When I was eight years old, my grand-mom purchased a park model at Shell Bay Campground. I remember running my hands over its freshly painted walls, thinking it was the coolest thing because it looked like a miniature house. It was just the right size for a kid like me. The small house stood sound among the many other park models in its row. However, at the same time, it seemed to float on a sea of gravel that flowed out onto the dirt road. Although the beach was twenty minutes away, I could instantly smell the salt in the air mixed with the smell of s’mores being cooked over a campfire. I could almost taste the gooey marshmallow blanketed by a thick chocolate and graham cracker comforter. Many times I heard the giddy laughter of children riding their bikes down the road, but I wasn’t that good at making friends so I stayed inside my miniature house. Instead my days were spent getting closer to my grand-mom. We would go to the pool every day, and we made sure we got a nice bag of chips to tide us over until dinner. We would plan to bake cookies but end up eating the dough instead.
Over the years, I grew up in that park model, coming down as soon as the summer started and clinging to the carpet when it was time to go. By the time I was fifteen, my grand-mom decided it was time to get rid of that old park model–to get rid of my second home. She could not take care of it anymore, and although the walls were caked with love, passion, and more memories than I could count, I knew she had to sell it. But I can still hear the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, crisp as the sound of freshly popped popcorn. I miss those days of sitting in that cozy old loft where no one could get me, where the line between fantasy and reality was blurred, and I was no longer Stephanie Fanelli but Princess Annabelle in her tower. The windows were always open so every once in a while on those hot summer days, an ocean breeze could sneak through the window to greet me. But I know now that some other curious little kid gets to spend his summer there. My only wish is that he or she gets to experience as much fun, joy, and laughter as I did in that miniature house.