At the beach, the world feels wild and young again. This photo of an anonymous 3 year-old boy in the early 1940s is an iconic portrayal of Seaside’s treasured experience. Thinking back on childhood memories, there is always a magical quality surrounding those days spent at the ocean. It’s almost as if beach memories are highlighted by a soft halo of youthful perfection that was endowed with a special sort of freedom: freedom to kick off your shoes, run, splash, and generally run feral. For many of us, a trip to the shore meant traveling a fair distance from the close-quarters of a large city or suburb. The sudden glorious expanse of the beach demanded that we sprint directly over the sands to the water.
Being a kid at the beach is a holiday from the trappings of enclosed spaces. Most of the significant places that defined our everyday adolescence had definite boundaries: the classroom, the yard, the playground. However, at the beach on Oregon’s North Coast, there are no fences, ceilings, or walls. There are no artificial boundaries, and every now and then, that’s exactly what a kid needs.