Summer Stories!

10286801_460951137341616_1928828798235217180_oI’m still collecting Summer stories for Patriot-Made Audiocast  Please take a listen to this episode and get inspired!

It’s really easy to record your memories. If you own a mobile phone, find the voice memo app or feature on your phone. Hit record, share with me your story, or natural sounds that you are hearing this summer. Stop recording. Hit save, and then, follow the prompts Usually an arrow pointing up arrow-upand choose to either send it by email to or our cell phone, via text message, 202.594.6138
Thanks for listening and for supporting this blog, and my other endeavors.


Summer Stories

So, as part of my job, my self appointed job, I’m asking people to record audio, using their own voices, memories of summer. Summer stories. Send an MP3 to or text me a voicememo from your phone to a burner that I got just for this job, 202. 594.6138.  I’ll use portions of a recording for a series on American summer memories for a podcast called Patriot-Made Audiocast. @Patriotmade, which is distributed on iTunes, and carried by the Progressive Voices Channel on TuneIn. Call it a brief resbit from the politics and bs of the day.

And that ends the promotional portion of my blog.

I just listened to somebody elses summer memories, and, it was a humorous story about how this woman’s family didn’t do much, or go anywhere, during the summer. Then, I got to thinking. I was lucky. My folks took me and my two sisters on car trips. We’d visit places that required just one or two overnight stays. Or, we’d go on a little longer to break-in a new car, and see relatives, like my late great Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary, who lived near Cleveland, Ohio. Sweet memories of their house.  We went to Amish Country in Pennsylvania and had “shoo-fly-pie,” and prior to that, there were trips to Greenwood Lake, in the Catskills, where my Aunt Sondra and my late uncle Raymond, and cousins Susan and David had a summer log-home. It was all magic to me.

But, clear as yesterday I remember one summer trip that we took one August.

I think it was in 1972, we went to the end of the world–Montauk Point, and I think we stayed at a placed called the Atlantic Motor Inn. It was a good summer as I think the Mets were doing ok. I was bunking with my two  sisters in one room, my parents in the ajoining room. Time went slowly. Everyday was tunafish sandwiches, sand in my bathing suit, and body surfing and fighting the undertow. It seemed like a month, but it was only 4  or 5 days. Dad brought his fishing pole-lost a pair of sunglasses to a wave and Mom covered herself up with a big floppy hat and loose shirts, and sat under an umbrella to keep from burning like a roman candle in the sun. We didn’t fly to any vacation places. We drove there, in what was probably a 1971Ford Galaxie 500. It took forever to get to the end of Long Island. But, when you look over the ocean and wonder who in the world might be on the other side, what more could a 8 year old girl ask for? I think I got my yen for travel wondering what it would be to sail on the Atlantic, and leave from Montauk. It was a great day dream.

It was one of the last summers before my older sisters started “having lives” of their own, and preferred to hang out with their own friends, or getting summer jobs. So, we spent a lot of time together. It was before my eyesight, without glasses, wasn’t so bad, when I could see what the beach looked like before I hit the waves. Ever since I have had to take off my glasses so that I don’t lose them to a wave like my Dad lost his. Now when I go for a  swim at a beach it’s all “In G-d I trust,” to avoid stepping on jelly fish, or sharp shells, as I walk toward the incoming wave.  And, I body surfed as a kid! It’s something I don’t dare think about doing now until I lose more than a few pounds.  But, I spent hours in the sun, and then cooling off while riding the waves back to shore. You didn’t need to be a good swimmer. You just had to know how to hold your breath and lie on your stomach. And, oh! You needed to know when to start that ride with the oncoming wave.  You felt like you accomplished something everytime your mother looked at you wiping the sand off your face, and moving your salty-bangs away from your eyes.  That’s one of my memories of summer. Days so full of sunshine and ocean that I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, before my sisters turned off the lights or the television set, in that motor inn room.

The childhood perspective of life is something else, isn’t it?  Time is alongated. Worries and responsabilities are none. The smallest of looks and gestures are huge. The taste of simple foods are new. And, summer, (perhaps I am romanticizing it) was special. Anxieties about getting homework done and handed in on time didn’t exist. You were on a break, that is, if you were a lucky as I was as a kid.  And, I was a lucky kid.

End of Year Thoughts

When work slows down both at home and at the office, whether it’s a home office or an office you go to out of your home, some of us have time to clean up old files, and prepare for the new year.  You find interesting things at the end of the year.

On my PC’s desktop I found a scan of a photo that I took over 10 years ago while on late summer vacation with my husband, and the original three dogs we lived with after we got married.  From left to right, Jolie, on Chuck’s lap-that’s Cherry Coke, and standing and looking right at me, Veronica. They were all so young.  Jolie’s face was brindle, and had yet to turn white with age.  Cherry Coke had a patch of fur around her eyes that was worn down by some tough play with Veronica.  Veronica was thin and sleek looking–so much so that a broadcaster I worked with thought she was part Saluki.  (As far as we could tell V was part lab-Aussie shepherd)

As I look at the picture of my husband and his younger self, wearing the white sneakers that I have since cleaned out of his closet, I think about how great it was that we were able to travel with these three dogs.  They liked car rides. Motel accommodations were not hard to find. We all fit in a GM Oldsmobile 88–silver in color, a two-door car, with a bench seat up front (no buckets.)  Chuck would enter on the passenger side of the seat, and at that time, had a wheel chair that could fold up into one-quarter of the width that it was when he was sitting in it.  He would transfer into the passenger side of the car, fold up the chair, balance it on the lip of the car entry-way.  Then he’d slide over to the driver’s side of the car, flip forward the back of the passenger seat and grab the chair, and pull it into the back seat.  Then, the dogs piled in in the back.  I got in the front. Our cassette deck was loaded with Mickey Katz tapes, or jazz and blues, maybe some Sinatra, and off we would go on the road.

The trunk was packed with cloths, dog food and supplies, bottles of water from our home tap so that the dogs wouldn’t get upset stomachs and digestive systems by drinking water they were not used to when we first started the trip.  Chuck would be able to hold onto Cherry Coke while I held onto the bigger dogs on our walks.   However, that little girl dog was as strong as an ox.  She could pull him as she tried to keep up with me and her  “big sisters.”

But, that was the mid-90s.

Now as I look to 2012, and I take inventory of how my life has changed: my career, the responsibilities I’m tackling at home and my concerns for conditions in and around my community.  I look at vacations like the one this picture represents as a great luxury.  We were fortunate to be able to get on the road and experience the freedom of going places–without wincing at the costs of gas, food and lodging.  We didn’t need a passport to cross into Canada. (We brought along a copy of our dogs veterinarian records just in case there were issues with bringing pets across. There weren’t.)   We were happy to just watch our dogs play and interact with other dogs along our way.  We amused ourselves by being concerned about their comfort and well being. It was enough.  And, coming home was nice, with stops in Vermont along our way back to Maryland.

Where ever you go home to at the end of 2011 I hope you are able to let the stress leave your mind and your body and let in the warmth and solace of being with people and animals that give you happiness.