The Sands of Time

August 23, 2006


A family trip to the beach has been a feature of Arlo & Janis almost every year since it began. Like much that happens in the comic strip, the beach visits reflect the interests and experiences of yours truly. When I was a boy, the textile mill where my father worked as a machinist closed for seven days every July, “Vacation Week.” In the happy years when Daddy’s vacation wasn’t consumed by a major chore, like painting the house or clearing brush, our family would journey to the northern Gulf of Mexico, to the beach. I loved it. I still loved it after I grew up and was on my own, and a trip to the shore still was one of my favorite things to do. It seemed something interesting always was happening on the coast, and that has held true for the fictitious family of Arlo and Janis and son Gene. Arlo and Janis still haven’t made it to the beach to live, not yet, but Gene has! If you’ve made it this far, dear reader, you probably already know the impact these yearly excursions have had on the course of the comic strip itself. To be continued…


28 thoughts on “The Sands of Time”

  1. It was a HUGE impact. My wife and I just spent 4 days at the lake her grandparents stayed at and will drive up to Mackinac Island where we honeymooned. There is a line form MASH where Margaret says to Klinger “your eyes always light up when you talk about Toledo” Klinger says “yeah what a wonderful place!” Margaret counters ” I’ve been to Toledo it’s a dump. But it’s home and I really envy you”

  2. Going to the beach in Biloxi and Gulfport was a HUGE thing for most Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama kids. Or the Redneck Riviera in Florida.

    Our senior trip was to Biloxi Mississippi beach in an old clunky yellow school bus, the first time most had seen a beach or salt water. A real life event they still remember.

    Biloxi was where I had my first life threatening Lupus attack due to bikini and intense sun. A life event I will never forget.

    Beaches bring changes Jimmy Buffett sings. So says Jimmy Johnson. I think both portray life equally with truth and laughter.

  3. I fell in love with the Redneck Riviera back in the early 90s. I was stationed at NAS P’Cola for a couple years, lived on Perdido Key, and would barhop by boat on the inter-coastal. The beaches were pristine (still are, albeit crowded with high rises), and the water was warm, as opposed to the SoCal beaches where I was later stationed. Nice beaches, but freezing cold water. Jimmy, ever visit the Flora-Bama? I lived stumbling distance from there.

      • As luck would have it, I have work in Panama City Beach periodically so I get my Gulf Coast fix in. I’m going to gush at little bit here, but I LOVE your strip. I see so much in my marriage that mirrors A&J’s. My daydreams of sailboats and gulf beach vacations are lived vicariously through Arlo’s dreams as well. I will miss them in a few years- A&J, as well as the dreaming.

    • I went thru A school in Pensacola in 1973-1974. Only time I’ve been to the beaches there. I was at Corry Field, which had been turned into training facility for all specialties in the CT field. That was the first time I ever swam in salt water, since my family didn’t vacation there.

      • Mark, a fellow CT here. A school in Fall 69-Feb 70. Then after Taiwan, back for C School in March 71 before a long year in Iceland. Pensacola Beach was very quiet back in those days and I often went out there at night by myself during C School when I had a car and sat on the beach for hours.

  4. Place I worked (not textile had vacation week) in North Jersey – been to “The Shore” 65- 60YA- not impressed.
    Worse now
    .
    Give me the woods.
    .
    “Vacation Week” in Germany is August.

  5. #2020strikesagain
    This year’s Flora-Bama “Mullet Toss” has been cancelled. So, no flinging fish from one state to another. Sad.
    When my godson had a condo just inside the AL state line, we used to watch the activity at Flora-Bama from the 11th floor. Which is probably a good place from which to watch it. 🙂

  6. @TruckerRon-

    Skepticism and caution should be the watch words. In an effort to one-up the United States in Sciencing (hence the vaccine name “Sputnik”) it appears the Russians have skipped, compressed and/or ignored standard testing and safety protocols. I mean, it’s great if they have a vaccine, but it will be months before its efficacy and safety is known- which will be right around with other drugs may start being available. Putin is obviously hoping to score major political points and groom client states with the vaccine. It will be interesting if there is an October Surprise in which DJT announces that Russia has generously agreed to sell some of the vaccine to the USA.

  7. The bread pudding dinner was good! I had second’s. Ghost declined any. He has lost a lot of weight that I haven’t

    Tommows menu is baked ham, lemon dill potato salad, corn on cob, yellow squash au gratin, cheese garlic biscuits, creamy grape salad (dessert) and Mexican cole slaw. Since this is going to http://www.huskyhalfwayhouse.org for catered dinner I offer Ghost opportunities for home cooking too.

  8. On GoComics, people are telling of persons they met a long time ago, but lost track of meanwhile. Here’s my tale: In summer ’57, parents vacationed with me at a smallish inn in New England for 2 wks. Waitress assigned to us was “J”. Nice, 17yo like me. Fed me well! She skied well enough to consider the US Olympic team in ’56, but crunched her knee before the tryouts. She still waterskied, and I took a few B&W pics on my dad’s (1920s vintage) Kodak. I asked J if she wanted copies when I had the film developed (remember those days?) and she liked the idea.
    Back In NYCity, I got the pics and sent her copies in care of the inn – fortunately, her family name was quite distinctive, so delivery was assumed easy and it was. We began to correspond and kept it up. Following June, when she graduated from HS, I (with a few $ from a parttime job) sent her roses to celebrate, and she sent a gorgeous color photo (not so common then) of herself holding them. Still have the photo.
    Kept on writing all through my college years and into grad school until 1963. We had both married by then and figured it would be better that way. OK.
    When we got a computer in 1998 or 1999, and I learned of Google, I looked up her distinctive maiden name (and I knew her married name, too). No contact for J was evident. I checked now and then – maybe annually. Around 2006, I saw a listing of the obit of a women with that surname in the town in which J had lived. The deceased had the name of J’s mom…was it she? The obit mentioned another daughter (as well as J with her married name) and that the other daughter ran an inn in a certain town. I googled the inn and found several photos, including one of the owners, and the woman owner looked just like J.
    Decided to try for contact via the church which held the funeral. Google again provided contact info and I wrote my story to the minister and gave him my contact data. I asked that he contact the inn-owner and provide her with my contact data and a request for her to send it to her sister, J. That way, neither daughter was at risk; I had given out my data, not asked for theirs. Apparently, all was OK, and worked: In a few weeks, I received a postcard from J with no fewer than 3 ways to reach her. I chose email and we’ve been in contact ever since. It took 43 years to reconnect and we don’t agree on some things, but we still email and send greeting cards.
    I think that is neat, even though we never saw each other again and don’t expect to. I have made some contacts after longer gaps of time – as grade school friends – but J was the most involved. Hope you weren’t bored too much.

  9. Pen pals were common in 1950s and 60s. Now they are literally in pens ie prisoners.

    They send Friend requests to old ladies who if wise delete them.

  10. Mary Lou was when Jimmy REALLY stepped outside the box of conventional comic arc plots. I always wondered why you did that?

    Mind you, it’s the main reason I admire your character and moral position. With one or two exceptions i never thought of comic strips reflecting much morality. Thank you for Mary Lou and Meg.

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