We didn’t have water bottles- there was no sippy box, pouch or fancy energy drink. If you were outside playing, and you were thirsty, you would simply turn on the spigot, bend down a bit, wait for about 10 seconds until the cold water reached the end of the hose, then take a long, long gulp swallowing, swallowing and swallowing. Of course, you would then offer the hose to the next sweaty, out of breath neighborhood friend. If you were on your game that day, you might remember to turn off the hose. Or, your father might step in huge puddle and yell out ” Who left the dam hose on?”
After ripping the plastic strip off the can, removing the aluminum disk from the end, I would hold that can for a few seconds then wait for the “scccuuuupppppp” sound as the plop of pink creamy ice fell into the pitcher. I remember being in such a hurry to make it that filling 3 whole cans of water seemed like an eternity. The sticky, gooey mess would be left on the counter, along with whatever utensil could find to make it. Then, after selecting a glass as impressive as this pink drink, I would find the perfect spot to enjoy it. The ritual involved with pink lemonade hasn’t changed much and while buying a carton may seem easier, there is something about the canned frozen pink lemonade that remains my prefered method of classic, summer-must enjoyment.
If you only read one of my blog posts, read this. This was a summer I will cherish forever. I made tangible the fond memories of my childhood, and hopefully yours, too. The story doesn’t end here. I hope to publish or license the images via a book encompassing these paintings along with the American cultural phenomenon during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Plus, I want a cool t-shirt with the salt water taffy painting on it! You may be wondering if I have a favorite. No, I don’t. There are a few that as an artist, I struggled with technically. But I’ll let you guess which ones those are. Tomorrow, I start a new job at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, NY. I will be teaching art. I was an art student in the very wing I will be teaching in. It is where I attended school my entire childhood. I find it fitting that as “Summer as it was….” wraps up, it might as well be 1972 and tomorrow, I am going back to school. I hope you enjoyed these paintings. I hope they triggered a memory or a smile. I will be making available prints and am looking for a venue to show the entire collection. Thank you to all who “liked” or took the time to leave a comment. I also want to thank Peter Fiore who inspired me and challenged me to paint every day for 100 days. I painted for 70 days and, well, that’s works too! For now, it’s time to order more paint and start the next project!
It happens every year, but as soon as I see that first green leaf turn to red, I’m always a bit in shock. Already? Seems like summer has just started. As a kid, I don’t think I was terribly aware of summer ending by the changing foliage. I think the crickets chirping a bit slower and it getting dark earlier made more of an impression on me. And going back to school shopping. I remember sitting in the Colonie Center parking lot with my brothers and sister while my parents went shopping in Sears for Toughskins. I would stare at the Macy’s and Sears signs and try to picture how big those letters really were. With my two new outfits, and my red Tartan plaid bookbag, I was ready to start school…in Summer as it Was…
Every kid at some point needs to eat a Twinkie. I know, I know….they are terrible for you! But, have you ever had a Twinkie with an iced-cold glass of milk? Yeah, they are still terrible. Twinkies were part of “normal” childhood-or what I thought all the normal, cool kids had! I had to include Twinkies, Of Course in the Summer As It Was. And now, I think I’ll pour a nice glass of milk!
Walking among Adirondack pines, I can not help but feel I’m in my “happy place”. The fragrant smells as you brush pine trees, the chirping of bird (which I can never find), and the sunlight that manages to break through the towering trees to reach the floor of the woods fills me with gratefulness. Looking straight up through the trees is its own experience-almost dizzying. As a kid, I remember going on a few hikes. We would fill a canteen and wear it around our neck. My father could identify every tree. He would pick up a rock and tell you the geological formation from which it originated. He could hear a bird and identify it’s call, if heard only once. He is pretty much a walking Almanac of information. It’s sad that the things so available in nature aren’t shared as much as they used to be. Now, we hike with our phones. I am guilty as charged-for without my phone, I wouldn’t have taken this photo. A short walk on Hammond Pond trail yielded the most amazing views…especially up.
Taking that first step into a pool elicits the best reactions. All I know is there is nothing better on a hot day than taking a swim. Growing up, we had above-ground pools. Many of them, or so I seem to recall. My father would work into the night spouting his most colorful language. Then the hose would lay in the bottom and eventually, it would fill with the most frigid water. We would take that first step on the ladder and stick our toes in. If we were lucky, we would get an invite to the local community pool at Clifton Knolls-Barney Road, to be exact. Well, I visited there yesterday (yes, I was lucky enough to get an invite). The pool hasn’t changed much…and taking that first step from the ladder was brutal…for about 10 seconds. But gliding into that water, I was ten again. With the sounds of the splashing, the spring of the diving board, kids laughing, footsteps on wet cement…no better way to spend at least one summer’s day.