Friday, July 12, 2019
I drove up to Jacksonville yesterday, where I'm now visiting my brother and mom. Today is Mom's birthday, in fact -- she's 82 years young. Someone asked in the comments why on Earth I came to Florida in July. Well, that's why -- that and the fact that I'm off work now.
I took a little detour through Daytona Beach. I hadn't visited Daytona for more than 30 years. I came several times in the mid-'80s, when I was 18 or 19, with some friends from high school -- two of them moved to Daytona after graduation, drawn by an engineering school there. Yesterday I stopped by the apartment complex where they used to live, and where six of us memorably spent the weekend of Hurricane Elena holed up watching MTV. It now has the ridiculously ostentatious name "The Park at Via Corso Premier Apartment Homes." That isn't what it was called when my friends lived there. I think back then it was "Craptastic Court."
Anyway, while in Daytona, I decided to buzz past the one landmark I remember in the whole city -- the Sea Dip Beach Resort. It's on the ocean just over the bridge from my friends' former apartment complex.
As you can see, it's now pretty bland-looking. Not even very noticeable. But check out how awesome it was about 60 years ago, according to these old postcard images I found online:
I never saw it with that groovy paint job. When I encountered it in the mid-'80s, it was beige or light brown, as I recall. But it still had that fantastic sign, which stands out vividly in my memory.
(Who are all those people, do you think? I love old postcards where people are so busily and photogenically lounging around a swimming pool. They always look so poised, and never sweaty or dehydrated or overly sunburned -- thus departing wildly from reality.)
The only reason the Sea Dip made an impression (aside from the sign) is that my friend Kevin and I used to make fun of the name. We'd do a sort of Beavis-and-Butthead laugh every time we passed by -- even before Beavis and Butthead came along -- because of course "dip" (or more colorfully, "dipshit") was an insulting term for a sort of juvenile or clueless person.
What can I say. I was a teenager. A "dip," in fact.
Anyway, it was a fun little detour. Daytona is actually much nicer than I remember -- lots of little pastel motels decorated with plaster seahorses and starfish, as well as more modern and stylish accommodations. I stopped downtown and had an excellent turkey reuben sandwich at the waterfront Chef Papa's Cafe, where I accidentally overtipped my waitress -- but that's fine. She deserved it.