You are about to discover an abundance of summer memories, shared by 106 people who contributed sentences that manage to convey a story in just a few well-chosen words.
Some entries are unique to a particular person's experiences; others will seem so familiar you'll wonder if you wrote them yourself.
The beauty of a list like this is that we can find ourselves in other people's stories, or be transported out of ourselves by their words. These entries, taken together, create a compelling word-collage that captures the essence of summertime.
Start at the beginning and work your way through to the end; or jump around at random; or read a few entries a day for many days. Do whatever pleases you. It's summer! As one of the contributors writes: "I remember summer was a time of no rules."
Zee Zahava, editor
I remember the feeling that summer lay before me like an eternity.
I remember needing the first day of summer vacation to be something really special.
I remember waking up early in the morning, so excited I couldn't wait to jump out of bed.
I remember being so excited when I heard the ice cream truck's jingly tune and how much fun it was to grab a few coins and run out to meet it just in time.
I remember turning turning turning the crank on my uncle's ice cream maker.
I remember feeling homesick and sad at sleep-over Girl Scout camp.
I remember the taste of tar, the favorite summer chew of the neighborhood kids after our road was tarred and graveled.
I remember the bugs flying around the bookmobile headlights —every Monday night it sat at the top of the street and I could check out my five books.
I remember having a lemonade & popcorn stand and making a whole dollar.
I remember eating penny candy everyday, playing kickball and baseball in 95 degree weather, and having water balloon fights with my sisters & cousins.
I remember my Grandfather making homemade wine from his grapes.
I remember digging in the dirt for worms and swimming in the pond all afternoon, despite its mucky bottom.
I remember my father listening to the ball games on the radio and my mother hand-washing our clothes in the big kitchen sink, then hanging them out to dry.
I remember my excitement when the milkman and the bread man made deliveries to our summer bungalow.
I remember trying to see to the other side of Lake Ontario.
I remember sailing to Canada and back.
I remember picking up cow pies and throwing them at my brother.
I remember the sound of the foghorn coming from across the river.
I remember learning how to cook everything outdoors — including birthday cakes — at Girl Scout Camp.
I remember Dad waking me up at the first light and we would sneak out of the house to pick berries and hunt squirrels before he had to go to work.
I remember eating banana splits after a day of baling hay in the June heat.
I remember my special corner under the lilacs, where I played with hollyhock dolls and acorn furniture.
I remember weeding what seemed like an endless row of green beans, and eating my way along the row.
I remember languorous summer afternoons on the porch, deep in the pages of The Black Stallion and other books.
I remember skipping stones on Canandaigua Lake and roasting hot dogs on the sandy beach.
I remember shrieking as I rode the roller coaster at Roseland Park each weekend when I was a camp counselor.
I remember sensing the weight of the mountain as we went through the caverns beneath Mt. Rushmore, and how cool it was down there.
I remember the flood of 1972, brought by Hurricane Agnes, and how summer seemed to stop.
I remember putting on my glasses so I could be sure that the soft pink object hovering over the Cornell campus was a cloud, not a kite.
I remember dreams of winter in the middle of summer.
I remember seeing six shades of green from my living room window.
I remember writing my brother's obituary.
I remember the summer when a White Castle Hamburger saved my life.
I remember the old bed my grandfather made where I slept when I visited Grandma's house in the summer.
I remember the fragrance of gardenia perfume as my mom kissed me before leaving to go out on a summer night.
I remember listening to the mockingbird serenade me through the open window, all night long.
I remember eating cherries and spitting the pits out and laughing with the juice in my mouth.
I remember holding a white feather for the tree swallow to take from my hand and build its nest.
I remember quietly watching the bees fly into their home with yellow pollen to feed their babies.
I remember resting on my back in the silk water of a clear lake that held me so that I could look at the clouds.
I remember relay races and sprints along the sidewalk, and never being able to run faster than the kid from the next building on Stratford Road in Brooklyn.
I remember my mother licking my hands and arms to "help" me clean up when the ice cream cones melted on me.
I remember warm evenings, my father tipping his panama hat to passers by, my mother's melodic "How do!"
I remember the afternoon I went to Lippman's Pharmacy with a nickel for an ice cream cone, only to discover the price had gone up to 7 cents.
I remember going to the creek with my little friend, hanging our shirts on a tree limb, and returning to find them gone.
I remember it being so hot, I took to the basement and read Les Miserables with the cat.
I remember doing ten summersaults in the water on one breath of air.
I remember big bins of beach balls for sale at gas stations, miles from any body of water.
