Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Summer memories

on June 9, 2011

Some of my most enjoyable summer memories occurred somewhere in the 1987-1991 range. In 1987 (I think) we moved to a new house. The neighborhood was still being built and many of the other lots had yet to be cleared and developed. Fortunately for my sister and me, there was a house a bit down the road that already had a family living there by the time we moved in. The family had a daughter my sister’s age and a son my age. They also had a younger daughter but we didn’t really know what to do with her. We became fast friends with this family and concocted many zany childhood adventures over the course of the next several years.

Without question the first summer we lived in that house was the best. The lot across the street from us and adjacent to them was still covered in the forest that had once covered the entire area. We spent hours playing in this “forest” and had it divided into several distinct “forts.” The first was the main fort. If you told the others to “meet you at the fort” this is where you would go. It was closest to the street and spanned toward the other family’s house. Here is where we would hang out, talk and come up with the rest of our games. There was also the “playground” fort, so called because there were two logs running perpendicular to one another, forming a see saw, and a branch hanging out of a tree that you could flip around like the bars on a playground. There was also the “triangle” fort, which got its name from the three logs that had fallen in the shape of a triangle (we were very creative children, as you can deduce from our naming abilities). We spent hours through our forts coming up with all sorts of imaginary games. I have vague memories about a witch and maybe something about outer space? It’s all a little fuzzy now. I think we were all devastated when the contractors were ready to start clearing the lots for the other houses, thus destroying our fort.

The other great thing about our surrounds was a giant hill that ran from the main fort to the cul-de-sac below, where our friends’ house was. In reality, it really wasn’t that giant – 20 feet long maybe? My diminutive size at the time skews my impression of the hill. It was grass covered and somewhere along the way we got the brilliant idea to slide down it. Being the kids we were, we plopped right down and scooted down the hill on our rear ends. Another neighbor saw this and suggested we get some cardboard to use as a sort of sled. I think he may have even brought some over for us. The introduction of cardboard was revolutionary. Soon we were flying down the hill. We used small pieces of cardboard for single rides, larger pieces for pairs and I think on a few occasions we got all 5 of us on one piece. That was a bit anticlimactic though since we were so heavy and spanned half the hill before we even got started. I think at one point in the heat of the summer we ended up putting a tarp down and ran a hose to it to make a sort of water slide, but I can’t say for sure. We also had fun sledding down our hill in the winter. It really was an all season kind of hill.

Each year that passed we played a bit less. We stayed good friends while we were neighbors, but as the other houses were built and more kids were introduced in the neighborhood, the relationships changed a bit. No longer were we the only kids on the block, and some of the camaraderie that had been built over the previous summer had eroded. We also got a bit older. I think my sister and the older girl from the other family started middle school our last year in the neighborhood and sort of outgrew a lot of the play that we had done in previous years. Nevertheless, I still look back at that time as the quintessential summer childhood experience, and the memories still bring a smile to my face.

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One response to “Summer memories

  1. Samantha says:

    That was a great summer. You did, however, neglect to mention the number of bumps and bruises that came from sliding down the hill or into each other. It was worth it though!

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