The handsome family pictured above are the Kirkpatricks of Hilton Head Island, S.C. There's Chelsea, 2½. She can swim and turn circles underwater (she calls it water ballet) and sings passable renditions of Ghostbusters and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Sage, 13, is an East Coast Valley Girl who's totally crazy over Prince and Michael Jackson. Maryanne, 39, is a musician who directed first-to sixth-graders in musicals at the local Sea Pines Academy until she ran out of PG shows—Barnum, Oliver!, Annie—for her young players to perform. Then there's Curry, 41, a senior writer for SI, whose profile of hurdler Edwin Moses starts on page 52.
The Kirkpatricks have lived on their island paradise for six years, sharing the Carolina sun with the likes of Frank Blair, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Garry (I've Got A Secret) Moore and a school of dolphins that regularly swim within 20 yards of the shore. Though Curry spends much of his time traveling on assignment, when he's home it's the beach, the whole beach and nothing but the beach—"all our waking hours," he says, "with occasional forays for food, clothing and the mail." The family activities include bodysurfing, shell collecting, and contemplating which number is greater—the grains in a handful of sand or the times Curry has changed planes in Atlanta on his way to cover a story.
Though he has done hundreds of articles over the nearly 19 years he has been with SI—about a liontamer, body-surfers, a softball pitcher and every aspect of college and pro basketball and tennis—Kirkpatrick has written on track and field only once before, when his subject was shotputter Brian Old-field (SI, Sept. 1, 1975). Moses, Kirkpatrick found, was quite a surprise—and a delightful one at that.
"He has this image of being closed off, surly, an individualist who didn't cooperate with the media," says Kirkpatrick. "But he was candid and quite affable. He's got a terrific sense of humor and at the same time a scientific mind. From afar you get the impression that he's very narrow in his interests, that all his concentration is on one thing, his event. But he isn't like that."
Next week the Kirkpatricks will be concentrating on a new stretch of sand—Manhattan Beach, near Los Angeles—while Curry contributes to our Olympic coverage. Curry hopes for some spare time to compare Pacific and Atlantic wave patterns. Maryanne is looking forward to the Olympic spectacle and pageantry. Sage plans to compare dialects with the Vals at the Sherman Oaks Galleria (to the max, fer sure), while Chelsea wants to visit her TV idol, Mr. Rogers—she calls him "Rodge"—in his own neighborhood. (She's sure he lives in Burbank. Curry hasn't told her the shocking news that Rodge actually resides in Pennsylvania.) A final note: When the Kirkpatricks return from L.A., they'll be moving from their present house, a block from the beach, to one a few yards from the sea. It'll make those occasional forays from the beach a lot shorter.
THE KIRKPATRICKS OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND