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Childhood Island Memories

2011-February-26
By Martie Hevia | Blue Beach Song™

Although I was born on the Eastern seaboard of the continental United States, in a place where the winters can be bitterly cold and buried in snow, my earliest memories are of the tropical island of Puerto Rico, where we moved when I was a little girl.

Sunset in Rincon, Puerto Rico print

This beautiful and warm island, with equally beautiful and warm people, held many colorful adventures and misadventures for ‘little me.’ But among the many random and colorful stories of my few years on the island, the most memorable are the simple and delicious memories of the senses.

beach, Puerto Rico print

Most of the many moments I remember from that time are amalgamated in my mind, but so vivid that I can nearly feel and hear and smell and taste and see them now as I experienced them then. And none of these moments are more embedded in my core than the days we spent by the sea.

Memories of the weekly weekend trips to breezy beaches, sticking my head partially out of the car window, closing my eyes, feeling the wind on my face and smelling the salty ocean air; the excitement and pure joy building inside as I heard the crashing waves and made visual contact with the swaying coconut trees against the deep blue sky, which met seamlessly with the foam streaked ocean; the warm sand, the warm sea, the warm breeze… the warm feelings of love I felt being there with my mother and father… all of these memories and feelings are palpable even now.

Pineapple Rainbow Print print
Mango print

In the same way and with the same intensity, the flavors of Puerto Rico are so present in my memory that I can almost taste now the fried alcapurrias and arroz-con-gandules, or the unusual and unforgettable tasting mamoncillo

…I remember chewing on a fibrous sugar cane, hacked seconds before from the plant I had selected myself, and the almost-too-sweet juice that filled my mouth…

…I remember feeling small in a vast pineapple field and the nearly nauseating sweet aroma that drenched the air…

…I remember getting lost in the challenge of eating a ripe mango too big for my hands, juices dripping down my chin, watching them plop between my skinny thighs on the patio floor where I sat…

…I remember the frothy, thick, tangy, yet sweet guanabana shakes my mother and I would make and share, wondering how something so good could come from such an ugly, prickly fruit…

…I cannot recall the first time I drank the mildly sweet, but oh-so-refreshing, coconut milk directly from the coconut and ate the white fleshy meat scraped with a spoon, but it must be then that my love affair with the coconut began.

Just Beachy - Print print

Deep in my soul, I treasure the island feast on my senses, the smells, the sights, the sounds, and the taste of Puerto Rico, all of which color my happy childhood memories.

Although I have not been there since, this beautiful and warm island is only a memory away.




Martie Hevia (c) 2011 – All Rights Reserved

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