When I was young, the summer time was my favorite time of year. To me, summer ment freedom, family, and fun. Now most people hear the words freedom and summer and they think of the forth of July. I say freedom because summer was a much needed break from school. Schools was not a pleasant place for me. I was always picked on heavily by teachers. So summer was a greatly needed break to recover, and rebuild my self esteem.
The family part comes in mostly because that’s when I saw them the most. My mother was a chicago public school teacher. Summer was supposed to be her break too. Sometimes if we needed money she taught summer school, but she rarely did. So when the summer came, I got my mommy back. During the school year she was so wrapped up in other people’s kids I used to feel like an after thought. During the school year she would stay at work well after all the other teachers had went home. She would pretty much stay until the buildings closed. During the summer my mom became a mom again. She would cook food from scratch, bake, buy us Popsicles take us anywhere we wanted to go. She would watch over us from the porch as we rode our bikes in the sun with our friends making sure nothing bad happens to us. She would plan block club parties while hanging out gossiping with all the other Mommy’s.
When she wasn’t teaching summer school she was free to go on vacations. So my father and mother would plan trips to Wisconsin dells and Disney World. They would take us to the beach almost every weekend, or a museum. We would go to the taste of Chicago and watch the fireworks. We would get ice cream at McDonald’s and drive around in Beverly trying to find a new house.
When she was teaching summer school and we didn’t go to church camp with my dad’s family, Chicago State University was our playground. We took ballet lessons, swimming lessons, tennis lesson, piano lessons and voice lesson. My sister also did modeling and science some summers. We had piano recitals at the museum of science and industry. One summer, my cousin Martha came to stay after college and it felt like having a second big sister. Even though she seemed bossy she watched over me and made sure I did what was right.
When I was very small before all my uncles died, summers was spent visiting and barbecuing. I remember my uncle Joe and Robert used to show me how to make things from found objects. We would walk around for hours in the neighborhood walking my dog picking up discarded popsicle sticks till they filled a small grocery bag. Then we would take them home to clean them. After they were dry we would build things with them with glue and ingenuity. We made log cabins and towers. Just about anything the imagination could think of.
Summers meant I got to see my cousins Rocky, Ray Ray,and Robin more. I looked up to them so much, every visit felt like they brought a little more excitement every time. It also meant that I had to go to camp at my family church. Even though I always felt alone and left out surrounded by so many people and family at KOK, I always had my uncle Jessie looking out for me across the street. I can always see him and aunt Florence in the window watching. And if I needed them all I had to do was cross the street.
The fun came in with all of my friends. When I was little there was so many kids on the block we felt like a small army. Most of the kids were my sisters age or older. There’s a small few that was my age. If I didn’t have anyone to play with on the block I still had my best friend Stephanie from school who would ride her bike all the way to my house (without permission from her mom) and play all day with me. I hung out at my friend Heather’s house and we would play Barbie dolls with our friend Page. Our big sisters would start water fights with the boys and we would spend all day filling up buckets and water guns to help the resistance. We were lookouts, tattletales, and Double dutch competition judges. We cuaught tadpoles in the whole and walked the Indian Trail. We road our bikes to the candy store and get pickles with peppermint sticks in the middle.
We had sleepovers and stayed up all night catching lightning bugs in pickle jars. We woke up in the morning and went back outside and didn’t come back till the street lights was on.
Now that I’m an adult and I really don’t get to do anything but work for the summer I look back on all these things with fondness. A lot of people I mentioned have passed away. Like my uncles, aunt, my cousin Martha, and my friend Heather. I think on these memories and think of them.