Memories of Summer
I have a picture that is faded now. Its black and white image is weaker than it once was, and the edges are a bit frayed.
I'm guessing it's around 1978.
I'm lying on my stomach on a beach towel, spread out under the big tree in the front yard of my childhood home.
My arms are stretched out up over my head, shielding my face from the sun. My eyes are closed, and my long blonde hair is splayed out all over the top of the towel. (My hair has always been wavy and unruly, but I'd hazard a guess that it was probably at its unruliest during that time of my life.)
I'm wearing something very seventies--a one piece short set made of lightweight denim. And even though the picture doesn't show it, if I remember correctly the set had back pockets with a mushroom (or was it roller skates?) embroidered on them.
And next to me on the beach towel? A book, opened somewhere close to the middle, and lying stretched out next to the crook of my folded arm. Again, I can't see what the book is, but I can imagine what it might have been. Nancy Drew, or The Black Stallion, or Encyclopedia Brown.
There, on that beach towel...in the middle of the day...in the middle of June...in a small town in Arkansas...
is a moment that captures what Summer has always meant to me...
Me and a book.
There are other photographs that capture other special, Summer moments.
There's one of me waiting for the Ice Cream Man and my favorite cherry popsicles. And there's another of me doing a cartwheel on Padre Island when I was 13 (the first time I ever saw the sand and the sea). And there's another of my brother, dressed up like The Flash, jumping from our tree house in the backyard. And there's another (a "classic" that even made it into the local paper) of me jumping with abandon through a wide-open sprinkler.
And there are other Summer memories that only reside in my mind (because, even though I had a professional photographer for a Dad, he didn't capture every moment)...biking endlessly through the neighborhood, roller skating to "Xanadu" in our garage, having a lemonade stand with my best friends, taking all of my Barbies out under that same front yard tree and recreating Barbie World right then and there.
Summer was wonderful...the truly halcyon days of my youth (as a Southern girl, my best memories of course involve heat and sun and summer; no great snow memories for me!).
And I'm so glad it's here once again, for the fortieth time in my life.
And I'm so glad it's here for my girls...and that it will include for them, as it did for me, lemonade and sprinklers and the beach and books.