REMEMBERING LAZY SUMMER DAYS – Marilyn Armstrong

Remember?

School was out. The days were long and warm. There was no homework. You played games with your friends and if it wasn’t too hot, you jumped rope or rode your bike.

You moved slowly. No one had air-conditioning. You took it slow and the days were lazy and just a bit sleepy.

In Israel, summer was even lazier. It was the heat. By the time you got to August, you moved as little as possible. If there was a way you could just stay in the water all the time, that would have worked fine.

These days, though, in New England summer is “catch up” time. Because winter is when your house gets eaten by snow, ice, and icicles, now more lovingly known as “ice dams.” Icicles didn’t sound evil, but ice dams do.

Summer is stockpiling the wood. Patching the roof. Replacing shingles and the sagging windows. Tearing down the old rotting things and putting up new stuff to survive the winter to come.

The sagging window has to go and so does the rotting outdoor shower. You have to hurry, hurry, hurry because summer is short while winter is long and hard. If you don’t get it done before October, it probably won’t get done until next year.

Who dares predict what will be next year? I barely know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Our really lazy days are in the winter when we are socked inside by piles of snow. So much of our winter are snow days, roads covered with ice and a storm coming before we’ve figured out how to dig out of the one we just had.

Laying in supplies. Hoping it doesn’t get too cold — and the price of heating oil doesn’t go through the moon.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Hoping no one, nothing gets sick. There’s little you can do about anything much in the winter, so those are the lazy slow days. Okay, you have to wear two sweaters, but you aren’t going anywhere — unless you are one of the lucky snowbirds who fly to a warmer climate.

No more lazy days of summer. No more slow golden autumn weeks, either. The closer to winter it gets, the more frenzied you get trying to finish off the stuff which you can only do when the weather is warm.

The cows know when it’s time to lay in the grass and just relax

But today, I am tired. I need some warm, lazy weeks. Some slow days without appointments and plans. A few months when my hobby seems less like a job and my worry level can drop off and leave me to sleep in peace.

I expect we could all use that. Much more of that.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

31 thoughts on “REMEMBERING LAZY SUMMER DAYS – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. My lazy summer days were not so romantic as yours I grew up in a concrete jungle, but we kids would meet for some ball games or skipping in the street. When I got to the early teens, my friend and I would explore London. Bus journeys and the subway were cheap and London always had something to offer.

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      1. I remember Queens. The first part of New York you go through when leaving the airport. Afterwards there was some sort of tunnel and then you were in the skyscraper world

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        1. There are a lot of tunnels and bridges. Brooklyn in an island and so are Manhattan and Staten Island. There are five boroughs in New York, Three are islands and the other two are almost islands because of some big rivers. The Hudson, the East River, the Atlantic Ocean, the Verrazano Narrows and there are more. There’s a huge, deep harbor in Manhattan and another big one in Brooklyn and a big bay in Queens which made New York THE supreme shipping city. Boston has a good harbor too as does Baltimore … and all these cities became important because they are deep and big ships could come and go from them. I know London is a port city because of the Thames. Cities with big ports for ships tend to become important, but New York is more watery than most cities. I think that’s why coastal cities are always important historically.

          When we were kids, we used to ride our bikes all over the city. We often didn’t have money for buses or subways. Typically, we had no money when school was out. We only got enough money to get to school and back, so to save money we walked and saved the 15 cents When we weren’t hoofing it, we rode our bikes. I had amazing legs back then. Our bikes were old, too and heavy. We didn’t really get great toys and a lot of our bikes were well used when we got them. Now kids get everything, but we didn’t. So instead we learned to read maps and developed really strong bodies from all that pedaling.

          Also, I think cities are GREAT places to grow up. There’s always something to do. Museums and libraries and amazing strange old areas and parks The kids growing up here are afraid of everything. Cities make you a lot tougher.

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          1. You’re right. I grew up in the country and country people are afraid of cities. Watching Cleveland TV I thought the city would be so much more interesting, though I loved nature.

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      2. Ah, yes. I remember it well. you could smell summer in those soft breezes. Seemingly endless days of warmth and sunshine….and all the time in the world to play. Days of innocence.

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  2. I also remember fondly my summers of childhood. Although we lived in a flat in a housing building, at that time we only had to climb over a fence and could ‘visit’ the strawberry fields on the other side. We very frequently visited my mum’s parents house and worked our short socks off with weeding, picking up apples, scrubbing the walkways and terraces…. but also, chores done, lying in the grass and watching the clouds hurrying by, seeing things in their formation, being surrounded by bees and beatles, making daisy chains, and the top of the cream: Drinking real tea out of transparent dainty porcellain cups (with a lady engraved in the bottom of the cup!). I also remember going ‘water walking’ in little streams, only accessible after a long walk or later on, at 14yrs old and having acquired a 3rd hand bike with my own earned money for services rendered at my school and working for farmers in my spare time. Those moments where we were afraid to be found out (we were not allowed to play in those waters, we could have drowned or caught illnesses) were moments stolen ‘just for us’, carefree, unforgettable.
    One of these gifts I passed on to my son. We went every day of summer down to the lake and I would stay with him under a large tree, on a plaid, and we would share the joy of looking up through those gently moving leaves, the shadows passing, the sunrays shining through the roof of the tree, I would tell him about all the flying and crawling little creatures. He became a landscape gardener!

