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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Summer Means to Me: Part Two

Summer on Oak Street was perfect, back in the days when moms kicked you out after breakfast and you played all day, anywhere you wanted.  Summer back in the days when no one worried about kidnappers and rapists and sex offenders and drug dealers.  When no one gave a thought about about Lyme Disease or mosquito borne illnesses and sunscreen was only for a long day at the beach, not to walk out the door.

Garret's Pond was right down the street.  A decent sized kettle pond it had much to offer.  Deep water for diving off the raft, small quiet pools where everyone knew the leeches lived and a rope swing on the tree that the older boys always dared each other to jump from.  It had this insanely steep ankle breaker of a path from the road down to the water.  An old, barely legible sign read, "Town Way to Water".  Hilarious.

All the neighborhood kids went there.  We'd head down barefoot, in swimsuit and cut-off jeans and spend happy hours playing King of the Raft, swinging out on the rope swing, playing Tom Sawyer poling about on make-shift rafts, diving and swimming until, floating across the water thinly, we'd hear our Moms calling us to come home.

Other days we would spend up in the power-lines, blueberry picking and exploring. It was hot there, dry and dusty, filled with wildflowers, berries of all sorts, hills, plains, boulders and brambles.  It was where we played Indian, painted our faces with pokeberry, made pemmican with our blueberries and wove baskets with long grasses.  

Sometimes we'd walk down the long road to the forest at the far end.  Deep quiet and dappled sunlight, moss-strewn rocks and dark places, birdsong and mystery was the forest.  There we'd be magically transported to Middle Earth, Sherwood or Narnia for hours on end.

Summer was our backyard.  Dad had built us a sandbox, a swing and a seesaw.  We'd  build fairy castles and decorate them for hours with acorn tea sets and stick furniture.  Our backyard was Mom and snacks out on the picnic table and iced tea with lemon.  Summer afternoons at home were hanging out on the big farmer's porch reading and watching traffic go by.  Home on summer evenings was a bath and a crisp, clean nightgown, catching fireflies for our nightstands, Mom reading bedtime stories and having to go to bed when it was still light out.

Summer was walking down the road to the highway overpass to see how far traffic had backed up from the bridge.  Or hiking up to the fire tower on Plum Street, where, after a climb, we could see almost to the bridge, the entirety of Wequaquet Lake and even the beach.  Summer was just kicking a rock as we walked home, band-aids and Solarcaine.

Summer was Sandy Neck Beach.  We would load up Dad's old, red Scout with coolers, beach toys, books, chairs, sunscreen, and the hibachi and we'd head out to join the line of other 4wheel drives waiting to get out to the beach.  Here Dad would stop and get out and do all the arcane magic to the tires and wheel hubs he would do so that we could drive on the soft sand trails and not get stuck.  Off we'd go, out on the trail, out to the beach, to find and park at the perfect spot right at the base of the dunes.  Out we'd get to encamp for the day.  We would spend the day swimming until we were blue and reheating on huge beach towels. Summer on the beach was napping in the sun, dune surfing, long walks, beach combing, diving for sand dollars and playing in the tide pools at low tide.  Slightly gritty meals heartily consumed because there is no appetite like that of a child on a beach.  Staying until the sun slowly sank over the horizon leaving the special afterglow that exists nowhere else on earth than Sandy Neck Beach in summer.

Summer was home and home was the house on Oak Street.

16 comments:

Shirley July 28, 2010 at 8:50 AM  

Aaahhhh, such nice memories, Lizzie. I have similar ones about my childhood in NH. I have tried to recreate much of it for my children, but somehow I don't think it compares.....

Joann Mannix July 28, 2010 at 9:17 AM  

Such sweet nostalgia. It brought back my days of such simple but fabulous times where all we needed was our bike and the sunshine on our shoulders and the day would be glorious.

Oh and Solarcaine! I forgot about that!

Laurie July 30, 2010 at 9:19 AM  

Lizzie, I finally took a longer look around your blog. You live in a great area - Cape Cod! Only been there twice, but I can imagine that summertime was magical back in the day. Enjoy the days of August. Summer will soon be a memory.

Linda July 30, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

Hi, Thanks for your comment..
Such memories. Summer means the most to me and the memories of such carefree times.

Kristi @ Creative Kristi July 30, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

Lizzie,
SUCH a great post! Wonderful memories that I think most of us have! I was on the 'beginning' of the whole helicopter parenting generation (early 80's born) but I do remember being let outside and not having a parent within eyesight all the time!
Thanks for the comment on my blog! Always love having a fellow "SITS-tah" come over and visit! :)

Marie July 30, 2010 at 3:04 PM  

What a great post :-) I hope you have a wonderful summer on the Cape- it's the place to be!

BECKY July 31, 2010 at 12:42 AM  

Such sweet memories....takes me WAY back!! Thanks for sharing!

張志亦劉美玲 July 31, 2010 at 1:24 AM  
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tiffany July 31, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

Fabulous memories! Nothing like mine but fabulous. Our neighborhood was missing the kids. It's a good thing my sister and I had each other!

I do love the ones now where I get to play with my daughter. I'm making my favorite summer memories.

Lizzie August 2, 2010 at 11:42 AM  

This reminds me of my summers as a kid - especially mums kicking us out and leaving us to play all day. I used to love those memories, and nothing scared us apart from the older kids... no sex offenders, no rapists. But now, it takes a lot for my friends to send their kids out during the day to play. A lot. Which is such a shame because my memories of childhood are so fond.

cj Schlottman August 2, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

Lizzie, Oh, my! Thank you for taking me back to my childhood in a very small town in coastal Georgia. It was like living a dream, especially after some hard times at work and a spat with my best friend boy.

And thank you for following Living Through It. I'll be back to visit soon.

..........cj

秀李樺 August 3, 2010 at 3:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dawn August 3, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

thanks for stopping by my blog... I really appreciate it!

Coming home when the street lights came on... after a day spent with fairies and little people who lived in the woods behind our school... or at least I THOUGHT they lived there even though I never actually saw them. I think I spent most of my early elementary years looking for them, but they were too smart to be seen by me!

Melissa B. August 3, 2010 at 8:26 PM  

I miss my carefree summers! Now, I pretty much can't wait to get out of school, and then spend summer worrying about what the next school year has in store...

andrew August 4, 2010 at 7:11 AM  

Lizzie,

What a Great way to begin my day, reading about your summers growing up....I began to reflect on my chilhood summers, remembering how my folks would load the car(our dog Rex included :)and spend our precious family time on Cape Cod:)

Those were the carefree days!
YSIC
Linda Miller

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