Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Child's Memories of Summer

Most of my fondest childhood memories revolve around the days of summer. Actually, when I even think of childhood, in the most non-specific ways possible, I think of summer. And they’re not those blazing bright, hot, uncomfortable memories, but the sepia-tinted, lazy-afternoon visions of brown cedar lakes and floating docks, terrycloth shorts and ice cream cakes, Star Wars trading cards and the mall bookstore, the smells of sunscreen and ocean sand, and grilled onions on the hotdogs from the wooden hut on the beach.

I’m not sure if summer was ever really completely like this, or if my rosy view has somehow evolved from wishful thinking, now that I’m so far removed from that time. Either way, wishful thinking doesn’t stop me from hoping I can recapture some of that now that I have a young child.

This weekend was a visit back to my South Jersey summers. We drove up to stay with my parents on the family farm my grandparents owned and lived on from the time I was 5 years old. My parents took over it when my grandfather passed away when I was in high school. The landscape and the house have changed pretty dramatically from that time, but they remain a bucolic utopia, unspoiled by suburban sprawl. Some other family members, some family friends, and three of my best high school buddies gathered with us on Saturday evening for a cookout with lots of gabbing and catching up. Samantha wasn’t too impressed by the fare, and, after picking at a hot dog, preferred to play with her toys in the house. Steve was only too happy to indulge her, not being a fan of heat or bugs, both of which were omnipresent outside. My friends and I talked about anything and everything, going with the natural flow of random conversation. I love having friends that remain so constant, over nearly 3 decades. Friends who don’t judge, who are happy to pick up where you left off when time gets away from you. I just wish we had had more time together.

Sunday was pre-determined to be a beach day. Okay, pre-determined by me. I was going to go to the beach come hell or high water, and was thrilled that my folks were on board with it and joined us. Samantha has been to the ocean a few times, but usually in the off-season, when staying and playing or going in the water was not an option. This time we came prepared to spend a few hours. It may as well have been a mere 10 minutes, from the way Samantha enjoyed herself, endlessly entertained by the sand and the water, going from shovel and bucket to shells and seaweed (“I got it! Ewwwww, gross!”), back and forth, purposefully dirtying her little hands so she could run to the water with an exaggerated, “Oh no! Hands dirty!” to rinse them off and start the process again. The day was capped off by a quick trip to a playground, pizza delivery and a drive to the local custard stand, tracking tenacious grains of sand with us wherever we went. I had forgotten how much I love South Jersey in the summer. We’ll be paying a longer visit to the beach in September, and I’ll be making a list of all the other memories I want to make then.

(By the way, the pics below are not watermarked.  I'm still trying to decide what to use and wanted to post these quickly without too much effort today.  I figure the thieves already stole plenty, a few more probably won't make much of a difference right now...)

10 comments:

stephanie said...

They sound like beautiful memories and probably were just as enchanting as you remember. beautiful pics!

And is the custard place, Rita's by any chance? i have a friend who moved here from NJ and was so excited when a Rita's opened up. Said they have the best custard. i haven't tried it yet.

Cammie Heflin said...

She is soo cute!!! Summer is so fun!

Lacey said...

Sounds like the perfect summer to me!

Kacey Bode said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!! Sammi is just so beautiful, I LOVE that first picture of her!!

Kelli said...

Sounds like so much fun! What part of NJ were you in? I live 5 miles from the beach, but I guess I would consider it more Central Jersey...I live near Point Pleasant.

Loved the pictures!

Jenny said...

The best of two worlds...farms and beaches!! Samantha is a lucky girl! Great pictures!

Renee said...

Such gorgeous pictures! It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend.

I think most of my childhood memories are related to summer also. Maybe because it is favorite season.

Tausha said...

She is so dang cute!! Love the new pictures.

Stephanie said...

Sounds like the perfect summer weekend to me!

Michelle said...

She is so beautiful.