I used to sneak out to the beach with boys

Asharoken beach in the 80’s

Did you do things as a kid that you wouldn’t want your own kids to do now?

I did.

Don’t get me wrong, I was a good kid all through my elementary, teen and college years. I didn’t grow into my rebellious streak until much later in life.

Throughout K-12 and even college, I almost always got good grades, listened to my parents and respected my elders. I didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs.

For all intents and purposes, I was a good girl – even a “goody two shoes” (one of my favorite Adam Ant songs from that time) – until my mid 20s.

But that doesn’t mean I was perfect. I definitely did a few things growing up that would have shocked my parents had they known it at the time – and things that might freak me out if Xage ever followed in my footsteps.

Bottom line though, I blame my parents and their ridonculous rules. You see, they rigidly insisted on a super early curfew and bedtime. I had to be in bed at 9 pm regardless of whether it was a school night, weekend – or even during summer break.

That bedtime/curfew was the same all through middle school, high school, during summers and even when I went home from college for holidays and breaks.

Can you imagine anything crazier than asking a college student to go to bed at 9 pm? When I balked and pushed back later in my college years, they extended it to 11 pm.

Even after college when I moved home for a year as a business professional working in Manhattan, they expected me to be home and in bed by 11 pm – but that’s a story for another blog post.

The 9 pm bedtime when I was still in middle and high school was strictly enforced, but my parents never checked on us in the evenings. My folks said goodnight to us at 9 pm, closed our doors, and expected not to hear another word until morning.

That may not sound early to you, but trust me – on a Long Island summer night when the sun doesn’t set until 9:30 pm, so it’s still bright outside and neighbors are splashing in their pools and on the beach outside my window – it felt like cruel and unusual punishment.

Fortunately, my parents didn’t give us kids a second thought once we were in bed at 9 pm – not even on the summer nights when teenage me would open my bedroom window, climb out and go chill on the beach in front of our house with my neighbor friends. Neighbor friends who also happened to be boys!

I never stayed out very late during those super fun summer nights. I just loved the beach and wasn’t ready to go to sleep just yet. Sometimes we went swimming, but we never went far from the shore and I never swam alone. Asharoken was a pretty safe place in those days – and likely still is today.

I never wore a watch so I don’t know the exact times, but I think it was around 9:45 or 10 pm when I would sneak out, and I was usually back within an hour or two. I never went anywhere – just hung out on the beach in front of our house until I felt tired.

And we never did anything bad. We were all just friends – no monkey business whatsoever beyond the sneaking out itself. The neighbor boys were fun to hang out with and they didn’t have curfews or bedtimes, so they were always available.

Sometimes the boys would come to knock on my bedroom window and get me. Other times I’d just sneak out and head for the beach and they would find me there. Swimming and even just hanging out on a beach at night is even more fun and exciting than by light of day!

If my parents had looked out their front window or gone for a moonlit beach stroll on any of those summer nights, they might have seen us out there on the sand or in the water. Fortunately, they never did. I never got caught – not even once.

And yes, I’ve since told my parents about my shenanigans so this blog post won’t come as a shock.

To facilitate my late-night returns to my room, I hung a short safety ladder from my window sill so I could easily climb back up. We had the ladder because it was recommended in the fire safety drills they used to do in school.

Curling back up in my bed all salty and sandy from the beach wasn’t unusual – in fact, living where we did, it was pretty much a daily occurrence in the summer anyway, so my mom wouldn’t think it odd to find sand in my bed.

For ease of use, I would leave the safety ladder leaned up against the side of the house by my window. One time, my mom saw the ladder and asked why it was there; I told her it was just in case I ever have to make a speedy exit, and that it made me feel more secure to have it there. She was fine with that and never questioned it again.

If I had to guess, I’d say these late-night summer escapes happened all through my middle and HS years, as well as during college years when I was home for the summer and then of course during the summer I was living at home after college. I have some very fun memories of nights spent on that beach in front of our house. It was an incredible place to grow up.

Do you have crazy stories from your childhood and growing-up years – and did you sneak out, too? Looking back, I truly don’t think I did anything wrong by sneaking out to swim and hang out on the beach. Rather, I think my parents had pretty unreasonable and unrealistic expectations and rules.

I’d love to hear your sneaking out stories in the comments below or over on Facebook!

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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