Sunday, July 14, 2013
Some of My Summer Memories
Growing up in the fifties, I remember that we had some very hot summers. Air Conditioning didn't exist yet, but we had fans in all of the windows. One side taking the hot air out and the other pushing cold air in - supposedly it was suppose to make the rooms cooler, It never felt cool to me. I can still feel the sweat pouring down my face and soaking through my shirt, how I hated that feeling, still do to this day, but it does not happen that often anymore thankfully
I spent most of my summer days at Glassport Swimming Pool, every afternoon I would walk from my home to the pool and meet my friends. We never made plans to meet, it was just a given that we would be there. I was not the greatest swimmer, but I would go off the dive and stay in the deep part of the pool playing Tag. One time I was swimming under water and had just about run out of holding my breath, I tried to surface, but there was another swimmer on top of where I was about to come up. I didn't panic - but just held my breath a little longer till I found a opening. As soon as I broke to the surface I was tagged. And here I thought I was being so clever by hiding under water.
As the years went by I became a teenager, and I was still going to the pool, but now instead of spending most of our time in the water, my friends and I would lay out on our towels getting some rays, listening to the music coming through the loudspeakers. Two songs I remember quite well, and are my favorites to this day are "What A Difference A Day Makes" by Diana Washington, and "There Were Bells On The Hills" , I forget who sang this song. I can still remember hearing the kids laughter and the sounds of them splashing in the pool as I lay on my towel with my eyes closed.
My friends and I didn't have a care in the world back then, just the sheer joy of being kids, growing into teenagers, and enjoying the lazy hazy days of summer.
As a teenager I remember being on a picnic with my parents, Ron, and my mother's siblings, along with my grandmother. We were at Keystone State Park, my Uncle was in charge of grilling the steaks on the grill. My one aunt always rubbed him the wrong way, and she must of said something to him that day that rubbed him the wrong way , because he over peppered all of the steaks on purpose. He wanted to make sure her steak was ruined, but so was all of ours. What a waste of money. and no on was a happy camper.
They never did get along, he passed away first without them ever making amends. The cousins speak but it is not a close relationship.
Growing up I didn't know that families went on vacation together. I didn't even know vacations existed. My family never went on a vacation.. The only place we went together was to my grandparents home for the weekend in Forbes Road. My parents went away for a few weekends, but my brother and I stayed with my grandmother. In fact I truly don't know if my dad or mom ever saw the ocean or walked holding hands with their feet in the sand.
The very first time on vacation that I ever went on vacation, was with Ron's family. We went to Wildwood New Jersey. It was the first time I saw the ocean and to say I fell in love immediately would be an understatement. The overwhelming feeling of seeing the ocean for the first time is indescribable. I never imagined how vast it would be, how awesome to see waves building up far out and to see and hear them come crashing on to shore. The feeling of being unbalanced while I stood with my eyes closed and the waves flowing over my feet, sometimes hard enough that I almost fell over. Collecting seashells was fun, trying to find big ones and unbroken ones to take home as souvenirs, I was told to watch out for jellyfish as they could really sting, that was an adventure in itself, since I didn't know what a jelly fish looked like.
Wildwood had an amusement park, and in the evening Ron and I would stroll the boardwalk stopping at this one pizza place every night, one place we thought special was a little coffee place. It was so quaint and had special packages of sugar that we kept so we could remember the place. I imagine it is stored away in a box someplace in this home.
It was a magical time for us, being on vacation together. Ron's parents had rented a small cottage for the week close by to the ocean. I had my own bedroom while Ron and his brothers slept in another room and his parents in yet another room. It had a nice size kitchen where Ron's mother made a delicious breakfast every morning and dinner at night. I wish that I could have shared an experience like that with my own parents and brother.
When our family was young we would vacation at Ron's brother's home. He lived on 22 acres of ground with two ponds on the property. They always welcomed us and treated us so special. Many times we would see bears really close to his porch. One time my brother and our close friend drove up to surprise us. We were so happy to hear they were staying for the weekend.
Dinner was always a fun time no matter what we had to eat, it was sharing the time with the ones we loved that made it fun. After dinner towards evening, we would burn the cobs from the corn we had for dinner in the burn barrel. We knew that bears came on the property but not real close, this one time the smell lured the bears really close, so close that they were by the front porch of the home/cabin. We watched the bears from the windows of the living room, the windows were from celling to floor and would not have stopped the bears from coming in if they so desired. My brother was so nervous, and so was I, but the rest of the crew all took it in stride as we watched the bears climb on one car and then another. They could not get to the burn barrel because it was still very hot, so they eventually lumbered away.
We slept on the living room floor and my brother would not sleep near the windows or door because of the bears. It was an exciting time for us and I'm sure for my brother. There were so many wonderful memories made there. It wasn't funny at the time, but Ron's brother would always get so upset when someone would flush the toilet and not need to. The saying was if its yellow let it be, if its brown flush it. Us city folks couldn't remember that and oh my would the swearing start, I know it had something to do with the septic tank and the well and the water flow, I couldn't understand it at the time, and still don't really. But looking back on it now, it was a part of the way they lived being out in the country.
To my grandchildren and great grandchildren so you can know a little about our growing years. There will be more stories to follow these, but at another post. I think this is enough to absorb right now.
Hope you all enjoyed reading it as I did remembering and writing about it.