Spring Break 1974: Confessions of a Beach Chaperone


You called your friend, Jane, this morning.

“How’s spring break going?”  She and her husband are chaperoning their Senior son and his buddies; they are staying in separate condos at a relaxing family beach near Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

“Fine–they seem kinda bored.  We’ve dropped by a couple of times and all they are doing is playing Xbox.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah, every night we drive over to take their carkeys, and they act like, what’s the point?  There’s nothing to do around here anyway.”

Whoa.  Flashback 1974:  we rented the “The Ship”–a ‘rustic’ house which had seen far better days, located in”O.D.”–Ocean Drive, South Carolina, which was Party Central back in the 1960’s and 70’s, and is still the perfect place to dance the shag and listen to beach music.  You and your ‘beach girl’ group had various and sundry sisters-in-law, brothers and one aunt; those poor folks fought hard to keep 10 high school girls safe.  You can still remember your chaperones trooping in and out to conduct head counts and tripping over old cans of Hop n’ gator.  Hop n’ Gator was a heinous mix of beer and something akin to Gatorade, sold in South Carolina.  Sort of like Coors, it had that mystique of being hard to find.  Now Hop n’ Gator is gone, (thank ye gods), and Coors is available everywhere.

Our teen-ager goal was, simply, to get ‘picked-up.’  Back then, this meant meeting a cute boy and getting a beachside kiss.  We were true innocents.  So we’d hitchhike down Main Street to get to where the action was–The Spanish Galleon.  There was no real galleon, nor anything remotely Spanish about it, and the Beach Club was next door.  Both sported a beachy vibe–open to the ocean and chocked full of foosball and air hockey tables and such.  You all would constantly plug in quarters to hear the James Gang.  Your friend, Heath, introduced you to the cinderblock Hop n’ Hutch, which featured a jukebox with the Dominoes song, “60 Minute Man.”  You both escaped here one evening after most of the alpha and omega males had been thrown in the local jail for public drunkenness.  We were all of legal age, however, occasionally the guys got carried away.

“Jane–you’re making your chaperoning job sound way too easy.  You need to tell the other parents how tough it is, driving back and forth, constantly collecting keys, staying up all night long worried sick…”

“I know!  Remember how we were?  This is a piece of cake!”

Here’s to our brave chaperones, for performing their jobs beautifully.

We ‘beach girls’ we still get together every May and celebrate our long friendships.  They are like family to me.  We no longer visit O.D., but rent a house near Charleston.  Bottled waters have replaced Hop n’ Gator cans, and we still laugh our heads off.  Here’s to the ‘beach girls.’

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About reelingintheyears.wordpress.com

A freelance writer who revels in the 1970's...and today. Thoughts on being a baby baby boomer and empty nester. Welcome to the Saturday evening porch.
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12 Responses to Spring Break 1974: Confessions of a Beach Chaperone

  1. ryoko861 says:

    Geez, everyday was spring break when I was in school it seems like. But it was nothing like it is now. We just sat around and drank. Hung out on the beach, and drank some more that night. Now it’s just a free for all of sex and drugs and alcohol. And MTV running around filming it.

  2. Tori Nelson says:

    A bunch of teenage boys not trying to get away with something? I am seriously impressed!

  3. Leah says:

    I don’t know, but to me, your spring break sounds 10x better than the XBox. Enjoyed your post.

  4. Beth says:

    Those were the days!! Can’t wait until May! You bring the tunes and the beer.

  5. Why go all the way to the beach, just for Xbox?

  6. I know! Perhaps they caught a glimpse of the rolling surf out the window. Or, maybe not. The guys I know close the blinds and turn the room into a man cave in order to play video games.

  7. Oh Reeling, you “beach girl” you! Your life seems so enchanted. I love reading about it.

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