Since we are still very much in the midst of summer I decided that this week’s memory prompt would be anything I could remember about summer vacations when I was a child. What follows is in no particular order, just as they pop into my head. This is a great way to prime your own memory pump – give yourself a category such as this – and then just brain dump everything that comes out. One memory often leads to another.

When I think of summertime back when my grandfather was alive it always had to do with fishing and going out on the boat and skimming along though sloughs out on the delta near Antioch. We’d stop at his duck pond first, where he and my uncles had their duck blinds, and Papa would rack a bucket of clams from the clam bed that we could use for bait. Then off we’d go to some semi-secluded beach. My mom, my grandparents and sometimes my uncles and their wives/girlfriends, but often just us. I would divide my time between trying to sit still to fish, following my grandmother and my mom went they collecting berries, or playing in the water.

Summertime meant the PowWow parade that marched right down the corner of my street, just a few house away, so we always had the best view. And it would end up at the high school with the Boy Scout Jamboree. Fireworks were watched from the roof of the shed.

I remember hot tar bubbling up between the cracks in the sidewalk between the street and our front porch. I remember the bees that swarmed daily on the Lippia grass. I would often get stung because I would refuse to wear shoes.

I remember swimming lessons in some guy’s backyard pool, I think his name was John. I hated him, hated the lessons. When I was older (and could actually swim) I remember going to Meadow Homes pool and spending the day hanging out by the pool. I could get an ice cream sandwich from the vending machine and for some reason they always tasted better there than anywhere else.

At home summertime meant sleeping in, unless my grandmother had chores for me and she ALWAYS had chores. Summers were usually a lonely time for me when I was little as there were no kids in our neighborhood at all. (We lived in the grandparents part of town.) My mom sent me to the city day camp and I got ribbons in fire building, archery, potato peeling and lots of them for running. What I remember most about daycamp was that it was the only time I got to have Kool Aid. The counselors would mix it in these tall old milk jugs and we would get to drink some on the way from camp to the swimming pool.

After my grandfather died my mom, grandmother and I would go on vacations for a week or two. Every other year it was a kid-friendly one like Disneyland. The other years it was an adult one where I could guarantee I would be bored. We also took day trips to Frontier Village and Santa’s Village and the Nut Tree.

Since my mom worked and my grandmother was always busy with chores, I spent a lot of my summertime on my own. Often this meant doing reading or doing craft projects. On rare occasions my aunt Pat would actually allow me to spend a summer day with my cousins at their house in the county. I remember catching lizards and thinking that was some of the very best fun of all.

Toward the end of summer my grandmother and I would walk to BeeDees where she would pick out material and patterns that she would use to make my clothes for the coming school year. A trip to Rhodes department store for my winter coat and I was usually ready to go.

As I got older, tween and teen years, summers just meant more time with the horses or at the skating rink.

Your turn. What are some of your childhood summertime memories?