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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.