Three things come to mind when I think of my childhood summers.
Camp. Cherries. And our pool club.
Did you go to summer camp when you were a child?
Me? Not really. Well, I went to camp, but not the sleep-in-a-tent, make-arts-and-crafts, play-dodgeball all day kind where you eat in a mess hall and are probably situated next to a lake.
I did the sports camps-- swimming and softball to be exact. They were both week-long sleepover camps, but they were at a college, so we slept in the dorms, ate in the cafeteria, and spent the day doing drills and clinics to become better athletes.
I remember really enjoying them. But I certainly wouldn't say they were "summer camp".
I did do a few day camps, where my mom would drop me off in the morning and pick me up in the afternoon. Those days consisted more of the campy activities you would think of when thinking about camp. Swimming, crafts, volleyball, ice cream cones-- ahhhh. Yes.
Those were the days.
On the days that we were home, my siblings and I were probably in the front yard selling cherries.
My parents had a huge cherry tree in our front yard that grew bing cherries-- the dark, sweet, delicious kind. We used to spend hours picking and selling them in our front yard.
One summer, our goal was to raise enough money to buy our first Nintendo. My parents told us that if we raised enough money, they would take us down to the toy store to buy it.
It wasn't that they couldn't afford to buy us the Nintendo themselves. I grew up in a comfortable household. But my parents started teaching us at a young age that you can't rely on things just being handed to you. It takes hard work, which will eventually pay off if you really put your mind to it.
So we set about picking cherries, setting up our stand, making signs, and selling those cherries. And you better believe, the minute we had enough money for that console, we closed up shop and went straight down to Toy Works to purchase our prize.
I'll tell you- earning that video game console was much more rewarding than just having it given to us.
Sadly, that tree blew over in a wind storm about 5 or 6 years ago. I still miss it. And I still often think of the summer of our first Nintendo.
But the thing I remember most about summers as a kid was our pool club.
The place I learned to swim. The place I met some of my oldest childhood friends. The place we would spend all day, everyday in bathing suits, swimming, grilling, and playing shuffleboard, boccie, paddleball, volleyball-- you name it.
Our lunches came out of a cooler, and my mom would set up shop at a picnic table for the day, with sunscreen, snacks, and magazines at hand.
Man, I miss those days.
Sometimes I wonder why I was always in such a hurry to grow up.
Summers now consist of a few precious days off to go to the beach, in between working, and doing all the other grown up things that come along with supporting myself.
What I wouldn't give to be able to go back to that pool club all day, everyday, and lounge in one of the chaise chairs by the pool, play shuffleboard, swim, and eat a turkey sandwich out of my mom's cooler.
And hey-- now I'm even old enough to stay in the pool during "adult swim" time!
What do you remember most about your childhood summers? Do you ever wish you can turn back time and relive them all over again?