This post was inspired by Mama’s Losin’ It!’s Writer’s Workshop.
When I started to think about this topic, I thought of how my ideas of a perfect summer have changed throughout my life. How in my early to mid 20s the idea of hanging out on the beach, getting a fabulous tan and meeting a potential boyfriend was a pretty perfect image of a summer. And now that I am a mother, my thoughts of a perfect summer revolve around what makes summer fun for my son. With our desires of perfection in a season changing as we age, I decided to go back to my own childhood for my five images of a perfect summer.
1. Playing, Playing, Playing!
The house I grew up in had a big backyard and front yard with lots of trees. I was a fearless tree-climber and when I think back on it, wonder how I didn’t get myself killed, climbing as high as I could, on the thinnest branches I dared. I used to play a lot with my brother, a year-and-a-half younger than me. I remember playing a game called “Monkey”. I was the Mama monkey and he was my baby. We swung from trees and “ate” mud pies and weeds.
2. The Beach!
My mother grew up in Brooklyn and her parents were a member of Brighton Beach Baths beach and pool club. She shared her love of the beach with us. There were plenty to pick from along the Jersey Shore. I loved walking along the beach collecting sea shells, and as I became older and bolder, riding the waves, holding on to my childhood best friend’s hand, screaming and laughing. My parents took us to the beach on vacations and we also went to the beach during summer camp.
It wasn’t so much being able to stay up later to watch t.v., it was being able to watch the programs you missed when you were at school. I liked getting up and watching t.v. before we were going to start our day. Remember when we called old shows “reruns”? Some of my favorites were being able to catch up on Gilligan’s Island, the cartoon and live-action show The Banana Splits and discovering Gidget! How cute was Sally Field?
4. Fairs and Festivals!
Summer was a time of county fairs and local festivals and I have lots of happy memories from riding the merry-go-round and beeping a horn in a car that went round and round with other cars and trucks, to being older and going on the more daring rides that were fast moving and dizzying. I remember feeling deprived because my parents would only let us choose three rides, and yet now I do the same thing with my child! And all of the food! The sweets particularly stick in my mind (and to my teeth)…cotton candy and candy apples especially.
5. Me Time!
My favorite part of summer was having the freedom to just be me. No school pressures, no schedules, no homework! I was an avid reader and loved being able to read anything I liked! When I got into high school I really resented the “Summer Reading” requirements. I didn’t need anyone pushing me into reading!
Summer was my favorite season growing up and even though I am now an adult, despite the heat and humidity, extra laundry from towels and bathing suits, and now being in charge of my own child’s summer, the wonderful memories I have back then still make summer my favorite time of year. I still get sad when it’s “back to school” time, even though I am not the one going back any more!