Unretiring Lifeguards Don’t Miss Much on Beach
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. ?It is a hot day at the height of summer, and the bronzed lifeguard in chair 4 is talking Shakespeare. Women in bikinis saunter down the shoreline. The wind is blowing; the waves are frothy. Pete Hartsock is caught up in it all, unstoppable as the tide.
"It’s a Shakespearean job: comedy, tragedy." He pauses. "You jump in the rip currents!" Another pause. "You find you do make a difference. And in modern life, how often do you get that chance?"
This is the lowdown from the oldest lifeguard on Rehoboth Beach, a guy who, at 53, has been posted shore side for 30 years ?broad shoulders, red trunks, Ray Bans, serious whistle around his neck. Not a fleck of gray in his anchorman hair.
Beside him in his white painted chair ?a double wide ?is Woody Marderwald, 45, a fellow six footer with longish sun bleached hair and a mere 27 years on the job. Together, they are Woody and Pete, keepers of the mystique, perpetual boys of summer.
"Legendary," says Randy Stone, another guard. Teaming up with other guards along the Delaware shore, they raced mightily and swam well ?and placed third in the nation.
Woody and Pete stayed behind on a swath of sand in north Rehoboth.
"I could have gone," says Pete, "but someone has to be here."
Woody shrugged. "I’d rather sit here and watch the waves roll in."
They are working five feet above the sunbaked crowd in Washington’s favorite beach town, scrutinizing the
cheap ray bans sea for panicked swimmers and noting every well placed bikini along the way. Brawny and fit themselves, they are clearly thicker than when they started, their faces more lined.
But this is not a case of onetime studs with nothing to say.
"We’re the intellectuals," says Pete. "I mean it. We do not talk about dumb things. I mean, we talk about dumb things, but we talk about many things."
For the record, most of their fellow guards are college students: fresh faced kids with buzz cuts and lean, ripped bodies. There are a number of schoolteachers in the patrol
replica ray bans and a few other hangers on over 30.
But Woody and Pete have been sitting in the sand the longest. Pete started in 1969, three years earlier than Woody, but he’s mostly a weekend guard. Woody is harder core: a seven day a week lieutenant
cheap ray bans and a guru of sorts to newcomers.
"It’s magical ?the sand, the sea, the surf," says Pete, trying for poetry.
"The sun, the surf and the sex," Woody demurs.
This leads to one difference between Woody and Pete.
Woody is a muscleman with a mustache who decided a long time ago that work might be important, but he was happiest at the beach. He was pre med in college, did postgraduate research, then quit every job he ever took to head for the ocean when Memorial Day rolled around.
"It’s the greatest job in the world," Woody says of lifeguarding. "Not only do you meet women, you meet them in a half
cheap ray ban outlet naked state."
He remembers the first boss who gave him an ultimatum: "Make up your mind between bucks and bikinis."
"See you later," Woody replied.
In spite of his choice, Woody gets on well, thanks partly to lessons learned in a brief career in real estate. Now he owns rental houses, drives a Jaguar and works as a crane operator in the winter. He cashes his paycheck in $2 bills and was for many years a one man guide to free happy hour buffets around town.
Pete, on the other hand, is an AIDS researcher, with a wife of 10 years ?whom he calls "sweet pea" and who has always understood that "I’m there to save lives" ?and a career at the National Institutes of Health. His hero is C. Everett Koop, the former surgeon general, and his enthusiasms are innumerable ?iced tea with fresh mint, the latest in seaplanes, a public relations crew visiting from television’s Baywatch.
Pete is a big talker with a haw haw laugh who can tell raunchy jokes in one breath and quote Mark Twain, Samuel Johnson and Oscar Wilde in the next. He runs on the beach thinking of words from "Youth, A Narrative" by Joseph Conrad: ". . They are similarly tuned to the rhythms of beach life, easy with each other’s quirks.
One afternoon, Woody is peering through binoculars.
"What ya’ got?" Pete asks intently.
Pete loves a good rescue. An hour before, he rushed through the waves to retrieve a gasping young woman. He’s been dwelling on her panicked expression ever since.Articles Connexes：