Thursday, June 04, 2009

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 the middle of the the middle of 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.


Laura said...

"Xanadu!" Now THERE'S a word (song) that I haven't heard in a while!

Lynilu said...

Aren't those old photos just the best things to find? The memories one slightly blurry or fading or creased B&W snapshot can evoke are wonderful! And your word picture is excellent. :) I can see it!

Cheryl Wray said...

Laura--I loved the Xanadu soundtrack. I skated to that thing all Summer long!

Lynilu--I may have to actually scan the pictures and share them on here sometime. Photos are one of my very favorite things in the world!!!

Stacy said...

loved xanadu and roller skates i could moonwalk in those things lol i dont think they left my feet long and you know i cant rollerblade to save my life ha!!! barbies in the front yard in the grass always did that too

camport said...

I'm going to come back and re-read you post on the next sunny day. It's pouring today and the feeling of summer that your post just gave me is wasted. I just want to grab a towel and hit the beach!! Great post.


Cheryl Wray said...

Stacy--I love that we have some of the same memories. I LOVED Barbies!

Camport--LOL Sorry it's rainy and yucky there... it's actually cloudy outside right now too. Hoping it clears off for a pretty day soon!

Marjolein said...

Ooooh memories... Xanadu.... books..... laying on the beach...I still read books at 44. And love to do it on the deck, and I also am so glad summer finally is here after a long long winter!

Anonymous said...

What wonderful memories you reminded us all of.

And Im so glad summer is here too.

Shabby Chic Crafts said...

How did i ever lose your blog? I know how, my computer with a list of fav blogs died. That's how!

So glad I found you through Leah Wrights blog roll. eeekkk!!!


Gretchen said...

Ah...summer. Sounds like you're already enjoying yours.

And don't forget about Cherry Ames, student nurse. ;)

scrappermimi said...

That is one of the best descriptions of summer I have ever heard...I am so ready now!



Padre Island? OMG....that was the first time I'd seen the beach too!! Wonder if we were ever there at the same time!!?!
I totally love your visionof summer-- well said.

Gin said...

Oh, cheryl, this is so wonderful. I loved this post.

Now I am ready for summer to get here.

Kelly said...

I love summer, too. And I remember camping in the tent in your back yard and telling scary stories with the flashlight pointing up our faces. And your mom making homemade donuts for breakfast.

sa said...