begin to loosen, allowing him to explore his world without mommy and daddy constantly breathing down his neck.

“Cool, thanks Mom. And don’t worry, I will be safe. I will check in with you regularly,” Brad tells me, knowing I need that peace of mind.

Later. Much later, after the sun had set and the day’s activities had been expended, Brad told me about Arch Rock in Corona del Mar, California; a natural structure within the confines of a private beach, solely for those multimillionaires who could afford such a lifestyle.

“Nice. You climbed it, then jumped?” I asked.

“Yep. So cool!”

“But, wait, you said you were at a private beach? How’d you get in?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer.

“Oh, well, we dodged a security guard and jumped the gate!”

Gulp! But, I figured the day was done, and lecturing, at this point wasn’t going to happen, not when, at that moment, I really was more interested in Arch Rock.

“Pictures?” I inquired.

Brad shoved his phone towards me, pictures ready to be browsed through.

“Oh, Arch Rock is HUGE!” I exclaimed.

“I know, right? It was awesome!”











     Bill, maybe 7-8 years old.                                                    A partial Bill, on the far left.

Four young kids. Three boys and a girl. Brothers and a sister. That’s who we were. Soaking up the sun for a week. Darkening our light-colored skin, naturally. We woke in the morning, ate a quick meal, and spent the day using our imagination. Exploring our sandy world. We’d walk up and down the beach, and occasionally stop to investigate a bunch of seaweed that had washed ashore. We’d take turns using the only boogie-board available to us, watching each other fall off, flipping into the crashing waves. And, building sand castles using small styrofoam cups was a must-do. So much happened throughout those long days. So much of not much.

William, who was never called that name, but was instead referred to as Bill, was the oldest at thirteen years old. My brother Christopher, nicknamed Kit, was somewhere in the eleven-age range. I was ten, and my youngest brother, Andy, was seven. At the day’s end, our aunt would call to us, having come down from her home on the hill, to come on in! to have dinner with her and our uncle. Suddenly realizing how hungry we felt, we’d run up the slight incline, rinse ourselves off with the hose in front of their long and narrow beach house, wrap a towel around our small frames, change into some dry clothes, and then sit at the dining room table for a home-cooked meal.

I remember it was Bill who smiled at me, made me feel better, when my aunt seemed mad when I wouldn’t eat the canned peaches she served for dessert. Cling peaches with a little whipping cream. I politely told her I don’t like peaches. Not even if it was candy. My aunt grunted when she took my dish away. Bill’s smile widened.

During those carefree days, those fun-in-the sun days, no one, not anyone, knew that six years later Bill would die in a car accident.