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Summer memories then and now

POSTED: July 2, 2014 5:13 p.m.
 

I’ve always loved summer. Of course, most all of us have fond summer memories.

I remember waking up and hearing the lawn mower running, smelling that wonderful scent of freshly cut grass.

I loved being barefoot all day. And I remember so often my mother “operating” on my feet to get splinters out, all the while lecturing me about wearing shoes.

Oh, how my brother Billy and I loved our time in the woods and down at our creek, where we built and sailed little wooden boats. We pretended to be beavers and set up so many dams.

At the end of the creek was a “swimming hole” of sorts, which I loved until we saw a great big snake and its babies swimming there one summer. That was it for me.

I also enjoyed riding my bike to the swimming pool and, of course, hearing that familiar sound of the ice cream truck.

Whoever heard it first was obligated to run inside and yell as loud as possible about the approaching celebrity that was the ice cream man.

After that, there was a flurry of activity as we all began yelling at our mom to find money. It always seemed she never had any cash that day, so we would all search the house and piggy banks for loose change.

There would always be a line at the truck and anxious children, all barefoot, studied the menu on the side of the truck and whispered about what we were going to get that day.

I always got the same thing. That rainbow-colored ice cone, that I now know was simply ice, food coloring and sugar. I thought it was heaven and never cared when it turned my mouth an ugly greenish-black color.

Our children also loved summer. Even though they drove me crazy on many occasions, I admit I miss their sweet little faces and their excitement of that magical time that is summer vacation.

It was exhausting taking them to the swimming pool and the lake. So much planning to spend a day with four young kids.

I had to pack snacks, lunches, drinks, towels, toys, water wings, changes of clothes and sunscreen. Just applying sunscreen adequately to four young children makes you feel you deserve a medal of some sort.

Not to mention the amount of stuff you have to lug. Young children are not good about carrying a beach bag or cooler.

Once we got to our destination, there was no lying around reading the latest bestseller or cooking magazine. Oh no, it was all hands on deck.

A life guard on duty was no comfort as you couldn’t ever take your eyes off the little ones. Yet still, I have only happy memories of even those times I know were stressful and not at all relaxing.

I love that I chronicled our summers in scrapbooks so I can be reminded of all the fun things we did. Sometimes I thought of fun things to do just because I knew the pictures would be so good!

Once I took a beautiful vintage picnic basket and we all picnicked on a grassy bank. I’m pretty sure as soon as we ate they were all bored and ready to leave, but my pictures are fabulous don’t reflect boredom at all.

Another time I let them run around outside in their swimsuits during a summer rainstorm. (No, it wasn’t thundering.) I stood in the garage snapping shots with my camera, knowing the scrapbook page title would be “Singing in the Rain.”

This summer has been the oddest one yet — just one child living at home and he is nearly 17, hardly very needy. In the evening, Paul and I often are alone — something we rarely were over the previous 24 years.

We walk down to the garden, which used to house a large swing set, play area and toys. We sit on our deck and remember when it was full of colorful plastic baby pools, picnic and sand tables and so on.

There are still plenty of clues our backyard used to be overrun with children, including the “graffiti” on part of the fence from when someone decided that was a good place for art.

I wonder what summers going forward will be like, but for now am content to remember my own childhood ones fondly and am happy our children loved theirs.

To my readers with young children, I know you think the day will never come when things are quiet and peaceful in summertime. But I promise that day will come sooner than you think.

 

Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at contact@adlenrobinson.com.

 

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