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    1. My son grew up in NY, but by the time he was in his late teens, he came up here and has been here ever since. Most of his life — and all of my granddaughter’s life — has been in central Massachusetts. My granddaughter is afraid of cities. She grew up in this little town and doesn’t know how to cope with traffic or crowds or noise. Cities are great for growing up. Always interesting stuff to do!

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  3. yeah I remember the lazy days of summer when I was a kid. We would run around even in more than 100F. Looking back, I’m amazed.

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    1. I remember the couple of times it got to 100F or more, which was no frequently though it was definitely very hot most of the summer — over 90 usually. We didn’t move at all. We just lay in the shade waiting for a thunderstorm to clear the air!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here we have a “dry heat” but that’s no picnic either. Instead of walking in a sauna, you feel like you are walking in a burning furnace. People have to remember to drink water because it’s easy to get dehydrated in Arizona.

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  4. So you’re a New Englander. I should have guessed. I’ve always felt I was a native New Englander born and living in exile in the Midwest. Love the culture of the Northeast. Respect for nature and history . . .travel there whenever I can. (and your childhood was in Israel?) I remember those lazy summer days we survived without air conditioning – my house still doesn’t have it. Thought I’d be older than this before I went on about “the good old days”, but the process of change has sped up quickly. This addiction to technology keeps kids indoors these days – they miss so much. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos and thoughts.

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    1. Actually, I’m a New Yorker — born and bred and so is Garry. Garry moved up here in 1968, first to Hartford and then to Boston in 1970 .

      In 1978 I moved to Jerusalem and was there for 9 years. Came back to New York, then up here to Massachusetts. I actually missed winter in Israel. I would NOT miss it now!

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  5. Summer seemed to last forever when we were children, though over-heated days were pretty rare in England. Then suddenly September would descend and it would be back to school, and all downhill to winter. Now it’s hard to know what will happen – as you say. Also we do run ourselves ragged with stuff to be done. We forget that we can take a holiday at home if we make up our minds to. Everyone needs a good rest.

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    1. This year, there isn’t going to be much resting. Garry’s surgery and rehab will take up most of the time and whatever we can get done on this crumbling old house will take up the rest. Summer is also shorter here and winter colder and much more snowy. And when I was a kid, my parents took care of the house. It was a LOT easier when they did all the work and I got all the play time 🙂

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  6. It’s so true, growing up, summer seemed to last forever! Winter’s through extremely cold, were fun with snowmen and women, walks along frozen rivers, skating across a frozen lake. As you get older, I find anyway, the winter seems endless, summer goes to fast and spring and fall are but a blink of an eye. Still, I love the seasons and having moved here, I once again can enjoy them all 🙂 Loved this representation of the seasons, Marilyn. Lovely indeed!

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    1. Summer was definitely longer, hotter, slower. And winter wasn’t quite as bad, though it was bad enough, but I think I’ve blanked it from my mind!

      These days, we have so much to deal with in the summer, it just vanishes, especially where we get SO much more snow than we did when we were young. New York is much less blizzardy than New England!

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      1. I’ve watched New England for years, always been fascinated with the area and I’ve watched the weather changes. Which of course are happening everywhere, but more so it seems in areas with a massive change in seasons.

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        1. I think it’s more obvious in areas where the weather is extreme, but you also see it in places like California and the southwest where the rain doesn’t fall … or it floods. I suspect we are just seeing the tip of a very large ice berg and there will eventually be nowhere on earth unaffected.

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  7. My father had his own business so during the summer, in order to keep my brother and I occupied and out of trouble, we went to work too. The time off for summer was when we went to my uncle’s and grandparent’s farm. Of course there were a lot of things to do there too. My favourite was gathering the eggs from the chicken coup.
    Leslie

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    1. I didn’t have anything to do except keep out of my mother’s way. She liked to read, so she’d find a shady spot on the patio and get serious about books. My job was to NOT because that’s what I did the rest of the year. I was supposed to get some exercise. Which we did, if it wasn’t too hot. Otherwise, it was monopoly or a bit later, bridge with childhood cheating (we showed our partners our cards, but we were 10, after all). We hosed each other down and sometimes, someone’s mother, the couple who could drive, took us to the beach … but not very often. Mostly, it was slow and there were a lot of board games and summer was much longer than it is these days.

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