In the Good Old Summertime

It seems that warm, summer days are finally upon us. That being said, I think about summers past: when we were kids, when our kids were little and other occasions that make up a book of great memories.

Growing up, our family spent many summers in Eastham, on Cape Cod. The cottage was on a private lake and only a mile or so from the ocean—the best of both worlds. We’d go swimming in the lake or our folks would drive us to Nauset Beach in Orleans. We loved shopping in all the interesting little shops. And our vacation wouldn’t have been complete without a yummy-full-of-chunky lobster roll from a little drive-in stand perched on the rocks. Pure heaven! We also bought jars of homemade Wild

Beach Plum Jelly from a roadside stand—how delicious on a toasted English muffin.  

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We didn’t have air conditioning back then, so trying to “sleep cool” was practically pointless. Fans just churned the hot air; I’d go from one side of the bed to the other hoping for a cool spot. I still can’t tolerate heat and humidity—so lucky to have central air!

Mom always had a refreshing salad with supper: My favorite was sliced tomatoes and cucumbers (from her garden), thinly sliced onion with fresh parsley and a touch of pure olive oil. Her homemade lemonade with mint (again from her garden) put the finishing touches on a cool supper. By the way, her potato salad was competition-worthy!

When the boys were babies, I cooled them off with corn starch baths. I wound up wetter than they did—they sure loved to kick and splash. As they grew older, we had wading pools in the backyard where they could splash to their hearts’ delight. It also gave Mom a chance to put her swollen feet into cool water—I was pregnant with George and Matt each during a summer!

One year, we traveled to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. We stayed at a motel, all of us in one room. It turned out to be one of the best times we’d had as a family, and they loved going out to breakfast and ordering whatever they wanted. My aunt and uncle had property not too far from Cooperstown and we spent our second night with them. That was a real adventure: The house was an old farmhouse with a metal roof and crooked floors. We had to put wood under the kitchen table so it would stay even. That night it rained so hard it sounded like drums banging on the roof. However, the next day was sunny, cool and bright and we took the boys romping through the fields.

Going to a special area in Robert Moses State Park on a Sunday was the perfect summer day for Art and me. Only 4WD vehicles were permitted, so the area was not crowded.  Art and I would pack the car the night before so that we could leave by 5 the next morning. We had to be at the beach before that area was closed for the day at 7. We loved going around the sand dunes and driving through the surf. Of course, it was a “must” to go to the car wash the next day to wash the salt off the undercarriage. He would find a spot and turn the car around so that it was facing the ocean. We had a small table and a gas stove plus all the fixings for breakfast and lunch. There is nothing like the aroma of fresh brewed coffee and sizzling bacon outdoors. After breakfast, Art would set up the lounges and we’d read the Sunday newspapers, listen to the waves and doze. I would usually take a walk along the shore, enjoying the solitude, alone with my private thoughts. 

I have so many summertime memories and it makes me happy to see my sons and their families creating their own. I believe these memories help build a foundation for a life well-lived and -loved. And if you have photos, you’re that much more ahead of the game! 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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