I remember counting 21 wasps in the jug of orange juice at summer camp.
I remember making little animals out of pipe cleaners on my cot on the screened-in porch when I was supposed to be taking a nap.
I remember lying in the tall grass, playing harmonica, while my pony grazed next to me.
I remember trail riding to the pond to swim with the horses — holding onto their manes as they pulled me along in the deep water.
I remember bouncing over the waves in our speedboat and telling my father, "We must be going over the whales!"
I remember being fearless.
I remember summer was a time of no rules.
I remember the first time I spent a day canoeing on the Allegheny River, back before the expressway came through.
I remember my big brother teaching me how to make a whistle with a blade of grass held tightly between my thumbs.
I remember camping on Pine Creek, south of Galeton, Pennsylvania, and cooking just-caught brown trout over an open fire.
I remember wild young hope that once imbued ordinary moments with great meaning.
I remember the overpowering smell of vinegar and hot grease from Thrasher's french fries on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland.
I remember having measles in July and lying in a darkened room with a small fan while my family went on vacation to the beach.
I remember swim team practice at dusk with bats gliding overhead.
I remember winning my first ribbon at the county horse show in 95 degree heat.
I remember trying to save my beautiful linen and silk shoes during the thunder storm at my outdoor wedding 41 years ago.
I remember the popping sound of tar bubbles and the shimmery mirages on the overheated roads.
I remember unfurling a blanket onto our carpet-soft lawn, in a bikini, and slathering on Bain de Soleil.
I remember kicking over the plastic cones on my dad's grass airstrip, looking for field mice to adopt.
I remember stealthily tiptoeing to the creek by my aunt's house in Dryden, hoping to capture crawfish unaware.
I remember learning archery at the day camp in Stewart Park.
I remember Alpenglow on a high peak in Colorado's San Juan Mountains.
I remember carob chip ice cream cones at Avagadro's Number in Fort Collins, Colorado.
I remember realizing that goat's milk tasted like the goat smelled and not really loving that.
I remember tide pools rich with creatures slow moving enough to be caught.
I remember discovering the massive nest of black widow spiders under my bed that had been there all along, never biting me.
I remember when I didn't believe in air conditioners.
I remember hiding in the trunk of my friend's car when we all packed in to go to the drive-in movie.
I remember putting ice-pink lipstick on to make my face look more tan.
I remember waking in the July morning to the puttering sound of motor boats on the Salmon River just outside my window.
I remember the summer of my first cat, picking him out, naming him, and then welcoming him to his new home.
I remember the summer I went to Costa Rica; the butterflies in my hair, the kittens at the door, and the big spiders in my shoes.
I remember going to Honeoye Lake and getting stung by bees 30 minutes after arriving.
I remember being freaked out by a wasp nest shaped like a long, tall hat.
I remember hitting a leech bed while swimming under the Falls in Northern Minnesota.
I remember catching a fish on my cane pole without any bait.
I remember standing mesmerized, in a field of silently and magically blipping fireflies.
I remember being with my brother and sister, fully dressed in our “good” clothes, splashing in our magnificent, beloved Slimey Blimey puddle.
I remember getting scratched by raspberry bushes while searching for the "perfect" raspberry.
I remember making a slip-and-slide out of garbage bags held down by rocks, because my parents refused to spend money on a real slip-and-slide.
I remember jumping waves with my dad in the ocean that was a mere three blocks from my childhood home and visible from my bedroom window.
I remember climbing up to the first big branch in the maple tree in our backyard to read Nancy Drew novels.
I remember my mother playing canasta and mah jong with her friends on the lawn of the Palace Hotel when we went to Fleischmanns in the Catskills.
I remember my father teaching me how to dive.
I remember long drives to the country when my mother exclaimed "Look how beautiful" the whole time, while my father smoked and yelled at the other drivers.
I remember sitting around and shelling peas with my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, aunt, sisters, and cousins.
I remember my grandfather's fishing rule, "You catch it, you clean it."
I remember how it feels to be bitten by fire ants.
I remember staggering out of the Tompkins County Public Library with as many books as I could carry.
I remember swimming until I turned blue from cold.
I remember sliding on the rock, forgetting to hold my breath.
I remember spying my old car, jacked up in a backwoods backyard, during one of many trips on "seasonal roads."
I remember selling shoes, and wishing I could be outside instead.
I remember missing the fireworks, and opting instead for fireflies and first kisses.
I remember enjoying the summer breeze the night the moon disappeared and how mysteriously delicious it all felt.
