By Liz, mostly enjoying the heat wave at the beach
And no, for once this post is NOT about my dogs!
I don’t know about where you are, but it’s been hot here in Massachusetts this week.
I don’t mind it, honestly – I’m way more of a warm person than a cold person, although humidity is not my friend. But whenever we hit the dog days of summer, It actually reminds me of my childhood summers—my absolute favorite time of the year when I was a kid. (Who am I kidding – it’s my favorite time of the year period.)
I absolutely lived for summer. The social aspect of school was always a lot for me, and when summer rolled around and I didn’t have to go pretend to fit in every day, I was super relieved. The days stretched out ahead of me like there was all the time in the world. I always had a stack of books, and I was lucky enough to have a small, above-ground pool in my yard.
The house I grew up in back then was only one of three on the entire street. Between my house and the one behind it, there was a patch of land where wild blackberry bushes grew. One of my favorite memories was taking a bowl out back and picking tons of blackberries. My mother also had a huge garden with blueberry trees and strawberry plants, so berries were a big part of that summer feeling. To this day, there’s nothing like summer berries to take me right back.
Back then, it was pretty common to spend most of the day outside. I rode my bike all over the neighborhood exploring, making up stories to keep myself entertained. I’d come home for lunch and watch a couple of Monkees reruns—another one of my favorite memories, I adored that show!—then head right back outside.
On special days, my mother would take us to the beach. I could usually tell when it was going to be a beach day—I’d hear her downstairs earlier than usual getting things ready, checking to see when low tide was that day, packing snacks in a cooler. Those were the best days—we’d go to Salisbury Beach and set up shop, and I’d spend the rest of the day in the water. I usually made a new friend or two to swim with.
Other days, we’d head over to my grandparents’ house, another favorite pastime. My grandpa and I would sit outside and talk on the stone lions that stood guard outside the house. On the days when it was too hot to do that, we’d hang out on the screened-in porch and eat snacks.
When my dad came home from work, we’d usually swim in the pool together for a bit. I’d show him the new stroke I’d learned at my swim lesson, or we’d have races. I think he usually let me win. On weekends, we’d hang out together while he did yard work. Our backyard seemed so big back then, with the smell of fresh-cut grass and summer barbecues lingering over it.
The ice cream shop at the bottom of our street was a frequent stop, either on our way home from somewhere or we’d make a special trip after dinner. Chocolate-vanilla swirl soft serve was my go-to then. I can’t pass a soft-serve ice cream shop without thinking about that place. It’s a travel agency now (I actually can’t believe they still have those!).
I think one of the reasons I love summer so much is because of these memories. Aside from the warm weather, of course.
Readers, what’s your favorite childhood memory? Leave a comment below!