In my memory, every night in August was a hot August night.
We didn’t have A/C or even ceiling fans back then. I can remember tossing and turning in bed, waiting for the night to get cool enough for sleep. I’d move around on my narrow bed, trying to find a cool spot, flipping my pillow again and again. The hot, dry heat was so thick, even the thinnest sheet felt heavy.
Eventually I would fall asleep and sometime during the night it would cool enough for me to need to pull up the blanket I’d kicked off.
Back then, the days felt endless. (In a way they were, because the sun didn’t set until after ten.) We knew school would be starting after Labor Day, so we tried to make the summer last. We’d play late, play hard.
Every now and again we’d get yanked inside to try on school clothes. Back then, girls wore dresses to school, which my mom made for us. Ankle socks and Mary Janes, and at some point, a home perm so our hair would be easy care for Our Mom. (I don’t ever remember liking school, though I am glad I learned to read.)
And always at the end of August, my birthday. I am less excited by that now. Lol
My memories are like sepia shots from a movie about someone else.
- Playing Matchbox cars on the then-dirt street.
- Running through the vacant lot next to the house and sending the grasshoppers jumping in all directions.
- Lining up for swimming lessons (for me a very blurry memory because I wore glasses).
- Lying in the shade of a tree, either on the cool green grass or spreading out a blanket so we wouldn’t lose our Barbie shoes (we did anyway – but always only one of the pair).
- Swinging so high it seemed like we could touch the clouds (on dangerous but very fun swings).
- The music of the ice cream truck approaching.
Sometimes I close my eyes and try to remember how I felt, what I hoped for back then. I can’t seem to climb back inside that person and feel what she felt anymore. It’s like the strands of what I was have woven into who I am now. I can look at them, I can guess how I must have felt, but I can’t separate them into then and now.
I just am.
But when I turn of the lights at night and open the window, waiting for the air to cool, I hear…echoes of that little girl tossing in her bed on a hot, August night.
Can you dive back into your younger self and remember how it felt when summer came to an end?
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