Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Memories (Jenny O'Connell)

What I loved:
  • waking up to the smell of fresh cut grass on Fridays (when the lawn guys came every week)
  • eating dinner in the screened in porch with my family (grilled chicken, corn on the cob and my mom's tuna and pasta salad)
  • going out for Carvel with my family after dinner (large chocolate cone with rainbow sprinkles)
  • sleeping with my bedroom windows open (or with the AC blaring on really hot humid nights)
  • reading books, lots of them (Norma Klein was my favorite author)
  • babysitting kids at our country club while the moms played tennis (the moms paid me to play with their kids in the pool and feed them ice cream - and they each paid me by the hour and I could watch at least six kids at a time!)
  • the sound of frogs ribbit-ing in the pond beside our house (even though I do not like frogs)
  • the sound of crickets at night (not a big fan of crickets either)
  • the smell of skunk (which is why I started my novel LOCAL GIRLS with this exact memory)
  • getting a paycheck (when I started having summer jobs)
  • spending my paycheck (mostly on clothes)
  • keg parties on the beach (and running away when we saw the flashing lights of a police car coming our way)
  • looking forward to school (around August, when the thought of a new school year was still exciting)
There are more specifics associated with each summer growing up (like spending a few weeks with my friend Carrie in the Hamptons and how we snuck out of our bedroom window every night and met a bunch of kids on the beach and stayed out until just before dawn). But when I think about my summers as a whole, it's the sounds and smells and feeling of contentment that were always consistent no matter how old I was. Now I look at that list and, except for the babysitting, keg parties and school, I still try to do all of those things every summer (well, I need a paycheck all year round now, but you get the idea).


  1. Those summer paychecks! New clothes were the best reason for having a summer job. Like you, frogs, crickets, and skunks abounded where I lived. There's no mistaking the smell of skunk.

  2. Ah, yes--by August, I was usually ready to go back to school, too...

  3. I love the sensory details here! I can relate to so much of this. And Norma Klein was my favorite too. Great post!