Over this past cold, rainy Memorial Day weekend, I was at the grocery store when I heard the small boy in front of me whine to his mom, “But when is it going to be summer?”
When indeed, we might all ask. Just when we thought we had made it through winter unscathed, spring came in packing a cold, wet punch. As I remembered all we would anticipate about summer in years gone by, I could sympathize with the young boy.
The thought of that last day of school approaching was intoxicating. So much to do; so much to see…where to begin! If I had to pick one thing that signaled the start of this wonderful season for me it was my father putting in the screens on our large front porch in Gary.
By modern standards, the porch was nothing fancy: a large padded glider, a couple of comfy rockers, a braided rug and a cozy corner for my toys. Of course there were no cell phones or iPads in those days. I don’t even think we had a radio on that porch. The familiar sounds of a sunny day or the soft night noises were music enough.
My family put in a lot of miles rocking and gliding on the porch. Each year, as summer approaches, for me, that memory is always associated with the season to come. What special memories does the coming of summer trigger for you?
Calvin D’Orio, Hammond: I grew up during the polio epidemic in the ‘50s. Parents were so panicked and grasped at any theory on how to prevent the disease in children. Someone told my mother not to let us go barefoot until the temperature reached 80 or above, so, for me and my brothers, the official start of summer was when we were finally allowed to go barefoot in the yard. The memory of how that fresh grass felt is still a good one for me.
Gretchen Murphy, Crown Point: We never took fancy vacations when I was small simply because we never had a lot of money. Our favorite summer treat was that every Sunday, our dad would have us pile in the car. He’d roll down all the windows and take us for a long drive in the country. Living in the city, that warm, sweet summer air felt amazing. On the way back, we’d stop for ice cream cones and licked our way home. Great memory!
Mary Fragas, Schererville: My sister Susan and I had a summer ritual. On the last day of school we would ceremoniously walk our alarm clock over the dresser and dump it in the bottom drawer. Summer meant sleeping in. Funny how we never did. There was too much summer fun to be had.
Nina Austin, Highland: Our beginning of summer was signaled by the filling of our wading pool. No in-ground pools in our neighborhood back then, so all the kids would come over with their towels, waiting their turn. Once my mom came out and saw us packed in so tight all we could do was sit shoulder to shoulder with our knees up. She just shook her head and went back into the house. It never occurred to us to ask for a bigger pool.