June 21st, the longest day of the year. This day used to be my absolute favorite day of the whole summer as a kid. You could play outside until at least 9:00pm and it would still be light out. Nothing better. In my neon shorts with my matching neon t-shirt and neon sunglasses, bare feet and hardly combed hair.
We used to love to play outside. From sunup to sundown pretty much. We would make up all sorts of games. We would play house in the field by our house. We set up a racetrack that ran around our driveway, down to the end of the road and back. Sometimes we would just scream at the top of our lungs as loud as we could, just because we could since we were outside. I remember the day that Stephen, the neighbor boy, jumped off the top of the swingset and knocked himself out cold. He was never all that smart, but he would play with us everyday, pretty much. Pat and Chris would join in the fun, and sometimes even Kevin, but he usually was doing his own thing.
Most of these memories come from our house on Mt. View Drive. We moved there when I was six (I think) and didn't leave until I was past 16. We had a huge amount of land to play on. There were pear trees across the street that we would go and eat pears from in August. I remember one year we even canned them with Mom. Then we had pears all through the winter.
We had the most beautiful gardens on Mt. View Drive. The people who owned the house before us did a lot of it, but my parents worked hard every summer to keep it up. I remember the year that I grew sunflowers in the back by the fence at the end of the brick pathway my Dad put in. I was so proud that they grew taller than me. I remember when he built that pathway. I remember walking with him down to the end of the road with the wheelbarrow to get bricks and bring them back and helped him build it.
And I remember my Dad setting up an area for me to practice for track. He would race me, so that I would have someone to push me. I remember the year that I beat him, and for real beat him, not like he let me win. I think I was 10 or 11 at the time.
I remember the baseball diamond at the end of the street. They would have games there sometimes, but I mostly remember going down there with my Dad. He would pitch to me, and he would hit balls for me to field. He was always busy, but he would often drop whatever he was doing and play ball with me if I asked him to.
And I remember laying out on a blanket under the locust tree in the back with my Mom and sisters on summer afternoons. We would nap, or read a book, sometimes Mom would read to us. The smell of locust trees still remind me of that house and those times on the blanket under the tree.
I do have some memories from our house on Hallwood Court. The fun thing about living there was that there we tons of other kids to play with. And our backyard backed up to three other peoples backyards, none of whom had a fence. So it was like one HUGE backyard. And Jenny, who lived next door, had a play house, and a swingset. And we had a swingset and a sand box. And we lived on a court, so I could ride my bike all around without getting hit by a car or having to ride it over steps (like I had to at the townhouse before that).
I remember when Mom and Dad told me we were moving into a house, I told Dad I wanted a swingset and a sand box. He just looked at me and gave me a thumbs up. But then, when we moved in, we did get a swingset! With a slide and two swings and a set of rings. And I remember that a bunch of my uncles came to help my Dad put it up for us soon after we moved in. And I fell jumping rope that day and skinned my knee. I still have that scar. I got a popples bandaid to put on it. Which was very uncharacteristic for my family. We never had things like popples bandaids. I think that's why I remember it so well.
And I remember going to my Grandma's house for a week many summers. Since we lived so far away, it was a huge treat to get to stay with her for a whole week. She let us eat ice cream every night and she would always get us candy at the grocery store. There was an old chicken coup (which is no longer standing) that we used as a play house. Michelle and Greg and I would play house in there for hours on end. Using all sorts of things for furniture. You can find a lot of cool stuff on the farm. And there were horses, Paula would get them out and let us ride them most times. And we could feed them apples from the apple tree.
One of the things I remember most vividly about Grandma's house was how many lightning bugs there were. I mean, there were a TON! I think it must be too cold in Buffalo for lightning bugs, because there were never very many. I could spend hours catching them and putting them in a jar, just watching them light up.
And, we got to sleep on the mattress. In the living room. What a treat. Grandpa would usually fall asleep in his chair with the TV on, so we would sit up and watch TV until our little eyes couldn't stay open anymore.
I've been working at Children's hospital recently. It's been fun, but I think most importantly it has helped me to appreciate the childhood that I had. One Mom, one Dad who both loved us beyond anything that we could ever comprehend. There was never any pressure to do this or to do that. We were just allowed to be kids.
The older I get the more I appreciate my parents and all that they have done for me. I have so many happy memories of summer time, these are just a few. Happy Summer everyone:)