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.