Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writer's Workshop: Top Ten Summer

Mama’s Losin’ It


How doesn't love summer? At least here in the Northeast part of the United States, summer is generally a lovely time of year. The weather is warm (though sometimes hot and humid, but nothing like the south regions deal with). The sun is bright and the days are long compared to are cold, short days of winter.

So, Today I am going to share my top ten things about summer when I was growing up. 

10: No school.
And while this may seem to be a very obvious one for any school aged child, my reasons are for more then merely avoiding school work. Growing up, I was often bullied at school. I moved to the very close knit community of Seneca Falls when I was 9 years old, and entered 4th grade. By that time, many kids were already in their own little friendship groups, and I was very much an outcast until high school. The bullying through mostly steamed from my appearance, as I was overweight and in my opinion, not particularly girly looking. I was often called "Shamoo" (as in the killer whale at sea world), even after i had developed an eating disorder and lost a massive amount of weight in a very short time. Summer was very much a relief from the daily taunts i endured during those terrible middle school years.

9: No particular set schedule.
This was more so after I turned 12 and we no longer had to be carted off to a babysitters house daily in the summer. If i wanted to read, I could read without having to move to the next class, go to gym, etc... I burned through a lot of books with summer reading growing up.

8: The Sun.
While I admit that I really dislike the heat. Even here in New York it can get rather hot, and add in humidity, and it's just terrible to me. But, I love the sun. It's not for tanning or anything like that, but just the pure simple fact that a sunny day is usually a much more pleasant day then an overcast one. Spring and autumn are often overcast and damp from the rains, and winter can be overcast, and the days are very short even for days with sun. Since we don't get a whole lot of sun light the rest of the year, so I'll take it where I can get it!

7: Money making opportunities.
For me, this meant babysitting. I often babysat for kids in the neighborhood, my cousins and family at church. While now that I am older I understand how good it was for me to have something to do, some responsibility. But as a teen, what I loved most was having a reason to act like a little kid and not be seen as "immature".
Heck, that maybe half the reason I have children, too!

6: Grandma and Grandpa's house.
My brothers and I spent a lot of time at our maternal grandparent's house growing up. My grandmother was the one who taught me to crochet and cross stitch by the age of 10. She tried to teach me to knit as well, but it took another 20 years for it to finally stick. Our grandfather would take us on walks and hikes around the local area. We would spend hours fishing in nearby streams and fishing holes, travel to some pretty awesome, yet far away playgrounds. We would walk to the neighbors house to swim with their kids on particularly hot days. He taught my brother Terry how to use a pocket knife, and would do simple wood working projects with both of us. He taught me how to walk on stilts. He would read books (upon books) to any of us that would sit in his lap (my baby brother Matthew in particular loved this). Big Sunday brunches and evening cookouts... there was almost no better house to be at in the summer time.

5: Wheels, wheels, and more wheels.
Weather it was my younger beginnings on roller skates, my teen years spent on roller blades or the constant bicycle that I rode seemingly everywhere, summer riding around was a lot more fun (and a lot easier without the spring snow melting or the wet clumps of fall leaves!)

4: Fresh blackberries.
Our backyard growing up was fenced in on 3 sides. The western side of the fence was home to blackberry bushes. The first week or so of July always brought around a lovely harvest of blackberries. We would pick the berries on our side of the fence, and our neighbors got a good share of berries on their side too. The berries never last long, so they were never made into pie or jam... berries were best eating by the hand fulls (and often right off the branch!)

3: Sleep overs.
There was a time in my teens where almost every night of summer it seemed like I had friends over to spend the night, or I was off spending the nights at my friends homes. Living in a home with just my dad and brothers, I really valued the girly time I got to have with my girl friends.

2: Sleeping in!
Self explanatory, no? As a night owl, watching at the crack of dawn has never been my strong suit (which is why I've always tried to have evenings or overnight jobs). I'm just not wired that way to be up with the birds. Summer time sleeping in was also the best.

1: Time spent at Vince's Park.
Growing up my dad would often take my brothers and I to spend our late afternoon and evenings swimming at the park the company he worked for own. It had a huge pool, with lap lanes, a diving section and a kiddie area. I would live in that pool as much as I could in the summer. I'm a regular fish out of water. Maybe it's the Pisces in me. Then there was also a snack bar with all the summer favorites (hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, slushies, soda, popcorn, etc..). There was a mini golf course, and a small playground. Baseball fields and covered pavilions. The park was host to the annual company picnic (also a good day there!) and one week a summer there was swim lessons for the kids. I couldn't think of a single place I spent more time at during the summer as a kid growing up.
The company no longer owns the park, it is a town park open to all town residents now, but it's still holds a special place in my heart.

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  1. Sleeping in. Yes! I am actually counting down the days now until my boys will be out for the summer next month and I will finally get to catch up on some much needed sleep!

  2. Mmmm....fresh blackberries! I loved having friends spend the night, too. Your post broke my heart, though, about the bullying; I think we all have felt the meanness of kids, albeit to varying degrees, and I wish we could shelter our young children from the taunts of others.