Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shark Week

When I look back in time and reflect on my fondest childhood memories, with my adult perspective, I sometimes wonder just what the adults in my life were thinking. 

The kids in my family spent most of the summer at my grandparents’ house in a beach resort town. In 1975, on the way to the shore, my parents and an uncle decided to stop and see a movie. The movie they chose to let six young children (ages 4-12) watch? Jaws.

We stopped at a downtown movie theater. It was the largest screen I had ever seen.  In 1975 movie theaters were big.  A theater that could seat 1000 people or more wasn’t unusual.

It must have been close to opening night, because the theater was packed.  We had a large family and were unable to all sit together.  We kids were spread all over the theater.  Letting young children watch a scary movie with no support is perhaps not the wisest of choices.

There are many memorable scenes in this movie.  The one that stands out for me (scarred me for life) is the famous scene where the head pops out of the boat. 

I screamed! Another memorable (scarring) scene was when the kid was on the raft and got eaten.  

And who can forget the intense drama at the end of the movie?

These scenes were all enhanced by the fantastic music of John Williams.  How many of us since that time have used the famous theme music to indicate danger?  Ba-bum………
Ba-bum, ba-bum. Ba-bum, ba-bum

After we had been thoroughly entertained (scared s#!^less),  we all piled into the car and continued on our way to the shore.  Our beach town looked and felt an awful lot like the one in the movie.  When we got there it was late.  The moon was full.  It was warm outside.  It was hot inside the house. The twisted adults suggested we go to the beach and go swimming.  Mommy?  Don’t you love me, anymore?  I don’t remember misbehaving. 

The four and five year old were put to bed.  The rest of us were taken to the beach for our midnight, moonlight swim. Some of us refused to go into the water.  Others of us were brave (foolish?) and trusted the adults.  

The rest of that summer was filled with various ways to tease and torture each other about sharks.  We hummed the theme music.  We pretended to be sharks by using a hand as a fin and swimming under water. We hollered, “SHARK”! It was one of the best summers ever.