Now a mom herself, a Seasider reflects on growing up as a Seaside Kid By Makenzie Meyers Carter
Children have always been a big part of the vision of Seaside. In the early years, many of the people who worked in Seaside or lived nearby had small children who formed a playgroup. I was lucky enough to be a part of that group. You could find us daily around town playing in the amphitheater, parading to the beach, buying treats at Modica Market, or gathering to hear the storyteller.
Each afternoon during the summer, the storyteller would walk around Seaside ringing a bell to signal it was time for a great tale in the amphitheater. Children would come running from all directions to parade behind him. He always seemed magical dressed in a long robe and head wrap, and he told the most fascinating stories. Seaside’s town dog, Bud the dachshund, was never far behind.
Other than his owners, Robert and Daryl Davis, Bud was probably the most common site around town. The sound of the tags on his collar clinking together as he ran beside our bicycles will always be a favorite childhood memory of mine. On a diet of homemade chicken soup, Bud lived to the ripe old age of 21.
Our original group made friends with the kids visiting each summer, and eventually Camp Seaside was formed to give us organized activities during the summer. As more and more families started visiting Seaside the idea of creating a store just for kids seemed like the perfect addition to the budding retail shops opening at the time. So in the spring of 1992, 4Kids was born.
4Kids was the original name of the store we now call Seaside Kids. 4Kids was named after our original playgroup that included Micah Davis, son of town founders Robert and Daryl Davis, Taylor Boswell, son of James and Linda Boswell (who owned the original Patchouli’s), Nole King, daughter of Tom King (co-owner of Central Records), and myself, Makenzie Meyers Carter, daughter of Erica Pierce (director of The Seaside Style).
4Kids had a whimsical type atmosphere that featured everything from cotton children’s clothing to large inflatable alligator floats. I can remember the excitement I felt as I entered the store and saw my name painted on the graffiti ceiling along with all of my playgroup buddies. Surrounded by a white picket fence, the play-yard that sat adjacent to the store quickly became one of the most popular places for children to hang out and play.
Through all of the changes the store has experienced in the past 20 years, Seaside Kids has remained the headquarters for the young and young-at-heart in Seaside. Today the store is quite different than the original funky version that sat on the south side of Highway 30A, but I like to think that as we grew up, the store followed suit.
Seaside Kids now offers the Seaside logo T-shirt for infants and children in the same wonderful shades of its coastal surroundings. The Kids collection of fun beach fashion features original graphic tees designed exclusively for Seaside, swim trunks for boys, bold graphic dresses, and adorable bikinis for girls. I am sure that the original Bud, who is a huge part of Seaside history, would be thrilled to know that Seaside Kids is also the home for a wide assortment of Bud logo items.
Twenty years have gone by in what seems like an instant, and now I am the mom to my very own Seaside Kid. Campbell was born in 2011 and has filled my life with joy and laughter. Seaside has, and always will be, a huge part of my family and I cannot wait for Campbell to create memories of her own in our special town.