I remember as a kid, playing kickball with the neighbors until it got too dark to see, then catching fireflies, then running home to see if it was OK to spend the night at Linda’s (always better there, her mom would make pancakes and they had store bought syrup- real thick! My mom would make whole wheat sugarless pancakes and make this stuff to pour on them from water and imitation maple flavoring and a little bit of sugar, never enough) where was I…Oh and Linda always had Froot Loops or Super Sugar Crisp or some such. All we ever had was homemade sugarless granola. I thought of them as horseoats, but never out loud because that would make me ungrateful. Where was I? oh yeah…
Summer in the south smells like hot pine straw. The pine needles get so dry they crackle under your feet, then when it rains (nearly every afternoon at 4) you can smell them, hot and turpentiney. If you walk barefoot you’ll get balls of pine sap stuck to your feet. The sap drips from the trees and gets everywhere- on your car, anything outside. You can throw pinecones at your friends too, pretend they’re hand grenades…the pinecones, not the friends.
The neighborhood swimming pool was about a mile away,half of the walk was in the shade, the other half through and open, scorching hot field that made you grateful to get there. I’d go about 10am, and stay until 2 or 3. I honestly don’t remember every putting on sunscreen other than the iodine/babyoil stuff. Thanks to an Armenian great-great grandmother and another one who was Kiowa Indian, I tanned easily and never burned. Around 2 or 3 I’d go home, exhausted and happy, and stop in the garden to pick a fresh sun-hot tomato. Soon there would be a delicious sandwich- Roman Meal bread, thick slices of tomatoes and a slice of that cheap cotto salami (the one with the peppercorns in it) all slathered with mayonnaise. I can taste it now. and my mouth is watering.
Sometimes the day was spent outside under a tree, reading a book, or in Mom’s studio, parked at the sewing machine, making a new shirt or a doll’s dress.
We lived in the back end of a neighborhood, on a street that was a circle, and everyone knew everyone else, who belonged there and who didn’t. We were in and out of each other’s houses all the time, getting a drink of water or KoolAid, a popsicle, a bandaid. My next door neighbor’s house was particularly popular because she had a huge game room of her own, and her father would make us very weak Manhattans. Another house was popular because she had a playhouse in the backyard, and her father got Playboy magazines that we could look at. Bill’s house had a basement with a pool table, Scotty’s had a trampoline, Linda’s had woods and a big creek behind it with huge vines you could swing from (although we were told not to because they might break and we’d fall into the creek, crack our heads open on a rock, and die)
Transistor radios playing The Eagles, the Doobie Brothers, BeeGees,Donna Summer and Sister Sledge. Making up dance moves, imitating older siblings or making fun of them, discussing who was foxy (Leif Garrett) and who was not (The guy who played Horshack)…
What do you remember about Summer as a kid?