Everyone has childhood memories. Mine seem to be stored under various categories in my brain. Maybe yours are the same way. Some memories are like still-shot photographs, some are longer scenes or conversations, some are feelings or emotions I had at the time, some are even familiar smells connected to belongings or homes. All of these ways of remembering have one thing in common: a story that is attached to them. What’s odd is that some stories are spurred on by memories and some memories are spurred on by stories told to you. This is one of the latter.
A story I have heard many times, mostly from my Mema, but from other family members as well, is the story of the addition of the pool at the Atlantis Lodge near Atlantic Beach. The story goes like this:
Mema asked Pops if he would consider building a pool. Her main reason being that her only two grandchildren at the time (myself and my sister) would really enjoy playing in a pool. Mema herself loved to swim as well. It was one of her childhood hobbies. She wanted us to benefit from a quieter place to enjoy the water when the ocean of the Crystal Coast seemed too big. So, Pops objected at first saying there was not enough room in the brush between the two parking lots. Until one day he came into the kitchen and quietly proclaimed, “Ya know, I think there is just enough room in there for a nice sized pool.” He had gone out into the brush and measured it himself. It wasn’t too long after that we were able to swim in the pool that is there today, complete with all of surrounding trees that Pops was smart enough to keep and its self-circulating waterfall to keep the baby pool refreshing. I was in the pool for the very first time and, as I have heard the story told to me, I asked, “Why are all these people in my pool!?”.
As a two and a half-year-old, I couldn’t understand the concept of the hotel and all of its surroundings not being at my personal disposal. It’s what makes the story funny.
I have many other memories in that pool, years and years of them. (As I am now 32 and have girls of my own who swim in it.) The ironic thing is that, beyond that story, all of my memories of being at the hotel involve me feeling the presence of a very grown-up concept: hospitality. I learned at a very early age that “what is mine is yours.” I learned this because it was modeled before me. Generations of hospitality-minded people who constantly gained joy from sharing what they had were now able to share that same heart with me, my parents, aunts, uncles, sister and cousins. At every age I have known that everyone staying at the hotel is a friend. Everyone is invited to come around for a snack or for dinner. Come, sit in the shade with us. Come, laugh with us. The more the merrier. I hope I can make your Atlantis memories as special as you have made mine.
Atlantis Lodge is a premier oceanfront hotel on the Crystal Coast that is pet friendly. A boutique hotel located in Pine Knoll Shores near Atlantic Beach on the Southern Outer Banks, it has been called a “true treasure”.