“”Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.”

The day is beautiful, and I’m finding it difficult to believe rain is coming. It is hot by cape standards, 77˚. Tonight it will drop to 55˚, closer to the usual this time of year.

Yesterday morning the sound of a what I thought was a truck woke me up. In that hazy state between awake and asleep, I figured it was the street sweeper clearing the sand from the road, the sand put down during winter snow storms. This morning the same sound woke me up. When I went to get the papers, I saw my lawn had been mowed. It was not a truck I heard. It was the mower which woke me up, disturbed the morning and got me out of bed far too early. I quickly waxed nostalgic about my father and the clicking and clacking of his hand mower. That remains one of my favorite summer sounds.

When I was a young, my neighborhood was filled with kids. Most houses had multiple kids. There were four of us in two waves. My brother and I were a year apart, and I was 5 and 7 years older than my sisters. We, the older two, played games outside like red rover and hide and go seek. I remember our voices seemed to carry through the air, especially in the early evening, sort of at twilight. The seeker counted out loud, and her voice echoed.

I remember sitting on the back steps as it started to get dark. I remember seeing lights go on in the houses behind us. They were all kitchen lights. Once in a while I’d see a neighbor at the window, always a woman. It was the kitchen sink window, and she was doing dishes.

When it got darker, it was time to go inside. The house felt warm compared to the cool night air. The dishes were in the rack right beside the sink. They were air drying. The TV was always on. My father was in the chair by the picture window. My sisters were on the couch. My mother was often in the kitchen sitting at the table. I’d check out what was on TV and then either watch or go upstairs to my room. I’d grab privacy whenever I could. The house was small for the many of us.

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10 Comments on ““”Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.””

  1. Bob Says:

    The 1950s was a weird time because the birth control pill was not yet on the market and urbanization plus antibiotics began dictating smaller families. Even Catholic families began to shrink as Catholic woman took birth control pills to relive their daily headach, too many kids. 🙂

    When I was kid in Dallas the summer heat dictated staying inside or going to the pool. Memorial Day weekend marked the end of the school year and the beginning of the long hot summer. When I was young my parents sent me to the JCC (Jewish Community Center day camp. Saturday mornings my father did the yard work. We had a large lot of 100 ft. Wide and 75 ft. depth. Dad treated the grass like his third child. His lawn was green and lush all summer long.

    I don’t know how other countries delineate the summer months. Here in the US Memorial Day marks the beginning, Independence Day the middle and Labor Day the end. Here it’s been hot all month with the second hottest temperatures for May. This generally indicated a hotter than usual summer.

    Partly cloudy skies today with high humidity keeping the temperature down in the low 90s. They are forecasting high nineties to low 100s for mid week. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      In my neighborhood, only a couple of families had 1 or 2 kids. The rest had more. The 50’s were still part of the baby boom. Both my sisters were born in the 50’s as were several of my cousins. Catholics were reluctant back then to ignore church doctrine. That wouldn’t come until the late 60’s.

      I think all fathers mowed the lawn on Saturday including my father and most of our neighbors.

      We never got out of school until June, usually the first or second week. Our summers were hot but nothing like yours. I also went to a day camp both as a camper and a junior counselor. It was a girl scout game in the pine woods. It was wonderful.

      The beach rules change on Memorial Day: no more dogs. Tourists come for the weekend, but it isn’t the start of summer. That is usually, at least for tourists, the end of June. July 4th is the big holiday. The roads are loaded with cars. Labor Day used to be the end of summer here when most restaurants and motels closed. Now it extends into October. Columbus Day is also a big weekend.

      I have no hint of what the summer weather will be.

      • Bob Says:

        The only reason I mentioned the hotter than usual May vs. the rest of the summer was that the TV weatherman brought up the statistics the other night.

        You and I are the baby boomers and the pill came along in 1961. The smaller family trend began after WWII when fewer people were working in agriculture and more woman entered the workforce. My maternal grandmother had eight children plus one who died in infancy before she came to this country. My father’s mother had three kids and some miscarriages.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        My aunt, younger than my father, had nine kids. We had four. My mother’s six siblings had a combined number of 28 kids. There was no slowing down in this family on either side.

        When I was growing up, I didn’t know any women who worked. They all stayed home and raised their kids.

        Our generation was the change generation.

    • Birgit Says:

      Bob, re: other countries, we don’t really delineate the summer months here, seasons aren’t clearly distinguishable enough when you just look at the weather. Sometimes maritime climate dominates, sometimes it’s more stable continental climate so we just take what we get. Summer can happen in spring, summer or autumn. Currently it’s summer 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Birgit,
        Here in the northeast, we have definite changes in weather each season. I think that is one of the reasons I love living here.

        We are still in spring!

  2. olof1 Says:

    Yesterday was hot once again but today is slightly cooler with a strong breeze blowing, making it feel much nicer than it actually is. It didn’t take long until the dogs showed they wanted to go home again when we started our latest walk but I continued since I know they all want to go out again shortly after we have come home again 🙂 Now they all sleep on the coolest place they can find 🙂

    No one is mowing the lawn now, the grass doesn’t grow that much in this heat and the few places where it has grown in my garden is no hurry to mow down 🙂
    Those modern hand mowers don’t click and clack any longer, they are almost totally silent. I have one and use it some times if the grass is dry because then it’s the best mower there is.

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I always felt bad for Gracie on hot days. Boxers don’t tolerate heat well. I used to go upstairs and turn on the AC until she got cooler. I don’t know how Henry will do.

      My father always said no mower can beat a hand mower. He swore by his. It cut the grass at the perfect height was one of his reasons.

      My grass has already been cut twice. It needed it both times. I would miss the click clack.

      Have a great day!

  3. William Sandford Says:

    Four kids in our family and one bathroom. My mother’s brother had 8 and one bathroom (???).
    The working women,some of whom had kids, were teachers, grocery store cashiers, nurses, department store workers, bank tellers (my mom), librarians, etc. There were a lot of working moms when we were younger.

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      Wow, I think I’d bucket bath if I had to wait my turn among 8 kids! My aunt had 9 kids and one bathroom. I never even thought about that.

      The only working mother I knew was a widow. I did have women teachers but that was an acceptable profession. Of the 4 non-nuns I had in elementary school, three were “old maids.”

      My mother helped out my uncle when he needed a bookkeeper, and that is the only job my mother ever had. Only Moe lived at home then, and she was in her late teens. It was in the 70’s.


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