Summertime Memories

I recently received one of those wonderful junk e-mails about getting to know your friends. You know the one… where you list your favorite soda pop, movie, eye color, etc. etc.  Well this one in particular asked you to list your favorite childhood memory. Now, I have issues (and which of us does not?),  I cannot retain certain memories for very long.  If you give me a start with a couple of details then I can run with it, but to just pop up with a memory, I will just look at you with a blank stare. Pathetic but true. This particular question, however, I did not delay in my response and knew immediately which of my memories would top out all of the others…

Summertime with the cousins.

My grandparents lived on a farm. They raised Berkshire hogs (Grandma says that they weren’t Berkshire but I clearly remember a hat that said ‘Todd Berkshires’ and this is my recollection so I’m standing firm on this one!), and grew peach & prune trees on several acres in the Manzanita area. Each year my cousins from the north, Gerald, Melissa & James, and the cousins from the south Becki & KC would come to visit with their parents. Now I don’t remember if B&K’s parents did this but GM&J’s parents stopped at the road, kicked my darling cousins out and encouraged them to run down the long driveway to Grandma & Grandpa’s green house {remember the matching green piano cousins?}. The arrival of the cousins meant that we would have constant playmates… to run barefooted in the freshly made checks (small mounds made to keep irrigation water in-check and not running everywhere), to share in the gorging of ourselves in the ripe peaches, to pick blackberries for yummy cobblers, or to climb in the broken overloaded prune branches that littered the field (and as many times as they said that the prunes would give us a tummy ache… they never did – crazy parents).  Boy, those were the days…

At night we would play hide and seek in the peach field, screaming and running like little filthy heathens to base. I remember finding an old cow trough out in the barn that we tried to fill and make into a swimming pool, not caring that it was full of cracks and only a couple of feet deep… it was PERFECT at the time. There was a chicken coop under a fig tree, where the chickens laid blue-green eggs and we would race out to see what we could find each day. The pigs were another story… the flies were so bad that they covered the barn walls, and there was a manure ditch for the waste that sort of flowed into the ditch out back… Occasionally a visitor would come for a pig and Grandpa would go out and shoot one so that they could cook it for their celebration. We weren’t supposed to go out there, but we went into stealth mode (as much as several giggling kids can) sneaking close and could hear everything. You had to be careful of the electric fences (and yes, if you touch it with a weed, it WILL shock you), and Aunt Tanya’s drink called Green Lightening, or something like that… whatever it was… it was STRONG stuff and to be avoided (I’m sure that the adults loved it, but my unpolished palate did not… sorry Tanya).

We fit so much into the short time that we visited that I’m frankly shocked that I remember so much! One of the things we did with Grandpa Bob was to go to the Candy Store (which technically was not a Candy Store but a tiny country store around the corner)… He would have us all load up into the back of his old tan truck (In those days kids always piled into the truck bed, what were our parents thinking?) and he’d drive one mile down the road to the Manzanita Market where we would pick out a candy each, and sometimes even get a soda, then we would drive all the way back to the farm. There we would either find a tree to play under or go inside the house to lay on one of Grandma Arlene’s vinyl couches (you got to choose the red or the tan one) in front of the air conditioner. There was an old zenith tv to watch, with a lovely star shaped clock above it right out of the 50’s-60’s. Those were the days!

I love that we built our home next door to that old farm, which holds so many memories for me… Sometimes, in the evenings those wonderful smells of the summer bring me right back to that place in time when life was so blissfully innocent. I think that it’s rather comforting that my children, and my nieces and nephews are able to share now in creating their own memories on the same plot of land, enjoying the same smells of summer in their own way that are sure to be remembered for a lifetime. They run around barefoot, like we did, play hide & seek, like we did and they occasionally get a trip to the Candy Store too! I guess moments like these are timeless! Thank you to whoever sent me that junk e-mail… I needed to take a minute to ponder the past. If any of you cousins have any photos of our adorable selves, send me a copy… I can’t find any good ones!

One of my cousins shared this pic with me shortly after I wrote this piece...  this would be me (top center) my brothers, and the cousins from the south, all waiting in the back of the tan farm truck where we would ride up to the candy store.

One of my cousins shared this pic with me shortly after I wrote this piece… this would be me (top center) my brothers, and the cousins from the south, all waiting in the back of the tan farm truck where we would ride up to the candy store.

This is our candy store about 30 years later.  The owners have done and incredible makeover and this was our first trip to check it out!  I remember that my mom and I had just left the local county fair in 100+ temperatures so please ignore my dumpy hat and pose.  Mom always looks good.  Hate that about her... LOL!

This is our candy store about 30 years later. The owners have done an incredible makeover and this was our first trip to in check it out! I remember that my mom and I had just left the local county fair in 100+ temperatures (blah) so please ignore my dumpy hat and pose. Mom always looks good. Hate that about her… LOL!

 

My mom just found this pic in my grandmother's albums...  my brother & cousin enjoying our pool.  Love it!

My mom just found this pic in my grandmother’s albums… my brother & cousin enjoying our pool. Love it!

 

Originally written: Friday, August 29, 2008

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