I remember every single contestant from "America's Got Talent," the summer we watched the show at the beach house.
I remember the fourth time my great grandma turned 92.
I remember walking on the beach in the night with my cousins and almost stepping on a turtle.
I remember all the times at high tide when shells got embedded in my hair and my cousins spent hours talking and picking out the shells.
I remember wandering for hours, lost in the woods, and finally arriving at the Sherkston Quarry where we jumped into the cool water.
I remember riding in the convertible with my dad.
I remember tossing the frisbee with my friend Alan, as we sang the line from West Side Story: "One handed catch!"
I remember my secret wild strawberry patch, hidden in plain sight in the middle of the big pasture.
I remember the smell of stacking sweet clover and timothy hay.
I remember Pop taking me to the Dolly Madison store where they hand-dipped the cherry vanilla to overflow the pint container so that you had to eat that whole top part off in the car.
I remember a dog named King who would dive five feet to the bottom of the creek to fetch back the very same rock his master had thrown.
I remember joining my father for his before-breakfast dip in the ocean and being carried out by the undertow when there was nobody to help us.
I remember transistor radios at the beach.
I remember being allowed to have instant coffee by the campfire.
I remember the heartbeat in my hand when I rescued a sparrow that had flown in through an open window.
I remember coming upon the redwings' nests down low in the cattails.
I remember the tar smell when the first huge raindrops splattered.
I remember loving the difference between the smell of horse sweat and people sweat.
I remember winning the corn-on-the-cob eating contest.
I remember finally being big enough to eat all the way through an Eskimo Pie popsicle without the sheet of hard crackly chocolate falling off.
I remember lying in the straw next to our animals at the County Fair barn and hearing someone's radio tell that Billie Holiday had died that day.
I remember every "mile 20" in every marathon I have run.
I remember driving to Mucky Run Road to buy the most precious Jack Russell puppy.
I remember being forced to go swimming three times a day, even in torrential rain, at the dumbest, meanest camp in the world.
I remember dancing in the starlight at Ashokan, New York.
I remember canning blueberry jam late at night.
I remember that summer dress I loved so much, the one with the dragonfly batiked on the chest.
I remember picking wax beans and green beans with my friend Betty in her mother's garden and then having those beans, fresh, for lunch.
I remember the sense of power and freedom I felt, standing on the fence with my cousin Julie and peeing into the cow pasture.
I remember lying in the shade, reading True Confessions magazines and not really understanding the problems.
I remember the summer there was a goat who ate our comic books, but I don’t remember her name.
I remember treading water in Cayuga Lake on this recent, very hot July Fourth, and watching the flares and fireworks across and up and down the lake.
I remember my father polishing his Lincoln Continental with his shirt off.
I remember catching toads and pretending they were my babies.
I remember handfuls of violets and mud pies with red berries on top.
I remember walking past a mirror and being surprised at my own beauty.
I remember thinking "this is too good to last."
I remember when my brother and I tried to save the ground ants from the flying ants.
I remember singing to the cows who stopped, looked up, and came to where I was standing.
I remember summer Tuesday nights, our Bensonhurst apartment building roof, watching the fireworks from Coney Island, and slurping Kool-Aid ices made in aluminum ice trays with releases that froze to your hand.
I remember, in pre flip-flop days, hoping not to get splinters in my feet, strolling along the Coney Island boardwalk, bound for the Skee-Ball alleys.
I remember sniffing my own skin, enjoying the fragrance of
sunburn, saltwater air, and Coppertone.
I remember learning sign language cusswords from the deaf kids who hung out on Bay 3 at Coney Island.
I remember going to the Russian steam baths with my father, and holding a white rubber bathing cap full of cold water under my nose so I could breathe cooler air.
I remember sitting on the stoop with my mom, eating watermelon and listening to our first “portable” radio, which must have weighed ten pounds.
I remember seeing my first luna moth and thinking it was the most beautiful thing on earth.
I remember playing jacks on the cool basement floor.
I remember riding the DoodleBug to Grandma's house.
I remember running through the sprinkler to cool off.
I remember the pleasure of sleeping with no covers.
I remember getting to lick the paddle from the ice cream freezer.
I remember spitting watermelon seeds over the creek and into the bushes in Sumner County, Tennessee, when I was a kid in the '50s, and outside it was in the 90s, and I myself was in my 10s.
I remember being part of a two piece July 4th marching band: I paraded around the back yard with a windup music box while my cousin high-stepped behind me, beating on a home-made tambourine.
