Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

The Summer I Was 16

on June 10, 2011
1-second exposure of fireflies flashing in a f...

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I have always loved summer. I remember from an early point of my childhood making elaborate summer plans.  I’d leave my house early in the morning and romp through the woods, not returning until dinner, and then turning around and heading back out until sunset.

However, there is one summer that really stands out in my minds as one of the best I ever had. It was the summer of 1995 and I was just shy of 17. At the end of the previous summer, my family had moved from the Seattle area to State College, PA, home of Penn State University and where my dad’s family was from.  The transition from Grungeland to Pennsyltucky was eye-opening, but rather uneventful for me. I’d had a good year and made some friends. I was definitely looking forward to my senior year and especially whatever came after high school. However, there was one last summer before the end of high school and I planned to make the most of it.

The first major choice I made was to go to Jazz Camp. This is what music nerds do during the summer. I spent a week learning to play jazz from the Penn State music staff.  It was the first time I ever stayed in the dorms and gave me a taste of what college could be like. We worked hard, but we had a lot of freedom and it was a fantastic experience.

The second major thing I chose to do was to join the apprentice program at the State College Community Theatre. This theatre group worked out of a converted 19th century barn. The talent was pretty much all local and gave people a great starting place in theatre. I was a tech intern – I did costuming, lighting and stage crew. I learned a lot that summer and went into the fall much more confident in my abilities. In fact, that may have been the point at which I seriously considered majoring in theatre in college.

I also got my wisdom teeth out that summer, but I’d rather not talk about that. 🙂

Finally, the most memorable part of the summer was something that most people, especially those on the East Coast, take for granted. I was sitting out on the back porch of the theatre as the last of the sunlight slipped from the sky. Sprinkled through the tree line at the edge of the property were thousands of fireflies. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and only visiting PA in May and November, I had never seen fireflies before. I sat there, entranced, as they twinkled in the warm night air. It was an amazing sight that I feel so fortunate to have seen and really epitomizes that summer for me.


Our View From Here is doing our second virtual book club the week of June 20th-24th. This time we are reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Read along with us as we “discuss” this great book and are joined by guest blogger Erin!


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