Sunday, June 26, 2016

Redux--Summertime. . .and the livin’ is easy

Recall a summer time memory from your youth--I confess that I suggested that prompt to Comeback Bloggers, having previously posted about one of my summertime memories--the swimming hole.

It is interesting to me is that I share, along with Ginger and Ruth, recollections of scrambled seasons.  Having grown up in southern Africa,  as a child I experienced "reversed seasons"--that is, summer in November, December and January, and winter in June, July, August.  Combine with that the schedule the school system followed--a calendar based school year beginning in January with holidays spaced throughout the year. We had a six week break at Christmas, and two 3 week breaks in the year between terms.  

So my earliest summertime memories are intermingled with Christmas holidays, definitely not the usual memory that a child in North America might have.

But, my parents did return to the U.S. when I was a teen--and I had several wonderful summers full of "typical" memories.

Here are two of the most vivid. I have written about them before, but the memories are still fresh and when I think my youthful summer times, these are what I recollect.

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 hole. 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 fallen mostly into disrepair, 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.

Soon enough, I no longer had time to fill my summers with such idol activities. Instead, at age 18 I went to Canada, along the shores of Lake Erie, to work for "rich" people--U.S. residents who worked in Buffalo, NY, but had summer homes on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. I did that for 3 summers.  No more swimming in swimming holes, no more leisurely walks to the corner grocery store.

Ah, summer. A time of leisure, a time for building memories, a time--at least when you are young--"the living' is easy."

Photo credit: 


Jayne said...

Love the memories of the cooler in the IGA. Ours was a 7-11, and we would get "Icees," either CocaCola or Mountain Dew flavored. My, they were so good, and I had many a brain freeze from them. I confess I've only visited one swimming hole, but the one you describe sounds perfect.

Ruth said...

There was a small IGA across the road from my Grandma's house which served a town of 5000 people. How did we manage without enormous supermarkets with thousands of items? My favourite soda was Fanta Orange. Were the summer homes in Canada in the Fort Erie-Port Colborne area?

KGMom said...

Ruth--yes. My father had a cousin who lived in Ridgeway, ON. She did occasional cooking for some of the wealthy families, thus had a ready-made contact. Plus she welcomed me on my days off.
Along the lake, the houses were close to Crystal Beach.
One of the families I worked for (for 1 summer) were the family in Buffalo for whom the NFL football stadium is named: Rich. It is still a privately owned family company. I lasted all of one summer--the youngest son in the family was a bit too interested in a 17 yr. old girl working for them. Another type of summer memory.

Anvilcloud said...

I never had summer jobs except between uni and teachers college. In uni, I did go to school in the summer too. I did all 8 semesters consecutively. In my gap year before uni, I had a job for the whole year, which included two summers, one on either side of the year. Until then I was both indolent and indigent.

Ginger said...

Oh, the swimming hole sounds absolutely marvelous! Our mission friends in southern Thailand took us to one in the jungle when we were visiting, and we had a BALL swinging out on the rope swing and flying off it into the water. Next time we were up there, they said we couldn't go because the communist guerrillas had moved into the area and it was too unsafe. So disappointing!

NCmountainwoman said...

I had idyllic childhood summers. A time in which children were allowed great freedom. There were no "organized" sports and we played outdoors from morning until dusk, coming home only for meals.

We still have many swimming holes here in the mountains and they are packed with people every day. The water is very cold, with fishermen trout fishing in the same streams.

Like you, I remember the Coke coolers and the cold and refreshing little bottles of Coke and Nehi. What a treat.

Unknown said...

Wow - what a great opportunity to spend summers in two different countries! I remember the coke coolers, too, and remember greatly disliking when cans started to replace soda bottles.

Ginnie said...

When I think of summer times as a youngster I immediately think of our very large screened in back porch and the fun we had there in all kinds of weather. I was the youngest of 5 girls and there were always boys hanging around which made for some interesting times !