The official start of summer


1978 - Our Backyard


It’s a sunny, cool, Minnesota morning here on the front porch. The last day before the Memorial Day weekend, the official start of summer. Half of the population of the Twin Cities is either on the road north, or spent last night packing the car, and are sitting in the cubicles anxiously watching the clock waiting to get on the road. Not being cabin owners, or fishermen, the 20 Prospect clan will be hanging out in town like we always do. Our summer will begin the way that my summers always did as a kid. Flying the flag from the front porch, as we sit in a rocking chair, sipping lemonade and grilling sausages.

Hot dogs, baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet.

Back in Batavia, I know that people are hanging out their flags all up and down the length of Prospect Avenue. I miss that tree lined street of shady front porches. As much as I love our Minnesota home, these 1950’s Ramblers just don’t have the same romance as the old eclectic Queen Anne’s, and Four Square homes squatting cheek to jowl along the sidewalks. Those lilac scented streets basking in the first hints of summers humidity seemed full of the promise of lazy summer days. In a few short weeks school would be over, and the long empty expanse of summer would stretch before us with nothing to do but play baseball, ride bikes, and go for swims in the city pool. Hot, sticky, lemonade summer. Time for jean shorts, t-shirts, and rubber toed Keds scuffling through the gravel driveway. I would sell my soul for another one of those summers right now.

Instead, I will watch it through the eyes of 20 Prospect Jr., and Lil’ Miss 20 Prospect. Less than 2 weeks of school left before they escape for the summer. Ten and Eleven years old, these are the golden years. There won’t be too many more childhood summers left before teenage hormones and worries start to press in on them. As a father, if I can give them nothing more than a safe space, and the freedom to enjoy these years, I have done my job.

Happy Memorial Day Prospecter’s, wherever you may be. I hope you find a little slice of peace.

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18 thoughts on “The official start of summer

  1. Memorial Day weekend always signaled the pool in the subdivision, where we’d spend ever waking moment the lifeguards would allow, swimming, boy-watching and baking in the sun until we were so brown people would speak Spanish to us!

    Ok, that last part was just me, but still!

      • ahh… youth… I used to bake to a delicious golden brown by about the 2nd week of June. Of course, we didn’t have Hispanics in Western New York back then, except for the migrant workers picking onions on the muck. So people just assumed I was another Paisano.

  2. Also, I will be warring against the mighty louse this entire weekend. I’ve burnt all my furniture and shaved the kids heads. All that’s left is a kitchen stove and one metal chair to sit on.

    • Well if that doesn’t work, you can always pull the chair up in front of the oven and try sticking your head inside. It won’t rid the house of vermin, but it’ll be someone else’s problem.

  3. There is one paradox that leaves me perplexed — as a child, summer lasted nearly forever. As an adult, it’s over in a flash (even as a teacher who doesn’t “work” in the summer). It breaks my heart every year.

  4. Summer is not the same once you reach adulthood and have to work through it. Thankfully, there is the fact of being able to purchase good liquor without the assistance of an actual adult, to ease the pain.

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