I think of myself as a California kid, dodging chilly waves along foggy Pacific beaches. Even happier taking a dip in a snowmelt creek up in the Sierras, watching my feet turn pale and cold while sitting lizard-like on a rock in the warm sun.
But my first memories of swimming are of the bathtub warm Gulf of Mexico. Making drip castles on the white sugar sand beach, learning the dead man’s float from my mom, and watching the humidity coalesce into rain miles away.
For four generations, my family has been coming to the beaches in and around Seaside, Florida. My aunt, uncle, grown-up cousin and his lovely bride still live in the area. Not just live here, but have been directly involved in turning a scrubby bit of the Florida panhandle into a perfectly curated dream of a bygone era.
If any of the architecture is starting to look familiar, it could be because Seaside was the setting of Peter Weir's The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey and Laura Linney.