By the Sea Shore

There are so many things to celebrate in the month of June, but I finally settled on June 21st. It is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and since 2017, it’s been given the title of National Seashell Day!

What a great way to kick off the summer and the longest day of the year by taking the family, or just yourself, and go shelling.

Shelling always brings back happy memories of me shelling with my parents, my grandparents, and my kids.

Shelling takes TLC if you really want to preserve your shells. My favorite shells are my angel wings that have been with me since I was a little girl.

Grandma and Grandpa would gather their shells, rinse with water, and then if there was a “critter” inside like a snail or mollusk, they would gently boil them in water until they came out. Then they laid them to dry on a table in the carport. We used toothpaste for cleaning and a toothbrush to gently remove barnacles or other attachments.

My mom did the same as Grandma, but she wanted hers to shine and bring out the vibrant colors in the shells. She used some sort of oil, after they were clean and completely dry. I looked up oils for shells and mineral oil or Howard Cutting Board Oil are popular. Don’t dunk them in oil. Coat one side – let it dry a day or so and then do the other side. My mom had a beautiful glass jar that she displayed them in throughout my childhood.

I remember my aunt and uncle were visiting and staying at a motel, they found lots of shells and they dumped them out by their front door for fear that they would stink. The next morning, they opened the door to find snakes eating the insides of the live shells. Gross!

My grandpa enjoyed shelling so much that he started using shells he found for crafts. He would even find his own driftwood for the base of his shell creations. He made so many that he started selling them at the flea market.

My grandparents had a positive reason for everything. I was sad one day because we had a bad storm. Grandpa said it was wonderful, because the storms churn up the sea and bring the shells up to the beach where they wait for us to find them.

In order to preserve and enhance our beaches for future enjoyment, it is now strongly recommended that we refrain from collecting live shells whenever possible. These shells play a vital role in our ecosystem, contributing to the long-term sustainability of our coastal areas. Let’s embrace a sustainable approach this summer and celebrate the beauty of our beaches while respecting the delicate balance of nature.

Happy summer!

Karin Jenkins is a Licensed Esthetician, Makeup Artist, and the author of the book, “Pageant Land and the Family Who Lived There.” She has been involved in all aspects of the beauty industry and in show business for over 30 years. Karin is the mother of two and the grandmother of four. She and her husband David co-own the local family business - Applause Salon in New Smyrna Beach. (386) 426-5454

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