Summer…It seems since I have been an adult summer hasn’t existed or I should say what my mind envisioned summer to me doesn’t exist anymore. The summer would come to an end and I would say, “where did it go?, I haven’t experienced it yet.”
As a child I looked forward to summer. It was a VACATION! The whole summer! A vacation from school which meant all responsibilities were now on the back burner till Fall. It meant long days of playing. I had the privilege of growing up on the shore in Connecticut where my playground encompassed the beach, marsh lands, woods and fields. My playmates were my three brothers and a neighborhood full of kids. What more could a kid ask for? We explored watery paths to duck blinds in the marshes. We went clamming at low tide in the mud flats and walked to a nearby island on a sand bar. One day we played so long on the island that the tide came in and we had to swim back to shore. We found underwater caves among the rocks on the shore that were accessible at low tide. They became our secret forts.
Then there was the woods where we pretended we were explorers looking for treasure. There was a large rock there where I would go when I was sad or mad at my parents and just sit on it and dream of escape. I was an avid reader and so many times I was trying to live out what I was reading. My imagination had no limits back then.
We played baseball in our yard or the field across the street in the evenings. I would always dictate how I wanted the pitcher to throw the ball to me so I could hit it. We had our own rules and had fun with it. And yes…we also had our disagreements. Usually boys against girls so we would all separate for the remainder of the day. By the next day we were all pals again and the fun would resume.
When nothing was going on I would set up a chaise lounge in the yard and bury myself in a book for the afternoon. I loved mysteries and adventure stories. We also set up Kool-Aid stands and sold toys we didn’t want anymore and donated the money to a local charity to help city kids go to camp in the country.
After supper the Good Humor truck would come through ringing its bells. We would beg our parents for money and race to the truck to get our favorite ice cream or popsicle. My favorite was a pink lemonade popsicle and it was only five cents.
And then there was the vacation within the vacation. My family would pile into our old station wagon with Brownie our dog and head to Rhode Island for a week at Grandma’s house and the ocean. This meant time with cousins and we would spend the day at the beach getting sunburnt and body surfing. At the end of the day we would head off the beach and across the sandy parking lot to a salt water pond where we would feed swans our bread crusts saved from our sandwiches. Grandma had a field behind her house that was filled with blueberry bushes. She would give us a coffee can with string threaded through holes in the sides so we could put it around our necks to leave our hands free to pick blueberries. We would eat as many as we put in the can and then bring the rest back for Grandma to make blueberry pancakes and muffins. Yummy! Grandma had woods too that we could explore and a mulberry tree next to her driveway where the purple mulberries would get squished when they fell off the tree and cars ran over them. That really intrigued us. Before returning home we always had a big cookout with all the cousins and would pose for crazy pictures.
Now I know why summer doesn’t seem like “summer”. I am grown up and working full time. I have year round responsibilities. Summer is just a season with long days of working and very short evenings. Weekends are for catch up on what couldn’t get done during the week. Now vacation means a short time away to the beach or other fun spot which I enjoy but always come away feeling that it was incomplete. That’s because I wanted it to be like my childhood summer and that is not going to happen. So this summer I resolve to accept as summer as “summer”.