|Me (the tall kid in the middle with legs crossed) with my friends Billy Smith, Pee Wee Mack, Chubby Shores and my brother Isasc (with the baseball mitt) at 120 Washington Avenue. Downingtown, PA 1951|
This is my favorite time of year, summertime. My second favorite time of year is fall but my all time favorite time is summertime.
The hot, long day of summer remind me of growing up on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, PA in the Fifties. Like most families, mine was very poor although we didn't think all that much about it at that time. We were too busy having fun with the other kids on our block.
|Me (the big kid holding a grasshopper in my finger near my eye) and my brothers John and Isaac and some other kids from the block - we were ready for our big adventure of the day|
Summer always seemed to go by so fast. From the first daylight we would bust out of our apartment to meet with our playmates who lived in the other apartments and houses nearby. We always had something to do. We were never bored.
Too soon summer was over and we were headed back to school. I remember the smell of our new school clothes that my Mother would order from Montgomery Ward. No more long days, no more playing hide and seek, no more exploring around the railroad yard behind our house. No more long bike trips to nowhere. No more exploring abandoned farm house.
Every now and then I got real lucky and was asked to spend a couple of weeks at a farm or house "out in the country." Those trips for me were better than a visit to Disneyland!
|My Mom with me (she has her hand on my neck) and my brothers Isaac and John and my step aunt Mary (long black coat) and my Mother's half sister Ruthie (squatting) at their place in Compass, PA - 1948|
My Mother's step-sister, Aunt Mary, and step-mother (Margaret - I was always afraid of her.) lived in a house in Compass, PA. The house didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing but that wasn't a concern of this 10 year old who was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks of summer "in the country." I loved it! I remember the smell of the county being so different from the smell of Washington Avenue.
|Me and my baby brother John in front of Aunt Mary's bathroom (a working outhouse) -1949|
A couple of times I was asked to go to the Vances farm. George and Mildred Vance was the brother-in-law and sister of my Aunt Margaret who lived in the apartment above us on Washington Avenue. They had two children, a son called "Duckie" and a daughter (Peggy). Duckie was my age. I was asked to visit them to keep Duckie company. His family lived on a real farm. They had a barn with a hay loft. Lots of pigs. It was so much fun to swill the pigs with garbage collected from nearby houses. I can still remember the happy squeals of the pigs as we dumped bucket fuels of stinky garbage in the pig troughs.
Another fun thing Duckie and I did was to play in the corn fields. We would crawl on our hands and knees through the dirt to create mazes. I'm surprised at myself now that I was that destructive of those corn fields. I have cornfields near me now and I would never do something like that. But when you're a 11 year old kid, you don't think of such things.
Another fun thing Duckie and I used to do was to go into the hayloft and jump into the piles of hay below. Oh what fun! I can still remember the smell of that dried hay. That to me is the smell of summer. At night we would catch lightening bugs and put them in a Mason jar.
Oh the wonderful times I had in summertime when I was a kid. We didn't have any money but that didn't seem to matter. Once in a while we would get a treat to a Tastee Freeze, which today is known as soft ice cream. My father would pile me and my brothers in the back of his pickup truck and we were off to the Tastee Freeze stand in Thorndale, PA. Every now and then I would get a root beer float. Delicious! The taste of summer.
|One of my favorite pictures - me and my brothers (and our dog Sam) at the Old Swimming Hole - again I'm the Big Kid on the right - 1952|
Another really favorite treat was when my father would load us up in the car (or pickup truck) and take us to the Old Swimming Hole. Yep, we had our very own swimming hole. I don't know who liked that swimming hole more; me and my brothers or our Chesapeake Bay retriever dog Sam.
|Me talking to Sam while my brother Isaac looks on - check out that swimming suit, it was yellow! It got a lot of use at that swimming hole - 1952|
This was the only swimming me and my brothers ever did when we were growing up. We never set foot in a swimming pool or the ocean. The first time I got into a real swimming pool was when I was stationed at Ft. Meade, in Maryland in the early Sixties. I didn't see the ocean until I was twenty-two years old and Bill took me to Rehoboth Beach which is where I am now. Ironically since I moved down here in 2006, I have yet to put my foot in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean which is just a few feet away from the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, where I usually spend my time when I do go to the beach. Ah yes, my absolute favorite swimming days were back in the Fifties.
|A different swimming hole - we took a dip on a hot summer evening after picking a couple of buckets of raspberries for Mom - this was our treat - we all had ice cream cones after the swim - who needs a pool?|
Yes, summertime is the best time of the year.
|Me at summertime these days here in Delaware|