Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Lovin' (Patty Blount)

As Kid Rock sings, we didn’t have no internet, and we didn’t have cell phones when I was a teenager. Summer was all about hanging out. In real life. I had circles of friends. Friends from the neighborhood, friends from school, friends that were my boyfriend’s age (he’s three years old and now my husband).

I grew up in Queens, New York, where trees were a relative scarcity and days felt endless. We didn’t have air conditioning. If it was unbearably hot, we took a bus to the beach or we walked to the movie theater and saw anything that was playing.

We walked everywhere we could. I had my license at sixteen, but that didn’t mean I had a car. To fill those long, lazy hours, we often rode bikes to a park, ate sandwiches packed into the basket on my bicycle, watched hot guys tossing around a ball or a Frisbee, and went home.

I used to babysit frequently. Some days, I’d take my little charges to the playground and we’d run through the sprinkler.On days it rained, we played hours of board or card games, sometimes making up our own rules. 

Some of the best days we had were the ones we coordinated like a black op. Trips to the beach were all-day affairs. One friend had a large car. Another had extra sand chairs. Boom box – can’t forget the music. Food. Is it me or does cold chicken eaten right out of a cooler on a beach just taste better than anywhere else?

Fourth of July was The Big Event every year. My grandparents always had a big event because it was their anniversary. They’d had a boat docked at the College Point Yacht Club for many years and we’d head out on the water, anchor to a group of other boats in some cove, spend the day climbing from boat to boat to sample food, waiting for the damn sun to set already so the real show could start. We’d sit on the deck - didn’t matter where because every seat was the best. As the boats drifted around their anchors, we could see fireworks lighting up the sky for miles around.

Being with friends was cool but sometimes, I just wanted to be alone in the shade with a really good book so I could escape from my hugely annoying sister or my parents, always arguing (who would divorce when I was twenty). I read the VC Andrews books in the shade cast between two garden apartment buildings, sitting on a wall that led to the garages under one of them. I read Judy Blume at the bus stop on Francis Lewis Boulevard, a tiny triangle of concrete lined with trees to shade me from the hot sun and a constant breeze from the traffic whizzing by. Not that I noticed.

My first date, my first boyfriend, my first kiss all happened in July. When we were kids, we hated when July ended because August meant it was time to think about school. Funny, I can't remember any of us ever complaining we were bored or hot. 

We knew July would be over soon. 




4 comments:

  1. What a blast from the past--no air conditioning and board games and card games on rainy days. And I too read the collected works of VC Andrews. Good times.

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  2. *hangs head* That was supposed to read "He's three years OLDER" not three years old.

    Thanks for letting me take over your blog today :)

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  3. Ah, yes. I've never been bored a day in my life. I don't understand it...

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  4. beautiful post....i loved reading your summer memory postcards. Growing up in Miami, I also watched fireworks from the boat docks!

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