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house and backyard

On this day I choose to remember a world of long ago. I can see images, clear and crisp, memories I've folded and put away for a day such as this. In sunlit balconies I look down upon a boy that casts a curly-headed shadow against a decrepit shed. He's hiding behind chicken wire and tall weeds. That boy is me. He, like all the other kids on the block, earned his medals of valor with countless skinned knees, sunburns, and bee stings.

old band aid tin

Band-Aids and Bactine were summer staples, and empty Band-Aid tins made great penny banks. My life back in those days, is summarily told through the gifts of remembrance and a handy keyboard. There were years, and summers, and astounding voyages of beautiful boyhood that I cannot accurately put into words. Still, the mastery, and the majesty of youth lives on, and has permitted me to punch a hole in the fabric of time so I may peer into it years later.

summer days

The summer days were magical: seamlessly they existed, stitched together into an endless quilt of blue skies and puffy white clouds. There was no yesterday in those skies, nor was there a tomorrow; there was only the hour at hand. I wore nothing but cut-offs and feared nothing but the coming of the school year. I remember squiggly toes tickled by summer clover, and cooled by stepping into wet pockets of freshly sprinklered lawns. There was nothing like the flavor of blackberries plucked from thorny vines. Our clothesline provided rows of freshly laundered sheets and towels. The aromatherapy of bleach and the damp cool against my skin was maginificent on a blistering July day.

flip flops and radio

If a radio played I used my ratty old thongs (flip flops in modern language) to slap out energetic summer rhythms on our front porch. Wiping sweat and slapping bugs seemed more reflex than relief, and a calendar summer assured me that all was right in the world. I loved Popsicles, even though an ocassional stick came loose leaving me with a handful of the frozen treat to slurp up. In the distance of my memories I hear the winding blades of an old push mower and the slap of our screen door that never closed properly.

summer 1960s

Our neighbor's dog-vagabond that he was-wanders into our yard seeking treats; girls across the street are singing songs and hopping over chalkline grids on a sidewalk. In the heat I see myself running into the house. Breathless and sweaty, I'm only taking a brief respite from the sun. The old pull-handle of the fridge opens a door that blasts me with immediate coolness. Inside a light shows a plastic pitcher filled with Kool-Aid.

There I was, in the heart of July, 1964.