Summer always brings me back to my childhood in Brooklyn. After dinnertime, my brother and I would race outside and join all the other children so that we could play and play and play. My sister, four years older than me, would immediately leave until her curfew, much too cool to hang out with her little brother and sister.
Mom and Dad would pull up their folding chairs, relax outside the house and chatter along with the other parents of the neighborhood. Their friends would come by, sit, smoke cigarettes, and laugh while the condensation on their glasses of camparis & soda glistened in the summer humidity.
My parents did not need to pay too close of attention, as all the littles were under the watchful eye of the neighborhood. Our little safe haven on 23rd Street- strangers were quickly vetted (and usually kicked out), any cut or scrape was cleaned at whomever’s house you happened to be in front of at the time you fell, and if you dropped your money for the ice cream truck, someone always had extra for you.
We caught lightning bugs, we played tag, we jumped rope, we made up stories, we ate popsicles, we laughed, we ran and we played for hours. As the night grew darker, one by one, we were called in for the night to bathe away our dirt, grime and sticky popsicle fingers. Of course, we each begged for more time; the effort was futile, every night we were told No and had to come in… but childhood wistfulness and persistence ensured we at least tried.
I miss the long, lazy days of summer from my childhood. Now that we have Kalia, I am excited to experience again the long nights- to pull up a chair with my love, have a drink, maybe even enjoy a campari and soda for my parents- but most of all I will enjoy watching our children play together- carefree and safe.
|Sister, me, & brother in front of out home in Brooklyn, New York circa 1989 – you can see her “too cool” look here, lol|