Summer Reflections (8/8/2014)

Paul Morrone |

My parents bought a summer cottage on Lake Beseck in Middlefield, CT back in the early 1960’s. Every summer, my brothers and I would load mom’s station wagon, complete with wood-grain on the side, with our clothes and supplies for the summer. Even though the drive was only from East Haven to Middlefield, it felt like a cross country trip. This annual event happened shortly before the 4th of July and lasted until Labor Day. What happened every summer was magical.

Once the car was unloaded and the cottage was officially open for the season, the first order of business was to put on my bathing suit and go to the beach. The uniform for the summer was bathing suit and bathing suit only. Shoes and shirts were reserved for Sunday when we went to church.  There was always someone at the beach to hang out with. These were days before sun screen and hats and the more sun you got the “healthier” you looked. Comparing tan lines was a competitive sport. The only other competitive event at the beach was the swim race to the raft. Once you got there it then was then the transformation to king of the raft. The weak were in the water and the strong dominated the raft. I had my share of days of both being the king and being in the water attempting to earn the right of king. After sometime even the king would allow the weak to come on the raft to relax and enjoy the sun. We would hang out on that stupid raft for hours. Once everyone was baking in the sun and were totally dry, someone would eventually jump in and do a cannonball to make a big splash. The girls would scream…..the girls always screamed and of course the boys just laughed. Good clean fun.

I think back to those days and I don’t think we ever ate lunch. We would be gone all day and come home only to eat dinner. Eventually you had to change from the bathing suit and put on some real clothes to go out at night only for some protection from the mosquitoes. Shoes were still optional but your feet were safer if protected. Nothing flip flops couldn’t help with. There were no cell phones and text messages. There were meeting places. There was no Facebook or twitter but phone calls using the one phone in the center of the house with a rotary dial and a 10 foot cord that we would stretch as far as possible to have some privacy.

No summer would be complete without our traditional bonfires every 4th of July and Labor Day. One bonfire was to kick off the season and the other to signify the end of another magical summer. Just like we would hang out on the raft for hours, the same was true for the bonfires. We would sit by the fire until late in the night and tell stories and just keep adding another log. Eventually the parents and aunts and uncles would go inside to play cards but the kids would stay by the fire. Again, good clean fun.

In my next Tom’s take, I will share some other summer reflections.

Until the next Tom’s Take……………..