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Making summer memories

Pat Maurer

Pat Maurer

This has been the week for granddaughters.

I love having the girls here, and we usually do Wednesday through Friday. They aren’t much trouble anymore. At 12 and 15, they spend most of their time here “doing their own thing.”

Makes me miss the times when they were little and we spent most of their visits making summer memories.

I told that to Alison once when she was around four. Even then she just gave me a look…

That hasn’t changed much in the last eight years actually. I still get “the look” when I say or suggest some “grandma” thing.

We are still making summer memories. We no longer go out to wade in mud puddles, swing in the hammock chair, go fishing, catch minnows or draw pictures.

Nowadays it is bike rides around the neighborhood, sometimes chalk drawings on the driveway and occasionally swimming in the river – they still love to do that. We still make cookies too, although Alison has taken over that activity now.

Alea is now a bit too old for some of those activities, but occasionally Alison has a friend over and they always seem to have fun. In fact this afternoon she and Ashland spent a couple hours in the river…

And of course, there’s lots of time spent watching movies or on their “smart” phones, or rather Alea’s smart phone. Alison and I still have the “dumb” kind. My choice, but not hers – she can’t wait until Mom decides she can have a smart one too.

I’m glad they haven’t forgotten how to have fun outside though. They have spent a lot of time this summer at the lake with Mom. Boating and tubing and water skiing are great summertime activities.

When Mom has to go to work, Grandma’s is a pretty good second best place to be I guess. I’m just glad they still want to come…

Summers are made for kids and having fun.

When I was a kid I got to make my own memories.

Fishing, swimming, biking, canoeing and exploring were my mainstays from June through August.  I didn’t have a grandma to visit, but I spent a lot of time at my Aunt Ruby’s and Uncle Sid’s.

They had the Au Sable River  in their front yard to wade in and a hammock in the yard to swing in. Plus a couple of kids my age (the Ash boys) just across the river. We would spend whole afternoons poling  their canoe upstream just to paddle back down. That river was so cold, your feet would ache when you put them in – but we went swimming anyway.

Around home there was always something to do. Without TV we were forced to make our own fun, but it didn’t seem like much of a problem.

When I was short on playmates, I would go to Summer Recreation, which included activities and games at the school and a bus trip to Higgins Lake for an hour swim.

When my cousins were up for a visit there were ball games in the yard during the day and card games in the evenings.

A couple of trees growing nearly horizontal out of the bank along the road became an African jungle when the neighbor kids and I were in the “Tarzan” mode.

Stargazing was a favorite evening activity as was catching lightning bugs. One of my very favorite evening memories is sitting on the porch listening to the Whippoorwills singing in the woods.

I spent every day outside.  I went barefoot so much I had soles tough enough to walk on hot asphalt.

Tommy Patch (who visited his grandparents down the road every summer) and I went canoeing down the AuSable on the Mason Track every chance we got. We built – and fell out of – tree houses, built forts and explored every path in the woods we could find. For four or five of those summers between the ages of 9 and 14, we were “best buddies.”

That’s what makes summer so much fun – making memories.

When those girls grow up, and that’s not so far away now, I want them to say to each other, “remember at Grandma and Grandpa’s  when we used to ….”

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