I remember cicadas so loud you couldn't stay in bed for the chirping, and bullfrogs croaking so much that we had to close the windows just to hear ourselves think.
I remember wrestling with Blondie, my cocker spaniel, under the maple tree in the front yard, grateful that she'd always let me win.
I remember the sunny summer morning when I knew I was different from all the others, and didn't know what to do about it.
I remember the taste of my first wild blackberry.
I remember leaving wet footprints on the sidewalk.
I remember chasing dandelion fluff across the lawn.
I remember the smell of rain coming.
I remember the anticipation, smells, and summer sounds, as I waited in my hiding place during evening hours of Hide and Go Seek, hoping it would take forever to find me.
I remember my open window, the lavender curtains moving slightly in the breeze; they had been carefully sewn for me, to match the little purple flowers on the wallpaper that my parents surprised me with when I returned from summer camp.
I remember reading The Secret Garden, hidden in the embrace of the lilac bush.
I remember not minding the stickiness of ice cream melting down my arm while fireworks rattled my bones.
I remember discovering my love of risk while taking a turn at high speed in my brother's go-kart.
I remember the smoothness of the water on my naked body the first time I ever went skinny dipping.
I remember lying on the grass and the sensation of falling up into the shooting stars streaking across the black sky.
I remember family softball games when my cousins would sit down in the outfield waiting for me to hit the ball.
I remember jumping around as Grandpa played polkas on his accordion.
I remember stretching out on tin foil, my skin covered in butter and my hair stiff and sticky with lemon juice, in an effort to attract more sun.
I remember thinking the crimson sumac tree was poison and it would kill me if I didn't watch it closely.
I remember collecting slugs and loving and hating the thick orange slime they left behind.
I remember the feel of wearing only mud and long rubber boots.
I remember feeling all alone in the softball field, responsible for every ball I'd never once catch.
I remember Johnson's ice cream shop on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey where they put a sour ball in the bottom of your ice cream cone.
I remember jumping off the merry-go-round when the ticket taker approached.
I remember embarrassing my date, many years ago, by beating him at miniature golf.
I remember staying at my grandparents farm, looking for the ghost in the barn window, and then with great excitement finding the treasure map under a rock.
I remember the day my friends held a contest for Rose Princess, when I voted for myself because I really wanted to be the Rose Princess.
I remember riding the ferris wheel on the boardwalk with my grandmother who swung the seat as we sat at the tippy top.
I remember battling headwinds day after day after day as we bicycled across North Dakota.
I remember one summer when we bicycled around each and every Finger Lake.
I remember a sad sad day in August when we buried our daughter in Mountain View Cemetery.
I remember meeting boys from Far Rockaway at an upstate campground and thinking, "they're so cool."
I remember grape bubble gum bursting in my mouth while I rolled over and over and over, crashing down the slope.
I remember my mom yelling at me at the ocean, "Watch out for the drop off!"
I remember my sixteenth birthday, and how I wanted to stop time.
I remember planting a sunflower seed with a three-year-old in May, and watching them both grow and grow all summer long.
I remember my father's whistle (the only one of its kind) calling us in for dinner.
I remember never knowing the date or time or place; it was simply summertime.
I remember needing only 15 cents for an Archie comic book and three pieces of Bazooka bubblegum.
I remember making halter-tops out of bandanas and wire hoops.
I remember putting clothespins and baseball cards on the spokes of my bike wheels.
I remember almost drowning at Lake Switzerland and later hearing people say, "She panicked. It wasn't even over her head."
I remember holding Summer (my new baby girl) in my arms one August day thirty three years ago and no summer morning has yet been as sweet.
I remember a summer spent in fear; storms roared everyday and I hoped it was someone else who had pissed off Zeus.
I remember hiding in laundry sheets rolling in warm wind, drying in summer sun.
I remember that waterfall, the night the earth opened in August.
I remember cold showers at night, heat penetrating seconds afterward.
I remember Macro Mama's corn fritters at the Farmer's Market.
I remember balancing myself so I could sniff my mother's roses, feeling the hard gravel under my toes.
I remember stealing snap peas from the garden.
I remember the toad who liked to spend the day on the porch in the cool recesses of my mother's outdoor shoes.
I remember the smell of hot-in-the-sun wild strawberry fields.
I remember the fleets of flat-bottomed cloud boats filling the sky.
I remember the sound of a whip-poor-will filling the night.
I remember my best friend driving away forever.
I remember the summer when it never stopped raining.
I remember my summer job stocking shelves at Treble's Red & White.
I remember riding my horse, named Horse.
