By: Gabriela Yareliz
Summer. I remember the hot Michigan and Charleston summers. You could find me on my couch eating a frozen Go-Gurt tube, the buttery soft frozen yogurt melting in my mouth, while deep in my reading list. I was always determined to be top in the summer reading program. Back in the day, ‘Book It!’ would give you Pizza Hut parties for successful summer reading challenges. The air-conditioned library was one of my favorite places in the world. Still is. I loved the metallic stickers. I loved the books. (I still do). In a couple of weeks, I will be ordering a new bookshelf because apparently, Book It! never ended for me.
The heat outside was often sweltering. Sometimes, I would hear the call of the sprinklers against the window or plants lining the house, and I would run out to play in them. Getting a new slip-and-slide was always magical.
In Michigan, there was a tree in the backyard I loved to climb. I would sit up there and think. I still do that, without the tree. There was a joyful and unstructured freedom that was attached to summer. Summer often came with a church camp meeting and time at the pool or pranking people on walkie talkies. Being a kid and not having hit puberty yet meant we didn’t have a care in the world. It was just splashes and pool noodles in the shallow end. Milkshakes from Steak and Shake, McDonald’s soft serve in a cone, popsicles that made your lips turn colors, singing into a fan (*music video time*), rough jeans that were dried by the summer sun. Novela theme songs were the soundtrack to the summers, and evenings filled with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies on ABC Family.
The sweetness of summer memories still lingers. While some things have changed, I realize others really haven’t.