Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summertime. . .and the livin’ is easy






Apologies to DuBose Heyward who wrote the libretto for Porgy and Bess.


As I was driving home today, having visited my dad and step-mom at their retirement village, I was captured by the lovely fluffy clouds. Now, I know that such cumulous clouds can be a precursor to thunderstorms, but I am talking about the esthetics—the sheer beauty of such clouds.

I almost felt like a 15 year old girl again, gazing at clouds. And it got me to thinking about summertime. I can recall two idyllic summers when I lived with my uncle and aunt near the village of Grantham, PA. Too young to work (by the standards then), I had to find things to fill my summers. And I filled them very well, thank you.

What did we do? Well, we could walk to the little IGA grocer in the middle of the village. By today’s standards, this grocery would be a convenience store, but then it served to provide all the food goods we might need. And it had a soda cooler right inside the door. We would pad down the hill to the IGA, go inside in the relative cool, fish around for the right soda, then sucking our bottles, walk back home.

Or we would go to the local swimming holes. Do they even have swimming holes anymore? The one near Grantham was called the Riffles, and to get there you had to walk along the railroad tracks. The swimming hole was formed by an abandoned dam, which had since mostly fallen down, but the remnants of a deep water reservoir remained. There was a nearby tree with the proverbial swing on which braver souls than I could swing far out over the swimming hole then drop in. We could sit on the remnants of the dam, sunning, talking, (if old enough) with a boy.

Swimming hole photo from


Or we could go picking strawberries. My step-mom had gone picking strawberries this morning at a pay-to-pick place. I recall there being such places close enough to Grantham that we could go and pick. Maybe we were asked to do so by the grown-ups who wanted strawberries for making jam, or maybe we just went on our own. I don’t remember, but I recall going to pick them.

What else did we do? Hard to recall—summers seemed to last forever and yet fly by. As I was photographing the lovely cloud formations, I heard our neighbor’s dogs barking away. So I walked over into their yard, and their little boy seemed to have found a way to pass his summer day.
















Oh, I just remembered one more thing we could do in the summertime. . .pull weeds!

Enough of my brief walk down memory lane. How did you spend your childhood summers?

19 comments:

Ocean and Forest Walks said...

That was a lovely trip down memory lane Donna - even if the memories were not my own - I really enjoyed yours! I think that the time before we join the rush of the working world is a very special time of childhood - I can remember thinking time was moving so slowly - I wanted to be all grown up and able to do all the fun things!! As always I so enjoy visiting your thought provoking blog. I am coming back to read the other comments also!!

Cathy said...

Beautiful memories, Donna. Did you also ride your bicycles miles into the country - gone for hours and no adult worried about you?

It's such a different world, today. My nieces and nephews are under constant surveillance. Any caretaker today would be considered negligent if their charges had the freedom that we did as kids.

And 'place'. That special swimming hole, or nearby woodlot or lake beach or rolling pastures just outside of town. How many young people today experience that sense of a special 'place'?

Boy! I am sounding like an old fogy.

Bradbury's Dandelion Wine comes to mind. It's been years since I read it. Do you remember it, Donna? Would it be a worthy re-read in your opinion?

The picture of the little boy and dog - priceless. Great post!

KGMom said...

Ocean--your wish for time to hurry so you could be grown-up is one many of us had. Now we wish we could slow time down.
Cathy--I don't think I had a bike then, although I certainly did ride. My brother did many long rides during his youthful summers.
As for Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, I have not read it, though I am familiar with it. Hard to see if you would enjoy a re-read. Sometimes our memories of a book are better than the book. What other summer themed books can you think of?

Anvilcloud said...

For about three summers (or so it seems) we also went swimming almost every day in the sumer. It was in a community pool, but it was good.

Climenheise said...

Your brother did many long what? As the brother in question, I remember one long ride -- from Kansas to California (with a bus across the desert) in the summer of 1976. But I was in my mid-20s then: hardly a young lad anymore; and I only did that once! I remember playing cricket, marbles, soccer (football, if you please), climbing rocks, fishing (but only once). The main thing about summer was that I was home: that's what I remember.

Pam said...

Well, I've been working on a painting of a swimming hole for my blog...guess our memories are headed in the same direction.

We swam, built forts, played with paper dolls and drank orange crush...it was in a brown bottle back then and better tasting than it is today.

Carol said...

