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!
Remember Saratoga Vichy Water? Well, they also made Saratoga Ginger Ale! Of course, everyone had the Vichy water. My mother had it for every “adult” party. Each time there was a spill, it was “Grab the Vichy water!!” Not gonna lie, we usually had Canada Dry Ginger Ale. I resurrected this bottle from the Round Lake Antique Fest and thought I’d put the little sister of Vichy in the spotlight. What is Vichy water, anyway?
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!
First Step, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
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.
Be Careful! 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
If there is any phrase I heard most in my life, it was “Be careful!” It didn’t really matter what we were doing, we were bound to hear those two words. I’m sure someone at the Saf-T Lollipop company worried, in 1942, that toddlers would choke on their candy, hence the handy loop! Walking on a dock near water with a lollipop would have nearly put my mother over the edge. I wonder if a Saf-T lollipop would have put her fears to rest? Probably not. I can hear her chorus of “Ooo, be carfeful, easy, be careful, watch your step….honey…take your time…careful, careful…….” “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s a Saf-T pop!”
Lake George’s Minne-Ha-Ha, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Lake George is so much more than America’s Queen of Lakes. It provides more memories and evokes such nostalgic feelings for it’s millions of adorers. A boat ride on the Minne-Ha-Ha is an absolute must once in your lifetime. Of course, seeing the majestic lake is an awe inspiring sight. However, your other senses will become alive on this trip! The boat toot-toots melodies from another era. The hot (boiling!) steam sprinkles on your shoulders should you sit near it’s steam pipes, the paddles churn water, and the bellow of it’s deep whistle upon launching will awake your inner child. Yes, yes, this is the ultimate tourist trap, but once in a while, you just have to give in and enjoy the ride.
The Sprinkler, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
There was always the sprinkler. On super hot days, the sprinkler was seen more as an “at home” amusement rather than something to use for watering the lawn. Of course you could run through it, but the most fun was the dare to see how long you could stand under it while the freezing cold water fell on you. There is something about the sound of a “good” sprinkler that evokes all the magic of childhood, even though the sprinkler I painted made no sound, unless it would hit a metal roof, or a wheel barrel, or the pavement in making its arc of water. For watering the lawn, a sprinkler is a fine piece of suburban artifact-but for hours of sheer joy, a sprinkler deserves a top ten rating for its enjoyment factor!