As a child, I remember waiting for the last day of school so that I could partake in summer vacation. My peers and I would begin the countdown nearly thirty days before the event, and with each new year, we would all be more ecstatic than the last. I could not wait to experience what this season had to offer, including chances to stay outside to play later than our normal “street light curfew.” Summer was the best season ever. There are many moments in my past in which I can pin point the happiest of times which were shared with my friends and cousins. My favorite things to do during the summer were: swim, visit New York, have water balloon or water gun fights, chase the ice cream truck to obtain my most favorite ice cream of the week (come on, do not act like you have not done this at least once), jump rope, skate and attend sleepovers. I was the only child for eight years, so entertaining myself when no one else was available or in town, was a snap. With an imagination as active and creative as mine, I was never bored.
Allow me to get nostalgic for three paragraphs: remember making mud pies? A few of my girlfriends and I had little pans designated especially for this choice cuisine (although not edible, they were fun to make). My mother would scream at the top of her lungs because not only had I gotten my hands, clothes, feet and the steps to the entrance of our home dirty, my hair was often victim as well. She would scold me and warn me to stay out of the dirt. I recall trying to mind my manners and obey her words, but there was simply something about dirt and water that led me to believe they wanted a playmate. You guys know where I am going with this, right? It was as if the more my mother scolded me about mud pies and playing in the dirt, the more my six year old mind raced to organize meetings with my limbs to get my body outside once more for another dirty, culinary dish. The heat was intense in Savannah, Georgia, so the coolness of the water and dirt turned mud was inviting. Even now as an adult, I have to truly fight the urge to go out front, sit on the hot concrete, and prepare a few mud pies with my neighbor’s children (just kidding).
Summertime was the best time to enjoy ice cream. There have been a number of instances where my friends and I had to chase our neighborhood Ice Cream Truck just to get him to stop and shower us with the frozen goodness hidden deep in the truck’s freezers. There was always that one friend whom did not have any money (perhaps his or her parents did not give them allowance, or they could not afford to give him or her an allowance) and he or she would hover over their best friend out of the group, and usually they got the chance to devour a “Push Up” or “Chocolate Ã‰clair.” After every child purchased their favorite treat, we usually stood around near the street to slurp, lick or chew what we were sold. It did not matter that the sun was awake and beaming down on our backs; the cold, sugary friend we had just made was there to soothe our dry throats and fill our tummies. Those were good times.
How many of you can recall battling the children in your neighborhood that very summer Super Soakers hit the scene? When my brothers were old enough, our step-father bought us each a brand new Super Soaker and we played with them from sunup until sundown. The very first one I remember getting was the Super Soaker XP 75. My brothers had smaller versions of my gun, and I believe theirs was the Super Soaker 50. We would all gather outside and congregate around the faucet in front of our house to fill up our guns for Water Wars. Kids from around the corner, up the street and down several blocks would show up with their brand of Super Soaker or other water guns to blast us until our clothes soaked and hung down from our bodies. We hated retreating when the day ended and yearned for tomorrow.
As I sat here typing this very article, I thought about some of my old friends and our summers spent with each other. Summertime was what I craved and when the school year began again, I spent most of the term wishing summer would soon appear. Now, in my twenty-seven year old body, my summers aren’t exactly summers. They are filled with working, taking a trip home once or twice, and maintaining a simple yet happy life. But, back then summers were so much more. Hey, My Summer, where did you go?