I think it was second grade. We went on a whale watching trip. It’s funny what stands out in my memory. A couple boys from another school were proudly singing Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit, “Born in the U.S.A.”
It was a rather amusing scene. They had bandannas tied on their heads and were rocking out with their air guitars. As they hopped around pushing each other they often bumped into passersby. I remember thinking they were kind of violent with how they purposely jumped towards girls standing in our orderly line of students. These kids were my age, but they were acting like punk rocker wannabes. It was kind of funny and kind of threatening at the same time, even though I was born in the U.S.A., too. Their teacher soon got them to stop after several attempts to make them behave and I’m sure including some threats.
Then we were out on the ocean, salty misty sea breeze through our hairs, skiffing across the waves. I didn’t think such a big boat would bounce on the waves as much. I didn’t feel the ocean sickness until about halfway to the deep blue. I sat down and breathed in deeply. I ate some of the goldfish crackers my mom had wisely packed for me. Then the dolphins came alongside the boat, racing us, falling behind and crossing each others dives in our wake. In truth, I was really skeptical that we would see any whales. The boat knew where to go if there were whales to be seen. It was colder in the deep water. The wind and our wet shirts stuck to our bodies. Sure enough, a whale surfaced and spouted water out of its blowhole. Our boat stopped. The sun split through the overcast sky. It was like straight out of the movies. I couldn’t believe the majestic sea animal we were witnessing. Another appeared. And another. It was a great day for whale watching. I wondered what else was in the great sea and went home thinking it was good to be born anywhere on this beautiful Earth.