Summer Days

I remember cool summer mornings, waking up to hear my mom watering the garden or cutting cantaloupe in the kitchen, getting us girls ready for the day. We might be heading to the beach that day, which meant we were responsible for finding the pails & shovels, beach blankets, chairs and any other toys we wanted for the day. We’d spend all day at the beach, moving the blanket if the tide came too close, digging holes in the sand, getting covered with sand and salt water. On the way home, near the day’s end, we’d pass around what was left in the jug of lemonade and the bag of pretzels, enjoying our saltiness while Mom drove with the windows open and the radio playing. Or the day might call for staying home and playing the backyard, climbing trees and eating ice pops. Sometimes we’d head to the public library to return our books for new choices, adding to our summer reading program list. Summer evenings were filled with barbecues, gymnastics routines on the front lawn and often ice cream cones while we sat on the front stoop. You could say that we were living the ideal suburban childhood summer, no responsibilities but being a kid in the summertime.

Recently, I’m struck by how far away those childhood summers seem, and wondering what it could possibly feel like to have that again: the imagination of a child and the freedom of days without a to-do list. What wonderful memories; these are the kind that I would like to store in a box and revisit now and then, and maybe someday relive some of those stories.

How do you feel? You have all probably been working for years or decades, beginning as teenagers and continuing through college and now as adults. Summer is different now; generally calmer than other seasons, easier, adventurous. As adults we get to choose where we’ll spend the days and what we’ll do, perhaps visiting places we never did as a child, and trying new things. It’s a different kind of fun, but perhaps one that is easier to recall and store in our memories, since adulthood is longer than childhood.

So I ask, how do you keep your childhood memories dear? Have you written them or keep them only in your memory? Do you return to your childhood home? Perhaps you relive your childhood through your children. Or maybe every so often something triggers a memory that you didn’t remember. Maybe it’s a certain way the breeze feels, or the smell of low tide or seeing kids racing around the block on bicycles. Regardless of how often you think of your childhood summers, or how you choose to remember them, I hope they are thought of fondly.

For my sisters: the side beach in Point Lookout.

13 thoughts on “Summer Days

  1. ascousins says:

    We spent summers playing in the neighborhood, waterskiing, watching the Cubs, and tending a very large vegetable garden. Fresh, off-the-vine tomatoes bring back childhood memories of planting, weeding (yuk!), bountiful harvests, and canning. A couple months ago, I heard an NPR story about a London garden association that is advocating for planting vegetable gardens in front yards. The NPR story explained that vegetable gardens require daily care. By locating vegetable gardens in the front, the street would be alive with activity and neighbors would interact with neighbors.
    I like that idea a lot!

  2. Linda O'Shea says:

    I like the idea of front yard gardens very much. This year I decided to plant my cucumbers in front of the front porch. The vines are growing up the wrought Iron railing. Every morning when I check on them I wrap their tentacles to help them grab on to the railing instead of the vines or my purple coneflowers. It’s kind of fun to sit on the porch and see all the little cucs growing. Also, I read that sunflowers and cucumbers get along very well, but only one of the many seeds I planted actually grew. There is a vine growing up the three foot tall sunflower now. That sunflower needs to hurry up and get taller. It should be interesting to see how that works out!

    • annieoshea says:

      I miss the beach, and am dying to find time to come home. Stupid work gets in the way. I need some BBQ hotdogs and hamburgers, some marshmallows over the fire, and a good fire night (lets add Steely Dan in the background or something) and then probably an Italian Ice and I will be good to go!

  3. Paula Sagerman says:

    I’m glad you have such nice summer memories, Kaitlin. I live in the area where I spent all of my childhood summers as well as most of my life, so I can’t help but relive old memories on a regular basis. I also have a million photographs dating back to when I was 8 years old.

    From the ages of 7 to 14, I was fortunate to go to a wonderful Vermont day camp on a 200 acre former farm, with swimming, horseback riding, tennis, and archery, as well as daily games of kick the can and capture the flag. Sadly, the property has been abandoned, including its Federal period house, and some of the land has been subdivided with new homes. It’s near Mt. Snow so the fate of the property is even more uncertain.

    • Kaitlin says:

      Paula, sounds like great summer days. How sad to hear about the Federal house – is it completely abandoned or neglected or disrepair? Wishing it well.

      • Paula Sagerman says:

        It’s been vacant and neglected since about 2005, and is on a subdivided lot that is owned by someone who built a new home on an adjacent lot, so things aren’t looking too good…

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