This week I'm recording memories from when I was 7 or third grade.
Summers. Oh the joy of summers. I lived for summer vacation as I'm sure all kids do. No more school - even though I liked school. Just fun in the sun. Summer was a really special time for me. It was when I headed south for the summer. And until just a couple years ago, I truly believed I spent the entire summer (from the time school got out until it started up again) with my Aunt and Uncle in Massachusetts.
My Aunt and Uncle only had one child. My Mom had five. My Aunt was a school teacher. My Mom stayed home with all of us. My Aunt - well - she was a saint (as was my uncle for putting up with us all!). Every summer from the time I was two years old she would take in me and my three older siblings. My younger sister wouldn't leave my mom or dad so my parents got to experience having an only child.
I loved spending time at my aunt's house. Oh the fun! The photo above is of my sister & I sitting on the back patio. When I was probably four years old they added an in-ground pool. Oh yeah - the summer's got way better then! It was so much fun to get up in the morning and swim and swim in the middle of the day and also swim at night.
I loved that house. If you entered the doors behind me you were in the eat-in kitchen area. Off of that was a laundry room/bathroom. That's where we changed in and out of our swimsuits. The kitchen was bright and airy. Off of that was a walk-in pantry. Then you went through a set of swinging doors to a formal dining room. If you continued to the front of the house, you came to a formal living room. Off of that was the "TV room." Sometimes I was able to sleep on the pull-out sofa there.
There was a grand staircase that went up to the second floor here. At the base of the stairs was another small room. In this room was the 8-track player. I still remember listening to the soundtrack of Annie and belting out "Tomorrow" at the top of my lungs until one of my siblings told me to be quiet!
On the second floor were three bedrooms and a bathroom. My Aunt & Uncle's room had a sunken area where their bed was located. My Aunt also had a sewing area on the raised area near the door. One summer she made me a quilted vest and skirt (and one for my younger sister too I think). I was able to help make the set for me. My cousin's room was here as well. He had bunk beds which I loved. I remember sitting on his bed singing along to Barry Manilow too. (Sorry, Rob!) There was also the "Pink Room" which was the spare room. Off this bedroom was a door that went into storage under the eaves.
We spent a lot of time on the beach. Some of that was at Cape Cod when we would stay for a week. So much fun. Although, once my Grandparents bought me a pair of new sneakers. I had taken off my old ones and left them under the stairs in order to go play in the sand and water. I forgot them and out they went with the tide. At least they weren't my new ones!
We didn't spend all the time with my Aunt & Uncle. We also spent a lot of time at my Grandparents house as well. They lived at the end of a dead end street that bordered a bay. If you followed the water, you could head in to Boston. My Grandparents were friends with their next door neighbors and we were able to use their little beach to go swimming and out in my Grandfather's boat to fish for flounder.
And one of my strongest memories from my time down in Massachusetts was when I cut my leg and needed stitches. My Uncle used to dive for lobsters. We all piled in my Aunt & Uncle's conversion van and headed to the beach so he could go diving. As soon as we arrived, I got out of the van and was throwing rocks for Bridget (my Aunt & Uncle's dog). My knee gave way (it happens sometimes still) and I landed on a broken beer bottle. The beach was littered with broken glass and lots of rocks. I remember hopping back to the van and saying, "Aunt D I hurt myself." She took one look at me and yelled for my Uncle. He thought I needed to go to the ER for stitches but since he was at the beach already, he was going diving. My Aunt could drive me. (I laugh now about this. My Aunt was so not impressed by this!) Aunt D did not like driving the van so she drove to her parents house and got them to go with her so my Grandfather could drive.
My sister was the one who held a towel on my leg to stop the bleeding. (She grew up to be a nurse.) In the ER they decided to put in four stitches. I remember crying and crying because it hurt so badly while they stitched me up. My Grandmother asked if they could give me something for the pain. And the nurse said I was just feeling the doctor's cold fingers. Nope. That wasn't it at all! I remember being very upset that I couldn't swim the rest of the summer. I had to keep my stitches dry.
I stopped going to Massachusetts for the summer around the year I turned 8. That was when my Aunt and Uncle got divorced. While I wasn't sure what that meant exactly, I knew that they had to sell the house and my Uncle moved away. My aunt had to move to a much smaller one and no longer had room for four extra children in the summertime.
Some of my happiest memories of when I was young were of spending summers in Massachusetts. Thanks Aunt D.