I remember marching with the school band at Fireman's Carnivals in all the nearby towns, one of 4 trombones.
I remember taking a roll of film and sending it in the mail to be developed, so my summer memories would be preserved.
I remember sitting on the beach at Cape Cod, reading Exodus in 3 days.
I remember the summer in Greece, when I came alive at 5:30 each evening, prepared to engage, eat, drink, dance and sing.
I remember putting tin foil on my windows to cool things down, because I couldn't afford a fan.
I remember the first summer after the war, when my parents sent me from England to a camp in Belgium where my cousins, whom I had never met, were also sent by their parents.
I remember sleeping under a canopy of stars and redwood trees,
high in the Sierra Mountains.
I remember bats at dusk, swooping over the lake, catching the last mosquitoes of a summer day.
I remember fuchsia water lilies, and iridescent dragonflies on chartreuse lily pads.
I remember the salt water swimming pool and wave-making machine at Palisades Amusement Park.
I remember making pretend salad for my grandparents out of mint and garden weeds.
I remember a sudden morning thunderstorm; lightning and the smell of wet grass and ozone rising from the hills above a cool forest.
I remember a brightly colored town surrounded by green hills and vineyards and filled with people who spoke another language.
I remember a steamy road in the suburbs at night, with katydids and cicadas calling from the humid trees.
I remember castles like slumbering beasts jutting over the banks of a shining river.
I remember a summer solstice celebration in Spencer where we faced East, West, South and North while singing and chanting.
I remember the joyous trip up to camp in Monticello (with a stop at the Red Apple for lunch) and later the unbearable sorrow when camp ended and I had to say good-bye to the country and return to Manhattan.
I remember swimming in frigid water looking into the blue eyes of scallops as they dipped and swam in the bay at the end of summer.
I remember saying I liked the smell of low tide and everyone laughed at me.
I remember when my brother unhooked the towline of my waterskis right in the middle of a large bloom of blood-red jellyfish.
I remember my father on his back in the hammock with a piece of masking tape protecting his trumpet-playing lips from the heat of the sun.
I remember one night in Van Etten in the pitch dark and so many lightning bugs winked on and off I thought I was having an acid flashback.
I remember sleeping on the roof in Manhattan because our railroad apartment was so hot.
I remember riding in the brown DeSoto for five days to get from Texas to Canada, using a watermelon for a pillow.
I remember walking over the wing bridge with my grandfather holding my hand as he recited The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck and the canal workers opened the locks.
I remember picking wild strawberries along the railroad tracks and feeling the thrum of the approaching train before it came into sight.
I remember walking into a nest of hornets, getting stung, and then being successfully treated by my godmother with applications of fresh cream out of the refrigerator.
I remember swinging so long and so hard that I touched the sky.
I remember getting off the carousel and running right back to the end of the line so I could ride again.
I remember John the Vegetable Man who came down the street with his horse-pulled wagon, singing the names of the vegetables and fruit he had for sale
I remember reading Little Women on my cousin's bunk bed in the cool, dark back bedroom during siesta time, while my aunt watched her soap opera in the front room.
I remember when the red-and-white striped tent appeared in the vacant lot behind the gas station, and my mom took me to roller skate there on the uneven boards of the temporary roller rink.
I remember that when guests arrive in the summertime, ants always appear on the kitchen counter.
I remember, at my grandparents’ house with no air conditioning, opening the refrigerator door to cool my sweaty face and then stealing chicharrones (pork cracklings) stored in a glass jelly jar.
I remember buying a season pass to Astroworld and being terrified/thrilled to ride the looped Greezed Lightnin’ and the rickety wooden Texas Cyclone.
I remember drinking mate sweetened with honey and milk on a Fall Creek porch with roommates and friends.
I remember my darling crawling out onto the porch roof in his underwear to open a stuck window so we might be able to catch a breeze.
I remember ducklings in the lake at the Farmer's Market.
I remember playing baseball on a suburban street in Hartsdale, New York, and smashing into a small tree while chasing a line drive.
I remember laying in the woods behind our house, not moving, until the animals forgot about me and I became a part of it all.
I remember when a beautiful spider knit a web above the back door.
I remember my English childhood: going to the seaside, where there was scaffolding at the low tide line in case of an invasion; the beach and the rocks covered in oil that washed up from torpedoed tankers.
I remember eating sandwiches on the beach at Lulworth Cove and they were sandy sandwiches.
I remember going down to the city center in Bristol one night after VE Day and all the lights were on.
I remember thinking that if I were an otter I would never wear a bathing suit.
I remember my Ithaca summer of 1972, with a day filled with berry picking and berry eating; then waking up the next day and seeing all the moldy berries that had made their way home, but not into the refrigerator.
I remember the difficulty of deciding whether to choose a Creamsicle, Fudgesicle, or chocolate-coated raspberry bar from the Good Humor cart parked at the lakefront.
I remember four girls, arms linked together, singing songs on a country road.
I remember the summer day in 1962 when a tall, handsome stranger stopped to ask me a question on East 86th Street in Manhattan.
I remember when it got really hot we'd strip down to our underpants and our mother would turn on the hose and squirt us on the front lawn.
I remember when it was so hot I had to sleep in the bathtub to cool off.
I remember the summer games: Red Light/Green Light, Mother May I, and all the rest.
I remember mincing gingerly over the quarter-sized stones of our driveway until my bare feet toughened up on the bottoms and I could run instead.
I remember road trips heading south on 81 with always the same rest stop for breakfast — always Spalding Krullers, always orange juice, always the rooster crowing in the background.
I remember looking up at the Big Dipper just as the woman on stage sang "Look to the heavens, thank your lucky stars."
I remember sitting by the Susquehanna the night the mayflies hatched and how the next morning their papery bodies, millions of them, lay an inch thick on the riverbank.
I remember sticking to the car seat in the heat, and painfully peeling myself away, the imprint of the seams marking my bare thighs.
I remember humidity which could cause clothes on the line to mildew before they could fully dry.
I remember watching my footprints in the sand; crisp at first, then blurred as they filled with water, and grains of sand started to roll down the sides of the imprint.
I remember burrowing into the sand to find a cool layer for my feet on a hot day.
I remember the canvas army surplus hammock with stamped numbers still visible, strung between two horse chestnut trees, and how the blossoms would fall in our laps as we swung.
I remember being very, very sure to mount my always-white merry-go-round horse only from the left side.
I remember making potions of various unidentified berries, but having the good sense not to drink them.
I remember checking the wind direction to see which side of the island would be free of mosquitoes that night: bay side or ocean side.
I remember the slanting light of the setting sun turning the water of the bay first brilliant gold, then brass, then bronze, then rose, until it finally faded to steely blue grey.
I remember when I used to be a mermaid.
I remember the iodine smell of the boardwalk at Fire Island.
I remember foolishly thinking the lakes were without energy or mystery, after knowing the ocean.
I remember the thrill of swimming across Cayuga Lake on a misty August morning with two hundred other women.
I remember the brackish water where the river meets the ocean, and how we kept an eye out for both sharks and alligators.
I remember the white herons at the dredge pond where we rested our oars and snacked on apples, cheese and peanut butter.
I remember desperately missing the ocean in my dreams, not being able to get there.
I remember tiny sea horses in Summit Lake, which were real, I know, because my sister saw them too.
I remember walking three blocks to the beach in bare feet on hot pavement.
I remember stepping on bees and believing I might die.
I remember how a crispy hotdog, right off the grill, could make it seem that all was right in the world.
I remember losing hours in the sea at Ocean City, New Jersey as I learned to find the center of a wave with my body and to roll on in.
I remember lying on the dock on a warm August evening watching the aurora borealis at Saranac Lake.
I remember when the air in Washington, D.C. felt as thick as the algae catching my paddle as I kayaked just off the Potomac River.
I remember, on a steamy July night, being awestruck, watching her tango, clueless that I was about to meet the absolute love of my life.
I remember recoiling in shock the first June I dipped my toes in Lake Superior's icy water.
I remember my father throwing me into Lake George so I would learn how to swim.
I remember when I was 15, driving with my family to California from New Jersey, and hating every moment of the trip.
I remember my sixth birthday in Puerto Rico: wearing a strawberry dress that my Titi Lourdes made for me and my family surprising me with a grand party and a Pocahontas cake.
I remember carefully planting seedlings in the sand beside a large pond and being surprised when they were all gone the next day.
I remember picking blueberries and thinking about the book Blueberries for Sal — specifically the bear — at the exact moment when I realized I was far from any helpful adult.
I remember arriving at Grandma's house for our summer visit: the tall pines that lined each side of the driveway and the crunching, popping sound of the car tires on the gravel; the way my legs unfolded when I got out of the car, and the wind drying the sweat on my skin; the sound of excited voices and the feel of hugs.
I remember watching the dog give birth under the pine trees, my mother and I crying.
I remember sleeping in my bathing suit, jumping into the water before I brushed my teeth, staying in the pool until my hair turned green.
I remember a snake chasing me around the house and my grandfather saving me.
I remember spearmint snowballs from the Plum Street snowball stand in New Orleans.
I remember fields of buttercups as far as I could see.
I remember chasing lightning bugs in my turquoise pedal pushers, the ones with the white zig-zag trimming.
I remember watching Abbot and Costello movies in our basement with my brother's 8 millimeter projector.
I remember the tragically sad summer day when our neighbor farmer dammed his pond spillway, cutting off the water supply to our little duck pond.
I remember building the raft which never floated.
I remember when my uncle Kurt visited for the first time and my sister, brother and I set out booby traps to try to kill him, but we didn't mean to, really, and he didn't die.
I remember playing kick the can with the neighbor kids until the street lights came on and our mothers called us in for bed.
I remember crickets out the bedroom window; the sound lay in bed with me, so I wasn't alone in the dark.
I remember days so drenched with heat that I couldn't do anything but sit in front of a fan with a book for hours, unmoving.
I remember fireflies on hot, humid nights, lighting up the backyard, and thinking that if I took a long-exposure shot and left it, eventually it would be all white light.
I remember ripe mulberries falling into the river and floating down and down.
I remember Indian paintbrushes, but not enough of them.
I remember lazy days followed by long nights of insomnia and no air conditioning, during which I would watch bad TV shows and eat entire watermelons with a spoon.
I remember the hot summer day on the beach when I laughed so hard, riding on my handsome big cousin’s shoulders, that I peed all over him.
I remember picnics under the trees at Lower Buttermilk, after an afternoon of swimming under the waterfall.
I remember an ugly maternity dress, like a shapeless tent, the summer of 1950.
I remember the summer we picked peaches, froze them, canned them, made peach jam, and celebrated with a peach party, serving fresh peach shortcake and peach punch.
I remember reading about Woodstock when I wasn't able to go.
I remember taking off my blouse like the other women in the park in Oslo, Norway.
I remember planting a victory garden of summer vegetables with my mother during the war.
I remember Pete Seeger visiting and singing at my summer camp.
I remember how empty Paris was, one August long ago.
I remember Shakespeare in Central Park, for free.
I remember the summer I fell in love for the first time, and how every song we heard on the radio became "our song."
I remember delivering mail and stealing water from hoses coiled at the sides of houses.
I remember dancing with sparklers in my feet bare, wearing pink plaid pajamas.
I remember picking raspberries from my father's garden and scattering them on my breakfast Cheerios.
I remember visiting my friend Cherie, whose mother didn't care if we made our beds.
I remember every bathing suit I ever wore, because I always felt too naked.
I remember taking my shoes off at the farm, and not being able to find them at the end of the day.
I remember stream-walking for miles, a million round stones under my bare feet.
I remember taking a sun-warmed ear of corn from a wheelbarrow and eating it raw, the sweetest taste ever.
I remember throwing a hundred rocks into the canal with him that night, because we couldn't kiss.
I remember climbing down from the high dive because I was too scared, squeezing past an endless line of kids on the ladder.
I remember being in the ocean with my friend and holding her hand because she was afraid.
I remember reading Woman Hollering Creek aloud in the car on the way home from the shore.
I remember getting such a bad sunburn I couldn't move for two days.
I remember thinking, "my mom is so strong," while she rowed us around the lake.
I remember watching for U.F.O.s at night in Ontario with my dad and brother.
I remember my dad teaching me to ride a large bicycle he had built from spare bike parts, then painted green.
I remember watching my parents resting on a blanket on the lawn after taking us on all the rides at the amusement park.
I remember running to my grandfather with yet another 4-leaf clover to press in an outdated encyclopedia.
I remember watching a mama quail and her babies bobble-head across the lawn single-file.
I remember studying tadpoles in amazement.
I remember washing my hair with fresh rainwater.
I remember my horse, Midnight, getting loose and breaking up someone's wedding reception.
I remember flying kites and riding my first Schwinn 5-speed bicycle.
I remember getting poison ivy all over my body and having to sit in an oatmeal bath.
I remember going out into the woods after the rain and catching little orange salamanders.
I remember spending hours in the water at the Jersey Shore and then strolling on the boardwalk eating salt water taffy.
I remember being a counselor in a Catskills summer camp and sneaking out at night to go dancing at a nearby resort hotel; the latest dance was the cha cha.
I remember the thrill of racing to the back of the field to catch the frisbee.
I remember the pleasure of having time to think, time to figure out who I wanted to become as a person.
