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Summers Past

August 9, 2013
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

I have always been grateful that my childhood was spent before the days of organized play. My childhood growing up in Washington, D.C. seems in its way quite perfect whenever I look back on those summers long past.

I remember in grade school that one of the first assignments in school was to write a small essay on how I spent my summer.

"How I Spent My Summer Vacation" has become part of my very being. It is an essay permanently etched in my mind. There are a million colors, aromas and feelings all mixed together. I have gone through 70 summers.

There are the summers of my youth followed by the summers of my young adulthood. Summers of my middle age and the summers of my older years. I have written a little of my summers in my youth and some of my summers as a young adult.

When I think of my grandmother's cottage located in Back Bay, Md., I can write of the joys I felt. I spent more summers than I can count in that little cottage in Back Bay. But if you ask me the color of the cottage: was it green or blue? I could not tell you for sure what the color was. Which uncle could drink a case of beer in one sitting? Was it Uncle John or Frank. It could have been both my uncles, they loved cold beer in the summer. The recollections that matter are as fresh as the wild strawberries we picked along the back fence.

With the coming of June, all of us start to anticipate the pleasures that summer brings. At the same time we cannot help but think of the past summers.

When we were small and free, enjoying the warmest weeks of the year with our loving families, we thought those summers would last a life time.

I can still remember all of us, I guess about 12 people, crammed into a cottage next to the Chesapeake Bay.

The biggest decision was whether I wanted a hog dog or a juicy hamburger. We had homemade ice cream. My job was to turn the handle for an hour or so and then have some of the vanilla or strawberry ice cream. Days were spent swimming or building sand castles. Some of the smallest experiences led to such bliss that, decades later, I can still relive the moments in my mind. The moments remembered still bring a longing for those long ago summers and a smile to my face.

 
 

 

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