Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - Summer Memory 1963, Age Eight

It's the first day of summer. Summer mornings bring back memories of home.

I wake to my open window as the sun and a cool morning breeze hit my white cotton curtains. They sway in the air, nudging me from my dreams. I stretch, enjoying the morning coolness that will be gone all too soon from this summer scene, and then lay still to listen for the noise of others in the house. Hearing nothing, I sit up, put my feet on the smooth wooden floor, and gaze out the window in front of me. I'm looking for my mother. After a few moments perusing the straight rows of corn, potatoes, beats, beans, and other assorted vegetables, I spot white fabric billowing in the breeze. I know it must be Mom's housecoat I've spied between the single row of fruit trees and the blackberry bushes that stretch the length of our small grove. 
Shari (8), Kristi (6), Laurie (3)

I open the door and step out into the hall where I can see my little sisters, still sleeping in their twin beds, through the slightly open door across from mine. It won't be long before they wake and the house becomes active and full of life. 

As I walk past my parents' room, I notice their bed is neatly made and ready for the day. The windows have been opened and the single air-conditioner, that has run through the night in my parents' window, is getting a rest; waiting for the sun to make its way to the room's west windows. Dad's watch, pocket protector with his pens and mechanical pencils, and change for his pocket are no longer in their spot on the corner of the dresser; a sure sign that he has already left for work for the day. 

I make my way through the living room with its large picture window, on through the dining room, and into the kitchen. Every room looks, smells, and feels like summer.
My Mom is nowhere to be found in those rooms but I see signs of her presence. The double doors in the dining room lead to the backyard. They are open and doing their best to bring in cool air before the afternoon heat takes over. A coffee cup with a brown liquid ring sits on the kitchen table next to a small plate displaying evidence of toast with jelly; a crumpled paper napkin completing the picture. 

Vera Dibbens Johnson
I continue past the churning washing machine in the utility room and out the wooden screen door that leads to the north side of the house. I feel the cool morning breeze as it penetrates my summer pajamas. The small porch sits comfortably between two large flowerbeds full of columbines and snap dragons. English ivy has wound it's tendrils over the red brick of the north wall for so many years that the brick is no longer visible.

I run barefoot, down the steps and into the wet grass, on my way to the garden; our collie, Laddie, matching my steps on the other side of the chain link fence.

As I scan the garden again, I spot Mom bending over a row of snap beans. Her fingers working quickly to pull the ripe pods from their branches. She has nearly finished filling the large plastic bowl. She looks up and smiles as I come to stand beside her on the soft, cool garden soil. I help her finish filling the big bowl and we head for the kitchen where I will help her snap the ends off of the fresh beans. 

As my sisters bounce into the kitchen, I know the rest of the day will be full of summer activity. But, the early morning time with Mom cements the rich memories in my mind forever. 


  1. Some of my favorite summer memories also take place in that garden and kitchen. Blackberries, potatoes, cucumbers (or "pickles" that I thought they were once), green onions, and my favorite of all - purple beets! Chasing lightening bugs, running in the newly mowed lawn and playing hide and seek well after dark are my other favorites. Thanks for bringing this all back and sharing!

    1. So it wasn't a dream! I actually sometimes dream about the house and yard like it was during the first years we lived on Charles. I liked all of those vegetables except one! You can keep the pickles/cucumbers in YOUR memories! I refuse to write them into mine! :)

    2. Oh my! I can so see Emily in your mom's face!

  2. Clark enjoyed your photos and I really liked your story!

    1. Thanks, Lori! I hope you guys are having a great summer! Tell Clark I said "hi!".