I'm a first time commenter, having recently found your blog. We enjoyed swimming at the local pool on an almost daily basis and going to the library to get stacks of books to read. We sat on our front lawn with neighbor kids from all around and made chains of clover flowers and then looked for fire flies at dusk. Summertime, the living was indeed easy.
Thanks for a great post and interesting question.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Hmmm, great memories and great question. What I remember most about summers growing up was the three or four summers I visited my grandparents. The first two times, they lived in Westhampton Beach on Long Island -- no, no they weren't filthy rich . . . they were townies who'd lived there forever. But, we'd spend all day, every day at the Beach Club swimming, body surfing, playing, laughing, having fun. Awesome. Later, they moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and that was fun too. No beaches where they were but a country club membership so the swimming, sun, and fun were the same. Sailing lessons made up for no body-surfing. :)

Those are the strongest memories. There were a few other good ones, too.

KGMom said...

AC--your recollection is similar to my husband's. He spent most summers at the community pool.

Daryl--I recall one trip you made to E-town, but maybe you were in college then. That's the curse of being younger. . .your older sister has trouble telling when you were a child & when you grew up! (sorry)

Pam--I can't wait to see your swimming hole painting for your blog.

Carol--welcome, welcome. I will do a return visit to you! And you mentioned fireflies--oh yes, a favorite summertime activity.

Liza Lee--summers at the beach or at the CC for swimming: can't beat that.

KGMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KGMom said...

PLEASE NOTE ABOVE--not censorship, but blogger decided to publish my comment twice, so I removed the second one.
Re. my prior post and AC's question--I thought I had best explain!

Anonymous said...

Just to set the record straight, re. the bicycling: I think it was Daryl's last year in High School at A-C, our first year at Fairland, that he had gone with me to to E'town. We had stopped at our Bookstore there and I had got something, I think for him, had given it to him and told him to guard it carefully and take it home with us. When we got home he had forgotten it and left it in the Bookstore, and I made him ride his cycle back to E'town to retreive the item. On reflection in my declining years I have felt perhaps I was too hard on him. And I shudder now at the thought of making a lad of that age ride the same course today from Cleona to Elizabethtown. I felt then he needed a lesson in responsibility. I am deeply grateful none of you turned against me, your authoritarian, but deeply loving father.
Father "C"

mon@rch said...

Summertime is the best and how great for all the wonderful memories!

Body Soul Spirit said...

My childhood summers seemed to last forever. We spent hours in unstructured outdoor play and returned home only for meals. We did attend summer camp for 1-2 weeks as well. I remember reading Nancy Drew books under the trees. We didn't have air conditioning and would spend hot summer nights camping in the back yard.
Ruth

Climenheise said...

I would have said "authoritative", which feels better to me than "authoritarian" father. I still don't remember the ride! Well, maybe vaguely. I remember better driving around Lebanon County in the old black Rambler with a push button automatic transmission. And I do remember working in Palmyra and in Hershey and riding my bicycle to those places. Mind you, the road from Cleona to E-town is an attractive one ...

Mary said...

This is great, Donna! Memories flooded my mind - no A/C, outside from dawn to dusk, walks to the country store for ladies in the neighborhood, exchanging Coke bottles for pennies, dodge ball, roller skates, the ice cream and snowball man, riding bikes, looking for four-leaf clovers and catching lightning bugs, running through the sprinkler, family trips to Patapsco State Park, swimming pools. Ahhhhh...

LostRoses said...

Nice post, kgmom, you got me thinking about childhood memories of summer. Growing up in Florida, it always seemed like summer, and rather idyllic, but we were kids, what did we know! Coming back all hot and sweaty from a bike ride and then drinking a nice cold Nehi grape soda, that was living!

Laurie said...

I was admiring puffy clouds myself today, but was reminded that this area has received 9 inches of rain (over an inch more than last year's total moisture received) and we don't need any more rain right now, thank you very much.

Dorothy said...

Oh Donna, catching up on your blog I see where we were on the same thoughtwave for blog titles! Gosh, every summer I still remember the last day of school, and the heady feeling of freedom for summer that ensued..going barefoot, running through the sprinklers, helping my mom clean up the screened porch for the summer..having root beer floats out there with her, starting a cut flower garden and watching it grow..taking a ride "down the shore" for the day..the smell of salt air, the first view of the ocean...hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill...I could go on forever.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane!