GoLocalProv | What did summer mean?
Monday July 19, 2021
There are so many good things about the summer season, one that I have loved since I was young. The sun shines brightly during the day (well… most days), and the clear night sky is filled with stars and planets with the moon as the butler. It is amazing, peaceful, pleasant and relaxing.
One summer evening in my childhood, Dad might have been listening to a Red Sox game, his ear stroking the radio; people were out on their porches, chatting quietly in rhythm while avoiding the heat of a small apartment building, or I was just lying in my bed thinking about tomorrow.
It was the most entertaining season for us kids, making the most of it because there was no school for two months, no getting up early, no homework, although towards the end of the school year. summer many of us had pencil boxes packed and ready for our return to school.
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It was my favorite season because the weather allowed for outdoor activities with little fuss (no coats, snowshoes, gloves, scarves). In our safe neighborhood, we were free to do almost anything we wanted, within reason, of course. The only break was lunch to fill our growling stomachs, and the only curfew was after supper, “Come home when the street lights go on.”
The long vacations were a chance to have fun with little to think about other than swimming, street games, kite flying, baseball, summer shore, outdoor movies, creme ice cream, lemonade popsicles, cicadas, fireflies, carnival and more. The heat was our ticket to jumping in a pool, drinking an ice cold Nehi orange soda or sucking on a popsicle.
I woke up to the sun shining in my room, the chirping of birds, the chirping of grandfather working in his garden, the scent of vines and apple trees right under my window. I thought of the hot and juicy tomatoes from this garden, ready to be picked, salted and nibbled.
But what I enjoyed the most were the days my parents rented a house in Narragansett, RI shore. Waking up to the sound of lapping waves and calm days with clear blue skies, we walked to the cool ocean, the warm sand beneath our feet. It was time to relax with friends and family at the beach then to dine on the deck at the end of the day, after a cold shower with ivory soap and then to put on a cozy sweatshirt.
I now know how lucky I was and today I realize it even more. There seemed to be decency and civility in our lives. . . little rage, no fury, almost no anger, no shootings. Our hard-working grandparents and parents gave us a link to happiness and opportunity, and we celebrated it.
From the immigrants to our shores, my grandparents among them, came optimism, a future, a nation that seemed united, reflected perhaps in the simplicity of a summer day’s delight.
Summer meant being who we wanted, when we wanted and with time to enjoy it all.
Dr. Ed Iannuccilli is the author of three popular memoirs, “Growing Up in Italian; Grandpa’s Fig Tree and Other Stories ”,“ What Happened to Sunday Dinner ”and“ My Story Continues: From Neighborhood to Junior High ”. Find out more here.