Tub O’ Soda, 10″ x 10″ Oil on gessobord
Original page from Michne Camping Log, 1971
My father kept our camping log all the years we camped. This page has the story of the day I won the “floating mattress!”
It was July 16, 1971. The perfect summer day as I recall. My father was hosting the annual work picnic. I won a green raft that day for my athletic ability in the egg race! It was my biggest claim to fame as a 9 year old. I remember reaching into a tub of iced cold soda with what seemed like every variety ever invented. It was sheer heaven- all the FREE SODA I could drink! Pull the ring tab- wear it on your finger for a bit before carelessly dropping it somewhere in the grass. Take that long first sip…..ahhhhhhhhhh. Life was good.
Who’s Thirsty? 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
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?”
Cherry Kool-Aid, 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
Making Kool-Aid was hit-or-miss. First, you had to have packet. Chances are, we didn’t have enough sugar to fill the measuring cup. Next, to find the pitcher- (dump out whatever old drink was brewing in that!) After accidentally snorting the unsweetened powder when you opened it, get your spoon, add sugar, stir, then pray that you would have ice in the ice-cube maker! If all was right with the world, you would have the perfect sugary cup of cherry Kool-Aid. All in a summer’s days work!
Frozen Pink Lemonade
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.
Coke and a Smile. 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
Detail: Coke and a Smile.
I feel for this generation that didn’t get to experience the Real Thing. The commercial- apple trees, honey bees and snow white turtle doves. Everyone knows things go better with Coke. Especially the mountains! Taking a freezing cold Coke out of a galvanized bucket of ice- there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer’s day. It adds life! It’s a natural! This video clip says it all! Classic Coke Commercial- Thank you Don Draper!
Twist with Chocolate Sprinkles, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Vanilla, Chocolate or Twist. That was it. You could add sprinkles (chocolate) or have it dipped. Of course, you could go to the fancy place that had both hard and soft ice cream. You could get strawberry, chocolate chip, pistachio, maybe butter pecan. The “Ma & Pa” icecream joints of yesteryear seem to be doing fairly well, but to stay with the trends, they have added all kinds of “swirly-making” machinery. Now, it seems if you can imagine it, they can make an icecream cone from it. Soft-serve ice cream is one of summer’s “must haves”. Everyone has their own personal preference- vanilla, chocolate, twist, dip, sprinkles-chocolate, rainbow…the list now is mindboggling. That’s why I still stick with the usual…”Twist, with chocolate sprinkles, please?”
Genius, Tupperware! 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Tupperware parties were a cultural phenomenon when I was a kid. My mother, along with all her housewife friends would get together on some random weekday, have drinks and fawn over Tupperware’s life changing products! But my personal favorite is the Popsicle maker! All you had to do was fill the tiny cups, place the sticks in and ever so carefully place them into the freezer. Before you knew it, you had a frozen popsicle that would take 2 minutes to eat! On a hot summer day, I’m sure the mom’s loved making that at-home treat! Next…to Comet the stained counter tops from the Kool-aid needed to make the pops!
Cinnamon Toast with Wonder Bread, 6″ x 6″ on gesso board
If you weren’t feeling too lazy, why not jazz up regular toast with some cinnamon sugar? A few slices of Wonder Bread, some butter if we were lucky, but it was usually margarine, cinnamon and sugar made the summer vacation a bit more exciting! This was a step above cereal as a breakfast alternative. French toast and waffles were next and pancakes- real pancakes made from the box! But cinnamon toast was great anytime. I remember experimenting at a friends with cinnamon sugar! We used confectionary sugar, butter and cinnamon and made a paste. To this day, I remember how that taste. We would eat it by the spoonful. I’ve grown up (some) but still love the taste of perfectly made cinnamon toast.