Wednesday, May 22, 2024

nostalgic summers

 


Happy Wednesday to you, friends! I was catching up on blog reading over the weekend and was inspired to write this post by my friend Debbie over at her blog, Millie's Cozy Cottage. I wanted to share some of my favorite nostalgic summer memories, along with some things that I love to do right now that my sons are grown. Stay tuned, because I want you to chime in at the end of the post! I'll get started with the things I love about summer, starting with when I was a young girl. 




When I was young, my dad worked for man who owned several vacation properties, including a condo in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Every few weekends, we would load up in Dad's car and head to the lake. The condo was right on the lake, in a place called Beacon Manor; we would swim, and ride on the pontoon boat. Dad would motor out to a cove, and we would have a picnic lunch and spend the day swimming in the beautiful and clean lake. It was the best way to spend a summer weekend, and it's why to this day I am a lake person. It's also why I love to read books set in the summer and involving a lake, like the one you'll see pictured down toward the bottom of this post. These books bring back all kinds of nostalgic memories for me! Sometimes on these weekends it was just Dad and me, sometimes it was Dad, Trish, and me, and other times it was Dad, a friend of mine, and me. If I took a friend, it was almost always Stacy, who is pictured above. Later on it would sometimes be Dad, Sandy, Trish, Angie, and me...but more about that in a few minutes.


Left to right in the picture above are Dad, Sandy, my best friend from birth Stacy, and her mom Barbara. Either I took the picture or Stacy's dad Larry did, but we were both there as well, even if we aren't pictured. 




This was her dad, Larry. I loved this man and how he loved people! I can hear his voice as I look at this picture. It's hard to imagine her parents being in Heaven now. 


Hot Springs would eventually be the place where Dad met Sandy, my step-mom; it happened while he was teaching me how to dive into the deep end. I'd just mastered my best dive yet, and when I went to ask if he'd seen it, he was nowhere to be found! Well, not really, but he was talking to this pretty lady in a striped bathing suit like the one you see above; she had long red hair and she was wearing a swimsuit just like this one above and maybe even the same huge beach hat. 


Sandy was there staying in her dad's condo for the weekend, which was something she did regularly in the summer with my now step-sister Angie. Sandy's family "just so happened" to own a condo in the same building as the one we used, Beacon Manor. When she wasn't at the lake, Sandy lived about fifteen minutes away from Dad's house; they started dating a few weeks after they first met, and a few years later, they eloped to marry either at Lake Tahoe or in Reno, Nevada, where Dad always went for work trips. You see why Hot Springs holds such a special place in my heart! Angie was probably with Sandy on that summer trip when they met, but I can't remember for certain. I also have a stepbrother named Rod, but he didn't live at home with them anymore.


Back then summer meant going to the lake, making our annual vacation to Jacksonville (Florida), friends and fireworks, late night swims, Capri Sun pouch drinks, Kool Aid galore, roller skating, going to the mall, listening to music on the boom boxes that we all had, Goldfish crackers, amusement park rides with friends, looking for boys driving in Jeeps (🤣 I wish I was kidding), movies at the theater or drive-in, talking on the phone half the night, and making requests for songs on the radio.



When the boys were little, we loved to load up the car and head to mom-in-love's neighborhood pool to swim. Sometimes it was just the four of them and me, but most of the time we had extras. Some summers we would take weekend trips to the same Hot Springs that I mentioned earlier. We loved taking them and they loved being out on the lake. For them summer meant tons of friends over at our house, late night movies and playing basketball or jumping on the trampoline, 24/7 snacks and drinks, church camps, summer mission trips, vacation Bible school which later turned into backyard kids clubs, summer bucket lists, late night swims at Mimi's and Papa's house, Big Daddy's inaugural slip-n-slide into summer and grilling out and then swimming at his and Nana's, going to see their dad's emergency vehicles at the SCSO base, and did I mention all the snacks?!



Summer to me will always include me being in a body of water; I'm not particular at all and will swim anywhere! I am so grateful to start this summer off with swimming at friends' houses who live nearby, and whose dogs Jonah is watching. One is a neighbor across the street where I swam on Monday morning, then again that night, then last night, and hopefully again today! The other house is a few streets over at his best friend's parent's house; we'll have access to their pool this weekend and part of next week, then the next weekend and two weeks after we'll be back watching the neighbor's dogs. 







They have the sweetest dogs and the most beautiful tropical flowers in their backyard, like this hibiscus above. 



Summer still means nostalgic movies to me, like my favorite movie of all time, Dirty Dancing. 



Summer will always bring back memories of the driveway at home looking like this; I can hear their laughter as I look at this picture.




Summer will always bring back memories of the long days and nights spent out on our trampoline. We would sit out there for hours, back in those days, just talking and jumping on occasion. Crash loved it as much as the boys did; look at his spry young self when he was one year old! Also, know that this picture is the proof of why he now has bionic body parts. 🤣 He wore his little body out with all the jumping that he loved to do like in this picture above! 





Speaking of Crash, I remember fondly taking him on sunset drives last year and will do the same this summer. He loves to ride and to sniff the air! We drove to a park on this particular night and watched the sun go down. 




