When my sister, Cheryl Masterson got married, and shortly after her then husband’s basic training, moved to Plattsburgh, New York, it marked a huge change in our family’s life. In fact, our family’s home life would never be the same again. Of course, we knew that having our sister get married and move out of the house was perfectly normal, but we were a close family, and somehow, we just weren’t prepared for that day. Of course, it was especially hard on my parents, and I can certainly understand that, since I have a daughter who lives far away now too, but in many ways, I think Cheryl’s move was harder on me than on my little sisters. Cheryl was the oldest, but she had always been a role model for me too. She had style and class, and I was at the very awkward age of fifteen. It seemed to me that she would be gone forever, and in the end, I was married before she came home, and I had my first daughter too. In many ways, we were both very different people by the time she returned. She was the mother of three children, and I had a daughter and one on the way. We were no longer the children we had been just a few short years before.
Of course, we saw Cheryl and her family during the time they lived in New York, in fact the family made two trips and I went up and spent Christmas and New Years the year after I graduated from high school. And the trips were wonderful…a great blessing to be sure. I suppose Mom and Dad might have taken us to the East Coast for a vacation sooner or later, because they did love to travel, but I might not have been still living at home when they did it, so I guess, for me, that this situation opened up doors that might not have been opened otherwise. Nevertheless, I think if we had been given the choice to have the trips to New York or Cheryl and her family living here, we would have taken the latter for sure. Be that as it may, our trips to New York allowed us to see the ocean, eat Maine Lobster, and see Niagara Falls. We saw Washington DC, Gettysburg, the bridges in Vermont, and many other sites up and down the East Coast. I suppose that looking back, we would have to admit that having Cheryl living in upstate New York, was in all reality, the opportunity of a lifetime…were it not for upstate New York being so very far away…that is.
Those trips were a lot of fun, but they did not come even remotely close to having our family all together. And with each trip came the inevitable goodbyes and the parting tears. It felt like our hearts would just break…especially Mom and Dad, and poor Dad had to be the strong one all the way home with five weepy women in the car with him. He had to be the one to finally say, “We have to go. This is just too hard on everyone.” He had to do it because our sadness would have kept us there in tears for hours, if someone didn’t break us away. He had to be the strong one…because we sure couldn’t. Once Cheryl’s husband’s time in the service was over, they moved back to Casper, where she and her kids have lived ever since. Once the time was suddenly over, we could look back on it and it seemed to go by quite fast, but in the midst of it, that time felt like our world was falling apart. In reality, it was simply that we were no longer children, and life had taken the next logical step for us. I’m just glad that we are mostly closer to home now, with just a few exceptions.
I will never forget the first time I saw the ocean. I can’t tell you the exact spot, unfortunately, but it was along the coast of Maine. Our family had taken a trip to visit my sister, Cheryl Masterson whose husband was stationed in Plattsburgh, New York at the time. While we were there, the whole family took a trip down the east coast. It was amazing. That first ocean view was one of the most awe inspiring views I have ever seen, as I’m sure anyone who has seen the ocean would agree. It is difficult to comprehend such a vast expanse of water, with no visible land on the other side. There are the great lakes too, of course, and they do give a feel of an ocean, but you know they are just lakes, and as quickly as it appeared, that feeling of unbelievable vastness passes. But, the ocean…that view is one that will always have a place in my memory files.
I remember too, that it was in Maine that I hade my first taste of lobster. Oh my gosh…it was heavenly. Many people say that the experience of eating lobster on the coast probably ruined lobster for me, because it just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else. That may be true, but lobster is still heavenly, and all I can say if that I wish the price for it wasn’t so far out of this world. There are so many experiences that are only enhanced by their natural habitat, and while lobster eating is one of them, I’ll do my best to struggle through it, anytime I get the chance.
While my husband, Bob and I have seen the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and now, the Gulf of Alaska, and each of those experiences have been awesome, they couldn’t compare to the way I felt at my first ocean view. Obviously I was a younger girl then, and while I was pretty well traveled as a child, there are simply some sights that tower over others in your mind. I wasn’t so young at that first ocean view, exactly, at 15 years of age, but somehow the view of the ocean made me feel like I was younger and smaller. Its vastness was so much to take in. I wondered what things were on the other side, and how many desert islands were in between this side and that side. I wondered about the shipwrecks there might be from days of pirates and hurricanes, and about the fish that lived in the ocean. All were things I would probably never know about…or would I? Perhaps with a little research, the events of the ocean’s past could open up and I could be privy to the secrets that lie beneath those vast expanses of beautiful blue water too.