Thursday, June 18, 2009
It really is hard to pinpoint one favorite summer vacation that I enjoyed. I think if you asked any child who just spent 10 months sitting in a classroom, they would say that every summer would be their favorite. Looking back on the many summers I spent during my childhood, I can say that one regret I have for children today is that they really don’t know the true joys of summer. Today, everything has to be scheduled – from “play dates”, to camp (and now it is just not any camp, there are sports camps, dance camps, space camps, etc) nothing of which allows a child to use their own imagination. Fortunately for most of us in our generation, summer was a time to explore, learn new adventures, swim in our own backyard pool, daydream – all of which our imaginations were put to the test to learn more about life, nature and ourselves. What a shame that children today cannot experience these silent pleasures that a summer brings to life.
I remember when I was young, waking up about 6am with the sun just coming up in the East, I would quietly to next door to meet my best friend, Taffy. We would go out and get lost in whatever adventure we might find until our parents would call us in for breakfast. We would catch tadpoles in the stream (which were never welcomed in my home); climb on the rocks and each day our imaginations would take us to many different places. Taffy’s family owned a huge summer home in Branford, CT, which was one block from the beach. I think those were my favorite summers as I would stay with them most of the summer for as long as I can ever remember. We could walk down to the water and dive off the rocks – who cared if there were jellyfish in the waters – we would just swim around them. Her older brother who might have been about 13 at the time, would take us out on his sailfish or rowboat, and take us far out into the sound where we would fish or just try to catch the fish in our hands. We would climb the highest tree we could find until someone finally came to get us down; ride our bikes to explore many places unknown. As the day began to wind down, dinner was always something special. As Taffy and I sat in the beautiful sunlit dining room of their summer home, we would be eating the most delicious summer vegetables from our garden that we had just picked that day. There is not a summer that doesn’t go by that I don’t think of those adventurous summers spent in Branford, where a child could be a child. I tried to bring those adventures to my own children when they were young; as we would head up to Cape Cod for a few weeks each summer. I would have the car packed on the last day of school, and as they said goodbye to their friends, I would pick them up and off we would head to the Cape. Our friends we stayed with had no (and still don’t) have aTV, radio, etc. So each day they would be out early in the morning planting bulbs and seeds in the garden. One summer they even planted clam seedlings in a bog in the bayside of the Cape. They would spend hours gathering little seashells then come home to wash and paint them. I truly admit that my summers were always something special to look forward to, and I am glad that my own children were able to have those same experiences of enjoying a summer vacation filled with imagination and memories.