I remember reading Tennessee Williams plays the summer after I graduated from eighth grade.
I remember those one or two weeks in the summer when my brother and I could watch the Disney Channel for free.
I remember naming my brother’s and my favorite tennis ball “Booger” because it had an imperfection.
I remember graduating from high school and feeling like I had finally been released from prison.
I remember that fish I caught, flipping headless on the back steps.
I remember tearing apart crabs on my grandmother's kitchen floor in Savannah.
I remember someone proclaiming that the old alligator was more scared of me than I was of him, but how could she know how much fear I could hold?
I remember catching butterflies with my brother, who cut off their wings to mount them; and then having nightmares about butterflies trying to catch me.
I remember the day I was finally better than my brother at some water sport, when I had to rescue him in the middle of the lake where he was stuck on his windsurfer, unable to get back to shore.
I remember being in a canoe in Tallahassee, Florida, where we were headed straight for a huge spider’s web, me first, and I screamed at my husband to stop the canoe, turn it around, and get me out of there.
I remember playing Jane and Tarzan with my friends among the trees.
I remember being roped while climbing the Alps so if one of us fell we could be picked up immediately.
I remember my eighth grade graduation dress, which I also wore when I got married.
I remember the feel of tiny minnows swimming between my toes.
I remember being part of a synchronized swim team with six other girls, wearing identical suits and bathing caps.
I remember sitting in the willow tree, just observing.
I remember the summer when I was seven and I could fit inside or under almost anything — I hid, tied myself up in knots, and planned my escapes like Harry Houdini.
I remember a map spread out in your lap, upside down, depicting a different coast, in Japanese, designed with gorgeous graphics and damnably useless since the winds had shifted and you'd released the jib.
I remember forgetting to remember all the good in the world, and most especially, forgetting to breathe, forgetting the sea air, forgetting you.
I remember wings and spots, tufted grasses and flutterbugs, drippy rainbows and trippy star-studded skies.
I remember feeding a yellowjacket a whitefish sandwich.
I remember packing as many Harlequin Romance books as I could fit in our car for family trips to Keuka Lake when I was a tween.
I remember kissing a boy behind the woodshed.
I remember going to my first drive-in movie with my mom and dad: The Glenn Miller Story.
I remember dancing with a cottonwood tree, climbing high up into it as strong Kansas winds rattled its leaves and swirled me around on its gracefully swaying branches.
I remember listening to the "Triumphal March" from Aida one Saturday afternoon on the car radio, sitting in the Wegmans parking lot while five ducks marched single file, in perfect time to the music, on their way to the water's edge.
I remember my mother telling me not to get overheated while jumping rope because that might be how I could get polio.
I remember lying down on the linoleum floor, hoping it would be cool and I could get some sleep.
I remember blowing soap bubbles until one blew into my eye.
I remember my roasted marshmallow sliding off the chocolate-covered graham cracker onto my bare foot.
I remember the summer humidity in Chicago, mosquitoes lurking in the still air.
I remember running on the crunchy grass, in the 100 degree sun, in my red, one-piece swim suit, letting the sprinkler drops thrill me with their cold and wet, and smiling at my skinny sister.
I remember suburban California: chunks of blue and red Missile Popsicles melting on white slabs of sidewalk that stretched for miles outside my house.
I remember a policeman stopping my mother on the sidewalk near Rockaway Beach, to scold her for walking around in nothing more than a two-piece bathing suit, with red rubber flip-flops on her feet.
I remember my bathing suit top falling off (and floating away) while I jumped the waves at Miami Beach.
I remember when I thought everything green that grew out of the ground was poison ivy.
I remember a stranger at the beach saying I had nice feet.
I remember wearing sneakers without socks and learning a new word: blisters.
I remember summer Be-Ins, crowds of people gathered in Central Park to groove on the sunshine, the music, the smiles, the shimmering energy of youth, the beauty of everyone, the freedom to hug and kiss anyone who happened to be standing next to you.
I remember sitting in a shaft of sunlight in the middle of a pine forrest, reading Siddhartha for the first time.
I remember those long long minutes of waiting to go back into the ocean after eating lunch, and how all the mothers agreed that you had to wait at least 15 minutes or you would cramp up and drown.
I remember the bittersweet feeling of new saddle shoes in late August.
I remember wishing summer would never end.
Pamela A. Babusci
Tara Shanti Kane
Barbara Kane Lewis
Jai Hari Meyerhoff
Nancy Barno Reynolds
Rachel J. Siegel
Helen M. Sinoradzki
Kaye S. Stone
Martha Blue Waters