Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summertime, and the living isn't as easy as it was.

I grew up in a small town called Ringwood, about 30 miles northwest of New York City. It was close enough to the city that we had a lot of NYC transplants in the town -- and close enough that "the city" unambiguously refers -- and far enough away that we didn't have any traffic lights. Ringwood was a great place to grow up right up until you turned 15, when you were ready to leave but not yet old enough to have a driver's license.

Ringwood was the kind of town where people went into their houses in October and didn't come out again until late April, which may be why I find that almost all my memories of growing up that are anything like nostalgic take place in the summertime. Summer days were all the same and run together in my head into one big blur that is 14 years long, and yet I have enough individual memories of every-day activities that in reality they could not have all taken place every day. There are the Choctaw Trail memories -- running around outside with all the other kids on the block, playing all the games I mentioned in my previous blog post as well as several others; having sleepovers with my neighbor Colleen; running through the sprinkler on my front lawn -- and there are the Cupsaw Lake memories -- swimming lessons and volleyball lessons and arts and crafts and learning to twirl baton yes twirl baton and swimming out to the faraway docks after hours to play all the games that the lifeguards didn't allow during the day. I remember the year that Kool-Aid filmed a commercial at the lake and donated waterslides, I remember swim meets against other lakes, and I remember Paul, the hot lifeguard with a whistle-twirling problem.

So the thing that's totally weird about all this Ringwood stuff is that it formed my idea of what summer is supposed to be. I have occasional and fuzzy memories of other times of year, of individual events and stuff that happened in school, but it doesn't have the same sense of permanence in my memory. The school memories feel totally distinct from the memories of the place that I grew up, maybe because in my case they mostly were (since after the age of 12, I no longer went to school in Ringwood). But I always come back to the summer stuff like a junkie looking for a better fix; whatever summer is like now, it can't measure up.


Blogger ajb1102 said...

Do you remember what year it was when the kool-aid commercial was filmed at cupsaw lake, or even just a general time period?

12:19 PM  

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