Friday, June 19, 2015

Dad and the Summer Solstice

Sunday (June 21) is a double day – Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice.  It got me thinking about the summers when I was a child and some of the things we did during the summer with my dad.  For me those are good memories.

My dad was a typical father of the 1950’s.  He accepted the fact that he had three daughters and no sons by becoming the favorite uncle of the 11 boys who were my cousins.  He spent long hours at work and relaxed at home.  We took a two week vacation, and almost every year traveled to Iowa to see my mom’s family.  That’s where my summer memories begin – I became the family navigator at the age of five, since my mom was unable to read a map.  It gave me, the oldest, the privilege of sitting in the front seat of the car so I could help Daddy find where we were going.  As I grew, the route changed because the interstate highway system was being developed.  One of the best memories was the restaurant in Joliet, IL, that served PB & J sandwiches!  It was at that restaurant that I learned about tipping.

Courtesy of Firefly
Two of my dad’s summer memories were at the root of two of my favorite summer memories.  Chasing and catching fireflies.  We’d put them in a jar with holes in the lid and let them go before we went in to wash our feet and go to bed.  The other had to do with the Fourth of July celebrations.  Fireworks were outlawed in Ohio, but sparklers were okay.  Dad purchased several boxes of sparklers each year, and we ran about the yard waving our magic wands as the soft darkness grew darker.  Our yard in northeast Ohio was surrounded by trees, trees that we climbed during the day skinning elbows and knees, scratching arms and legs on the rough bark.  We called the trees surrounding the yard “The Jungle.”

My dad has been physically gone from my life for 37 years.  But he lives on in the memories and stories I have.  When he left this earthly plane he became my son’s Guardian Angel.  Although my son never knew his grandpa, he shares many traits with my dad.  And I know in my heart that Dad would have been the best grandpa in the whole world.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  Happy Solstice, Everyone!  Go outside and make some memories with your family.


Unknown said...

Julie, I enjoyed this sooooo much. Not only is it Father's Day and the Solstice - but my dad's birthday was June 25. He's been gone...... oh my gosh.... since 1964. I used to add up the years but the number doesn't matter anymore. I have him with me in a thousand ways. We always had strawberry (homemade) shortcake - biscuit fresh out of the oven - and I CANNOT EAT June local strawberries without tasting my childhood. He took us swimming, hiking, "field trips" to pick cowslips and watch cider be made each fall. Of course we had fireflies and sparklers each summer and just the joy of having him take us for icecream after swimming in the local pool or one of Fulton's two ponds (neither of which people swim in now and the pool is in disrepair. It makes me sad to see how different a town it is for kids now. But I won't go there. My memories, like yours, are great! THANKS for your images.

Stories by Julie said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Having listened to your CD, I know how devastating your loss was, but our memories sustain us in ways we never thought possible when we were younger. Enjoy your summer!

Unknown said...

I remember that my Dad's birthday was the 22 and sometimes it fell on Fathers Day. We would cook steaks on the grill by the pool and have a party. I remember him teaching us how to swim and dive. He didn't take much time off but he was there every night and every weekend even though he had us working on something or another. I really miss him too and the way he use to scare my friends when he got home from work.

Stories by Julie said...

Hi Linda,
I remember swimming at your house. Such summer fun!

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