I've always identified as a "fall gal." Maybe this is because my birthday is in October or because I prefer to dress in browns and greens. Of course, there's also the inherent beauty of the colors and the crisp evening air that always comes as a surprise and a delight. Loving fall has always been an obvious no-brainer.
The older I get, however, the more nostalgic I get for summer.
Perhaps it's because summer is tailor-made for children. Pools and Putt-Putt, summer camp, trampolines, going to the drive-in pajamas, across-the-neighborhood-lawns chasing games, and sleepovers that blur the boundaries between day and night. Of course, there is no law restricting these activities to those of single-digit age. But it's a whole different kind of effort and consideration. The further I get from those memories, the more romantic my notion of them.
Lately, I find myself taking a slightly out-of-the-way route out of my neighborhood, for the sole reason of reliving a epic summer memory that has recently resurfaced with great persistence.
The summer between fourth and fifth grade, my brother and I were friends with a brother and sister who were our respective ages. I'd imagine we met them in our classroom, but can't swear to that. They lived in our neighborhood. (Technically, it was part of the cluster of apartments just beyond our neighborhood that people like to fight over whether it should belong or not...) One summer night, I was invited to their house for a slumber party It was an otherwise typical gathering - dinner (probably pizza) on paper plates, cable (which was new and one of the best things that had ever happened to us so far).
Then the ice cream truck chimes rang out.
Now, I was no stranger to the ice cream truck. But, unlike on my street, where there was a panic involved in locating a parent, getting permission, getting cash from said parent's purse/wallet and chasing the truck down the street, my friend assured us this truck was in no hurry. So the slumber party filed out the door and took our place on the sidewalk as the truck turned the corner and headed our way. The moment it stopped triggered a wave of flung-open doors created an endless sea of ringer tees and cut-off shorts, girls in rainbow shirts and boy in knee-high tube socks. They came on foot, on skateboard and bikes. There were no adults, which meant we stood there, even when we had our ice cream, in the middle of the street. And nothing bad happened. It may have well been the street scene from the movie Fame, that's what it felt like to me. I stood there, the blue section of my bomb pop dripping down my arm, and for a fleeting moment, felt free.
That girl moved at the end of that summer. I regret that I can't recall a single detail of why her family left, where they went, and that I never spent any time in that part of my neighborhood again. But the blissed-out feeling of that moment will be the one that I will continue to chase for the rest of my days.