Beach days. Sun rays. Long nights. Ah, summertime… When we were little, summer vacation was a great time, but even now as an adult I always look forward to summer. Sure, I no longer get 2 months of vacation like I did in grade school, but I still love to make the most of the summer season. While I have every intention of living my best life this summer, I can’t help but reminisce on summers past.
For as long as I can remember, until I got to high school, my brother and I would spend at least 1-2 months each summer in Rochester, New York. My parents were from there and our extended family still lives there. Not only was this an opportunity for my parents to get a much needed break from the kids (I’m sure), but it was also a chance for my brother and I to connect with our Black roots. Growing up in Cedar Park, Texas (a suburb of Austin), there’s not much diversity. Heading up north to my grandma’s house on Adams Street, all we’d see were Black folks! I loved it. I always made sure to live my best little-kid life out there!
My cousins and I would be outside all day and stay up all night. We’d plan trips to Six Flags-Darien Lake or to the local theme park, Sea Breeze. We’d hop between my grandmother’s house, my great-grandmother’s house, and my aunt’s house. (They all lived next to each other.) And when one of us got in trouble? We all got in trouble. I remember one time we were playing in my great-grandmother’s house and, unbeknownst to us, something flew out the window near the front door. The glass was shattered on the outside, so it had to have come from inside the house. No one came clean, so we all got whoopin’s, lol! Smh…Those were some great summers.
As we got older, the trips to Rochester stopped, but other summer traditions began. One of my favorite summer memories is going to Schlitterbahn. (You’re probably thinking, what the heck is that?) Schlitterbahn is a 3-part water park in a town called New Braunfels, about 40 minutes outside of Austin. My mom, brother, and I—along with one friend each—would go 2-3 times every summer. We’d pack up a cooler of snacks and sandwiches the night before. Our friends would stay the night, and we’d swim in the pool until it was time to go to bed. Then, we’d wake up bright and early, head on over to IHOP (to order Rooty-Tooty Fresh and Fruity specials), and finally make our way to the water park. We’d spend ALL day there, from 10am until they closed at 7pm.
One summer, a friend and I did the bungee jump. For $60 each (thanks Mom), we were strapped into a harness and raised about 100 feet high. Once we were up there, we were supposed to pull the cord and down we’d go. But when my friend and I got up there, we forgot which cord to pull! We were hanging for a few minutes before we heard them yell, “Pull the cord!”
“What cord?” my friend asked as she looked to her side, “This cord?” She barely got the question out before she let it rip, and down we flew! We wanted to go again, but mom quickly shut that down.
Thinking back on all those fun summers fills me with so much hope. Now, my summers are filled with work, but I still make sure to spend some time in the pool, take hikes in the dewy mornings, and plan a quick trip or two. The responsibilities are much greater as an adult, but the feelings of summertime bliss still remind me of being a kid!
Does the summer season leave you reminiscing? I’d love to hear one of your favorite summer memories—as a child or an adult! Drop a comment to share!