Growing up on Whidbey has shaped us “island kids” in inescapable ways.
As graduating seniors, we have come to realize how distinctive our island-upbringing truly was. We’ve asked our fellow seniors what they’ll miss about Whidbey next year, which special places and memories they won’t want to forget.
When we were younger, the wooden castle at the playground and the park was Heaven on Earth. The playground is the most elaborate jungle gym we’re ever likely to experience.
Some of us still wander back there every now and then, in awe. Hundreds of signatures around the covered tire-swing attest to the epic status the castle holds in the minds of island kids everywhere.
We’ve heard frightening rumors that the mighty wooden structure might be torn down for a shiny, new, plastic apparatus. We are unsure how any pile of plastic tubing could be an improvement to the tree-born majesty that is Castle Park.
Much of the summer of a typical islander takes place at the beach. Whether we’re scaling Double Bluff or leaping over gooey duck holes, we spend a lot of time in the sand and sunshine.
We trudge home exhausted and triumphant at the end of a summer day smelling of sea salt, sand between our toes, our ages forgotten. Not many American teenagers have that experience regularly. We know we’re lucky.
We would also like to personally thank Deception Pass for being the awe-inspiring natural beauty it is. The park at the pass is one of the most extraordinary sights viewable by man and it almost makes the drive through Oak Harbor worth it. Plus, you can stop at these writers’ favorite Mexican restaurant on the island, Mi Pueblo, while you’re up there.
And for those of us who like running around in the dark, Fort Casey is a gem.
The mysterious, abandoned fort is also an ideal setting for the kind of kite flying and picnics in sun-strewn grass that could knock off Robert Frost’s socks.
Many island teenagers will complain about having to take a ferry and drive for at least half an hour to reach downtown Seattle. But, we also know ferry rides are a unique, regularly gorgeous experience we islanders share.
The people who have had the misfortune of being landlocked all their life, having never taken a ferry ride, should cry for all the windy fun they’re missing. To quote The Little Mermaid, “Oh, the landlubbers lie down below.”
We also spend a lot of time in Langley, which is, as every islander between the ages of 13 and 18 knows, the place to be. There, we can catch movies at the ancient Clyde Theatre, endearingly long after they’re released, for next to nothing. Good Cheer, the Moonraker and Joe’s Music have always been there for us. We now also have two unique coffee houses and Living Green, where a good many of us spend much of our time these days.
And if all the gorgeous serenity surrounding us ever begins to bore, we have the Island County Fair and Choochokam to look forward to every summer. We’ll miss you Whidbey Island.
This is our last article for the Record, because school will be out next week. We want to thank anyone who reads this. We appreciate everyone who has taken the time to respond to our remarks. Have a great summer!