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    Beaches East and West

    Bette Midler had a wonderful film out awhile back called “Beaches.” It describes her love for East Coast beaches as well as a lifelong friendship with Barbara Hershey.

    When the New York child performer CC Bloom (Midler) and San Francisco rich kid Hillary (Hershey) meet in a holiday resort in Atlantic City, it marks the start of a lifetime friendship between them. The two keep in touch through letters for a number of years until Hillary, now a successful lawyer moves to New York to stay with struggling singer CC. The movie shows the various stages of their friendship and their romances including their love for the same man.

    The film came out in 1988, many years after my own love of beaches started. My first beach was Euclid Beach in Cleveland, Ohio. It was on Lake Erie and as I recall it had an amusement park there.

    My next beach was when I lived in Manhattan and I would take the Long Island Railroad to Jones Beach. This was out on the island, though not as far as some beaches in the Hamptons.

    From there I traveled further out in the Hamptons where my sister Linda lived. When I would go to see her, Westhampton Beach was generally my destination.

    I had a Volkswagen square back at the time, and often I would drive out to see her rather than take the train.

    One of my favorite places to go on the way to Westhampton was Dune Road. This is where all the mansions were and it was beach front. There were hotels there as well, but very few and far between, and generally on the other side of the road away from the water.

    I’m going back to the late 1980s now, and these house had net worths of millions of dollars even back then. Herman and I just did a quick Google search and we found a long listing of restaurants on Dune Road in the Hamptons. Never having much money back then, I only went into these places for a beer or cocktail, never full dinners.

    From there, I would generally visit Mom and Dad when they went to Florida in the winter. The first beach I got to know there was on Marco Island. My folks really loved the beach so I got to spend a lot of time there.

    My next move was to California which speaks for itself. I specifically remember sitting on Venice Beach out there in December and calling from a pay phone back east to gloat.

    Now I live across the road from my own private beach and I spend as much time there as I can. When everything else seems crazy, time on the beach is very soothing to my soul.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com