My Side of the Story

6:55 PM Elizabeth Seckman 3 Comments

My son wrote a school essay about him and his dad and their frightful near death experience at the beach. In said story, I ‘chickened out’ and waved like a goof from the beach as they nearly drowned.
Here’s my side of the story.
Caleb wrote… “It was the final day of our annual week long family trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We planned on spending the day … on the beach.  Unfortunately, there was a tropical storm coming up from Bermuda, so the beach was red flagged. The red flag warns people of rough water. Only surfers and the Seckmans from West Virginia were undaunted.”
This is partially true. The male Seckmans were undaunted. The lone female in this brood of males said straight up…when the surfers arrive, I stay on shore.
This, according to Caleb, is chickening out. I call it sanity. Conner (the youngest) and I built sand castles. Carter and Cole quickly abandoned the ocean and joined us on shore because the water was getting deeper, the waves higher. I knew I had to force some sense into Caleb and Chad.
For them, I braved the water yelling “Get out!” as I walked. Chad kept pretending he couldn’t hear, drawing me in deeper and deeper till I was almost in over my head in the turbulent surf that tossed me back and forth. I told them they were insane and left.  I made it to shore fast…rolling on a wicked wave that ground me against the ocean floor. I emerged on my hands and knees with enough sand in my body to plant flowers and enough salt water in my sinuses to nourish them for a month.
Did they rush to my side? Did they offer a hand, a beach towel? No. They laughed. And Chad laughed the loudest. I yelled out to them AGAIN to get out of the water. It was getting rougher by the second. Caleb and Chad scoffed. I was a worry wart.
Caleb recalls what happened next… “Dad and I toughed it out till a high wave bent on destruction crashed down upon us. The wave broke over our heads and sucked us under the water. When I emerged, I realized I was also caught in a rip tide and being pulled out to sea. I searched frantically for my father. Luckily, he had a boogie board with him so he could easily stay afloat. He swam over to me and we shared the board.  We tried to get my mom’s attention by yelling and waving. She just smiled and waved back.
Now as I recall, after I picked the gallon of sand out of my ear, I heard Chad yell, “Bring us a boogie board.”  
HAH! Like I’d fall for that! Get me back in the water? Watch me roll back to shore like a beached baby whale? I THINK NOT.
I don’t recall smiling and waving…well I might have…but only with a finger.  
Caleb and Chad tell and retell this story of their bravery and how I stood on shore and failed to help. To them it’s a story of survival. For me it’s the story of insane men doing insane things and the wise woman who tried to steer them straight, but got herself buns over tin cup for the effort.
It’s a classic tale. And if you’re a woman, one you probably know well. 


  1. Hahaha! "Only with a finger." Yes, I can totally relate to this story.

  2. Ah. On soooooo many levels, I heart this story.
    1. took my son into deep water, no floatation device, almost drowned- all to prove a redneck on shore wrong about sharks
    2.husband continued to sleep under canopy as we attempted to wave for help
    3. had panic attacks for a year after this
    4. wrote a novel called Not Waving, Drowning
    5. you are too cute

  3. Thanks Linda. I am awed to have you heart it much~ your writing is awesome!
    (I also have a degree in counseling...should panic attacks return, have a professional advice...just joking....sort of)


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