Monday, September 10, 2018


By Mary Kennedy                                   

If you're like me, you probably have lovely childhood memories of summer.  Certain "flashbulb moments" that put you right back in the scene--a trip to the beach, a backyard barbecue, fireworks on the Fourth of July with an "American flag cake." 

Summer seemed to stretch out forever! School ended in late May or early June and September seemed light years away. There was no hurry to enjoy summer's fun; the first few vacation days were often spent catching up with old friends and catching up on sleep.

But after a few days, summer began in earnest. 

I spent all my summers in Westchester, New York and a trip to the ocean (Rockaway or Jones Beach) was a must. Here's a vintage photo of Rockaway, and it brings back memories. Sometimes we could hardly find a spot to put down a towel!
The ocean was always freezing and tended to be rough. I learned to swim at Rockaway (yes, in spite of the powerful undertow) because my father insisted "if you can swim at Rockaway, you can swim anywhere." 

Another must was a trip to Playland--funny how when you're young, you relish the idea of being terrified!   I preferred the tamer ferris wheel and merry-go-round to the roller coaster rides.                                                       

A trip to Beacon on the Dayliner boat was the high point of my summer. It seemed so adventurous at the time! We brought a picnic lunch to eat at Bear Mountain and occasionally they had live music on the boat. To an eight year old, it was just as exciting as a transatlantic crossing!

Of course, the lazy summer days also provided plenty of time for reading. I made weekly trips to the library and read Anne of Green Gables, Albert Payson Terhune and Seven League Boots by Richard Halliburton. I wanted to visit all the exotic places he visited--to me, he was an earlier version of Anthony Bourdain!

How about you? Do you have childhood summer memories that have stayed with you over the years?
Please share them! 

Mary Kennedy

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