Friday, September 02, 2005

A personal note about Waveland, Mississippi

A personal note about Waveland

Reports indicate that the town of Waveland, a coastal city of about 7,000 in Hancock County west of Gulfportand Biloxi, is about 90% gone. In addition to the people I know who've lost so much, homes and all, and inaddition to the destruction of a city which is home to a million people, and of which I am quite fond, the destruction of Waveland is a notable loss for me. Not as notable and certainly not as catastrophic as those who live there or who have family who live there, but a personal loss nonetheless.

Our family had a second home there, a small three bedroom "shack" about a block and a half from the beach in Waveland and we spent significant chunks of summertime and other time there. We goofed on the beach (it was an easy walk through a neighbor's yard and down a small street), spent days at the Buccaneer Park Wave Pool (it had a ping pong table), traipsed through the nearby woods, played croquet on the (tiny) front lawn, played wiffle ball in the bigger yard of the neighbor, we walked or rode bikes to town, played monopoly, checkers, cards, or napped in the afternoon to the cool whurrr of the scattered a/c window units. We went out to the movie theatre trying to meet girls, we cruised the streets (after we were old enough to drive).

Sometime after my sister and I left home, we abandoned that house but it holds a special place for all of us. We hadfriends there, friends stayed there with us, and it was always a warm, welcoming, relaxing place. Dad liked to go to get away for a weekend and just read. I spent a few weekends there during college, crashing there after a Paul McArtney show in the Superdome, or after winning big at the Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis.

I smoked my first cigarette in Waveland. I saw my first and only sandstorm (if that's what it's called)in Waveland. I skinny-dipped in the Gulf in Waveland. I evacuated from my first hurricane in Waveland and returned,joyfully, to find that it was still intact.

It was always a common place for me and my family, a place of happiness and joy and peace. Now it's gone. I haven't been there in many years, but my soul is a little shaken by its absence nevertheless.

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