“When I was a child, our summer days were spent swimming; chlorine in my hair was like perfume to me.”

The house is still closed, and the AC is cranking. A few steps outside are a few steps too many. It is already 83˚, a bit cooler than yesterday but that’s a small consolation when it is this hot.

If I were a kid again, today would be sprinkler weather. I remember best the old metal sprinkler with arms which turned in a circle, My father used it for years. We’d put it on the side lawn which gave us some running and jumping room, and we’d make sure the water pressure was never too high so we could easily jump over. I also remember how cold the water was. It took our breaths away. The grass all around the sprinkler got drenched and tamped down, and it sometimes made us slide. My father was never happy on sprinkler day because of his lawn.

My sisters, more than I, used to eat their lunches on the backyard steps. It was a picnic of sorts. I can still see them wearing their bathing suits each one sitting on her own step, each one munching a sandwich.

Summer to me is so many things. It is Saturday night at the drive-in all of us dressed in our pajamas. We’d bring robes and slippers in case we had to make a bathroom run. At intermission, the playground near the refreshment stand was always filled with pajama-clad kids playing and yelling after being stuck in the car for a whole movie. When I was really young, I fell asleep during the second movie, the one for the adults. When I was older, I stayed awake the whole time though I never did see the end of any movie. My dad wanted out before the traffic jam of cars trying to exit on the one road. I think we were the first to leave.

Summer is casual. That started when I was a kid. We had no specific bedtimes. When the streetlights came on, we could still play outside. Breakfast and lunch were seldom planned, cereal in the morning and a sandwich at lunch. We ate when we were hungry. My mother always made supper, but it was seldom as hearty as winter dinners. A grab and go was the ideal supper because we wanted to get back outside.

Summer is just starting. Let the fun begin!


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4 Comments on ““When I was a child, our summer days were spent swimming; chlorine in my hair was like perfume to me.””

  1. Birgit Says:

    Just back from a garden walk, picking and eating berries. Currently raspberries, white currants, gooseberries and a first strawberry. That’s summer I love.

    • katry Says:

      My summer is complete when the homegrown tomatoes are for sale. Many are on little tables outside houses, and you buy on the honor system. The butter and sugar corn is so delicious just the thought of it makes me smack my lips in delight. Those are two parts fo summer I love.

      I haven’t seen berries just growing, but the town does have a blueberry patch.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Our car was probably in the early Drive-In departure line right along with your car. If my father took us to the Drive-In, we always left before the movie was over.

    My parents always made us go to bed at our usual time in summer. There we’d be at 7PM, sun shining brightly, other kids in the neighborhood outside having fun. It was awful. Eventually I was allowed to stay out until the street lights came on but that was when I was around 10.
    I remember sleeping outside in the back yard. My father had an old army surplus tent and some surplus cots. My cousin and I would sleep out there now and then. It didn’t have a floor and anything could crawl in there but it was our space and that’s all it needed to be. I also sometimes slept in the garage attic. Even more critters could get into the garage attic but, even so, it felt like a little cottage in the woods. It had electricity, too. I had an old console radio from the 1930’s up there. It was luxurious.

    The AC unit went in the window very early this morning. After spending a hot night with two dogs who were convinced they would be cooler if they snuggled up next to me, I had had enough. So much more comfortable now.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      That’s funny! I never thought they’d be two such impatient fathers.

      Summer was freedom for us. We had to stay near home but we could stay out later. Usually we went in when it started to get dark. I think we went to bed early, never as early as 7, as we were so tired from playing so long.

      I envy you that attic. I loved finding places where I could be by myself, especially when it rained. I’d stay all day and read. I too used to sleep in the backyard, but we didn’t have cots. I would have liked one, but I had to make-do with a tarp on the grass so I wouldn’t get wet from the morning dew.

      I find AC one of the all time great inventions. Gracie pants often, but she is quite comfy in the AC and so am I without the panting.

      Have a great evening!

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