I decided to take you all on a journey of my summer adventures and memories from an older gal who was born in the early 1950’s. Are you ready?
I was born in the northern part of New Jersey, USA to two parents and an older brother by three years. I do not remember that town or house because we moved when I was toddling to what Jersey-ites refer to as – The Shore.
We moved into a starter neighborhood – small and simple ranch style homes for those just starting out in the world of home ownership. I wonder if my mom thought she would spend the rest of her life in that home and neighborhood.
It was a great place to grow up. Neighbors were friendly and life was simple. Unfortunately for us, we experienced a tragedy when I was four-ish. My dad had been ill and passed away that summer. The photos I have prior to his death were all smiles and good times. After, such sad faces. It was hard on my brothers and I (we had a little brother after moving to this home, four years younger than me) and of course, my mom. She found herself widowed very young and with three children and no close family near by.
But prior to the sadness, summers were awesome. As I said before, I was quite young and memories of the beginnings of this new neighborhood were by photos and some in my own head. I remember everyone talking about a mustard colored house. French’s color of mustard. It was closer to the shore and I know we had a small boat that we would take out crabbing while staying in that little house. I do remember being clothed in a life jacket and sitting in the boat with a basket or two and being told to, “Wave to the mustard colored house” as we sped by. I remember bringing crabs back and mom having a pot of water hot and ready to toss them in. Yum
Life went on. Summer time meant that my older brother and I got to go across the street and slip into the woods behind our friend’s house. The Woods! Oh how I loved to play there. There was a creek that meandered through and was shallow enough to wade in the cool clear waters. I remember trails and trees that became my home away from home. I remember going through to the other side and coming out in tall grass that was named – “The Parkway Grass”. It got it’s name because it ran along a small hill aside the Garden State Parkway (a toll road that ran the length of New Jersey). There we could sit in the grass and not be seen. There we could run and trip on a rock that was actually a box turtle that we always took home to feed and cared for. Poor turtles.
I can still clearly picture The Woods in my mind. One of the best things about it was that we rarely ran into another person. I remember only once seeing a man walking on our trails in our Woods! My mom had no reason to worry about us being in there all day. Year after year. We came running when we heard her clapping her hands for us to come home.
So, this weekend is known as Memorial Day Weekend. Memorial Day falls on Monday – always the last full weekend in May. It is a day to honor and remember those who served and are serving in our Armed Forces. But it also marks the official opening of SUMMER! Pools open, beaches open, sales happen! Barbecues are fired up. Ahh. Summer.
Once I started school my life revolved around summer vacations. We were out of school from sometime in June until early September. Beach time, woods time, baseball in the backyard and cookouts and s’mores!
As I grew and became a parent, again my year schedule revolved around summer vacation. Four kids later and then some in college – summer vacation. Living in a tourist, beach town – summer vacation. And now, watching grand daughters while parents go to University – summer vacation! I love it.
I will end this segment here. Next time I want to talk about the traditions of dress codes drilled into my northeastern upbringing that took me a very long time to break.
Until then, enjoy your first weekend of summer. And PLEASE do remember our servicemen and women, those before and those now. I am grateful to them for protecting our nation and serving us and sacrificing so well.
Here is my mom and my brother and me – the cute little one – on the beach prior to our move there.