He used to love going to Mimi's house with us! The boys and I loved to swim together, have picnics in different parks in our area, and we always looked forward to our Fridays with my Dad. We did fun things each week and had so much fun on those outings. We loved the zoo, the children's museum, and sometimes we'd go downtown and let the boys run around through sprinklers that were in a pretty part of the city. On days when it was too hot to be outside, we would see a movie or we'd go to an indoor museum and recline in the chairs in the planetarium while they learned about stars and planets; without fail, every time we did this, Dad and I would both fall asleep, because it was dark and cool inside there. One time we swam with Dad in my neighbor's pool! I had a slight heart attack when he dove into the deep end; the boys and I were all positioned in the deep end surrounding him, in case we needed to rescue him. 🤣 Of course he was fine, doing a perfect dive into the deep end at a young eighty-three years of age. 




You've read about and seen this tree before, but to me, the unofficial start of summer is when this Golden Rain Drop tree starts to bloom with these yellow flowers. This resides on my church's property, and the flowering blooms last part of May, all of June, and by the first of July, they're drying up and falling off for another season. 




Summer means reading all of the summery books!









Summer is the scent of coconut, sunscreen, or anything beach related. 






Summer is doing fun things that I normally wouldn't do in the other times of year, like taking mini road trips with Dad or dining al fresco as much as possible while the weather is still nice. Now that everyone is grown up, summer means that I travel with a girlfriend now, or I'll drove alone to meet my friend at the beach. As sad as that may sound, I promise that I actually love this phase of life; who'd have thought that the late forties would be so much fun and provide me with so much energy?? I am truly loving life at the moment, and living my best life as a wife, a mom of adult sons, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. This summer I hope to make it to the beach once! I would love to take a quick weekend trip with Todd to Hot Springs, Arkansas; I would love to make a one night or day trip to Columbia, Tennessee with my mom and sisterTrish, and I'm flying to Denver for three nights in July. 


It's your turn now; what does summer mean to you? I'd love to hear some of your favorite memories from years gone by and learn whether or not you have plans this summer. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 


Jenn 💙💚


P.s. Check out our stunning hydrangeas! Summer will also always mean beautiful flowers like these two pictures below. 





16 comments:

  1. No fair! Now you really have me in the summer mood! I have 3 more long and boring days with students! Then, teachers go back the Tuesday after Memorial Day! Ha!

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    1. But you're so close you can almost taste it, right?! I'm just giving you a few things to look forward to in a few days! Do you have to go back just for one day after Memorial day? Remember last year when your year would never end, it seemed?? I'm glad it's not like that this year!

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  2. Hey! Thanks for the shout out :) I loved reading about your summer memories! I love all the memories that summer brings and every new summer morning I get the same feeling. By the way...that pool is gorgeous! And the yard is amazing! I love swimming in a pool and have great memories of summers in Jr. High. We lived in some apartments and my friends and I would meet at the pool and literally swim the entire day. It was so much fun.

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    1. You're welcome! You were totally the inspiration behind this one, so thank you for that! I love a pool, any pool, really, but this one is spectacular. I feel so fortunate to be able to start our summer off this way! That's such a fun memory for you, regarding a pool!

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  3. You are full on summer mode! I haven't had the chance to swim yet, but hope to a few days this summer. Have a good Wednesday!

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    1. I really am, thanks to all the swimming this week! It's been so hot here already; you know humidity and I don't get alone.

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  4. OH everything about this post is gold- love reading your summer memories- i love memories of our childhood with our family pool and the smell of lilacs and fireworks and popsicles and doing all of those things with my girls now too :)

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    1. Thanks, Holly! I love your memories, too. Summer is always so magical!

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  5. So many great memories...but I have to say YES your hydrangeas are stunning!! We have tried multiple times to grow them but they just don't like us. Sigh. I can see why the lake is so special for you. I have some great lake memories as well but not nearly as many. We were neighborhood community pool people (when I was little and when my kids were little)...but, yes, I am totally enjoying this phase of life too!! Thanks for sharing all your summer fun!!

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    1. Thanks, Jen!! I love them so much. I love that you have lake memories, too! We also belonged to a community pool, and those days spent there were some of the most fun of my summer. I'm glad you enjoyed the post today!

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  6. My favorite summer memories are from the years we lived in Belgium. April through October, every Friday night, we headed up to our caravan at the beach. We swam in the English Channel, made sandcastles, and played with our friends whose parents also spent their summer weekends at the caravan park, hiking through the sand dunes to check out old German bunkers. Saturday morning, we'd head to the nearest seaside town for the market and Saturday night we would take a big pot down to the office/restaurant/shop and pick up freshly cooked frites and bring them back to enjoy with dinner. If the weather didn't cooperate, we'd play board games or go into the town to see a movie. It was a magical place to spend our summers. I need to do a blog post now that I have my slides all digitized and can include photos with my post.

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    1. I loved hearing about your memories, Pamela! I was reading your comment and thought about the book Every Summer After by Carley Fortune. Have you read it? It's so similar to your childhood memories! I would love to read more about this on your blog!

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  7. You captured so many great summer memories that I remember too. For me, it was reading out on the hammock, trips to the neighborhood pool, going to six flags, and riding my bike. And listening to my boombox! For my kids, it was the neighborhood pool and later our own, VBS, afternoons under the ceiling fan, and summer camp. Loved this post!

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    1. Thanks, Tanya! I love that we enjoyed all the same things. Weren't we fortunate to have the kind of summers we had? I feel so bad that this young generation is missing out on some great things like we experienced.

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  8. It sounds like you had some great summers. What wonderful memories. Summer days were the best and this post has got me longing for some sunshine. It's grey and raining here at the moment.

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    1. I did! I love looking back on those memories. I hope you get some of that sunshine soon! I don't know what I'd do without it for long periods of time.

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