The lyrics of that song have more to do with the anticipation of being with a lover than going on vacation, but I am suddenly feeling that great feeling of looking forward to something, our family vacation to Sanibel/Captiva Island, Florida. We took a trip to the Tampa/Clearwater area last year and it was great, but Sanibel is one of my favorite places.
One of my favorite books, Gift from the Sea, published in 1955 (my birth year), was written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh on Captiva Island. I discovered it around ten years ago and wish I had found it much sooner.
Gift can stand alone, but if you are interested in its background, I recommend Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Her Life by Susan Hertog, published in 1999. There may well be other books about her life out there, but I sense most of the material is focused on Charles Lindbergh. I loved reading about the way Anne was raised. Her mother was consistent at reading aloud to her and three siblings. (I have three siblings and my mother also read aloud to us regularly; I likewise have four children and reading aloud was extremely important in our home. Was I not meant to learn about Anne Lindbergh?) Once they outgrew being read to, the habit of reading to themselves and also writing on a regular basis came naturally. Anne's father was a lawyer (my husband is a lawyer). They obviously grew up in a household which placed value on education and held high standards of achievement. Anne's mother was active in promoting women's education. When I discovered Gift and also read her biography, I related so much to Anne, her life, and also her struggles. Any woman friend I know who has read the book relates to it, no matter what stage of life.
The flap of the biography states that Anne was "shy and sensitive, yet rebellious and ambitious." She had her own ambition, yet struggled with being caught up in her role as wife and mother, and what was expected of her. I didn't get the feeling she resented those responsibilities, but they are labor intensive, and we all know how easy it is to set ourselves aside. Of course Charles was in the limelight and I'm sure this made it even more difficult for her. It seems not many people know that she was a writer and also an aviator. Most only know of Charles' aviation record and of course the horrible events surrounding the kidnapping and murder of their infant son.
Gift from the Sea is poetic, simple yet deep, wise; it crosses time and space.
So I think I'll pull it out to take with me, knowing that when I search for shells on the beach, Anne Morrow Lindbergh might have walked the same path. I might even find time to reread her biography.
The area is governed well. It isn't Panama City. There are building restrictions on height, so you won't find high rises. There are restrictions on shelling. No live shells may be taken, yet there are piles of shells on the beach at low tide. Being a barrier island, the area is known for shells and you'll see people in a stance (bent over looking at the ground) called the Sanibel stoop. When in the water you can find many live starfish, sanddollars, and other shells to enjoy even if you can't (and shouldn't) take them. The area is also populated by sea turtles whose nests are marked and protected by law. The fauna and foliage are interesting and beautiful. The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Reserve is located there as well and is part of one of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems in the country.
There will be eight of us. Regretfully our oldest daughter, Caitlin, is out of the country and can't join us this year; but there will be other years. My parents, who can no longer travel easily on their own, will join us (a road trip with two vehicles). We plan on relaxing, enjoying the quiet and beauty, eating good seafood, reading, writing (I intend to) and playing some Skip Bo, Scrabble, and Phase Ten....and I mustn't forget the Bloody Mary's and Margaritas.