The past several days the temperature has been over 90 degrees and hovering close to a hundred; with a real feel of a thousand, give or take a couple of degrees.
It’s nothing out of the ordinary – it is summer. But still – heat such as that can be very uncomfortable. (for me, at least)
Summers have always had these hot crazy days – just like winter has it’s cold and freezing days.
I remember the summers when I was growing up – hot days and hot nights. Air conditioning wasn’t so affordable or accessible in those days. The days would be ok because we would swim, play in the fire hydrant stream or go to the beach. But the nights could be everlasting. Mosquitos. Need I say more? The buzzing growing louder as it descended towards my ear…I would slap my hands together and then be scolded by my brother sleeping in the bed across from me.
Summer, for me, revolved around the Mets, playing stoop ball, and that red haired girl across the street who didn’t even know I existed.
Some summers we would go to Mexico to spend time with my mother’s family. Other summers we went to a camp called “The Boro Park Y.”
When the summer would begin I would feel a level of excitement that was off the charts. I had big plans ahead! I would talk to that girl, the Mets would play winning baseball and that monster inside of me would be silenced.
I can tell you that between 1976 and 1979 – I believe those were the years I went to camp, I did not meet any girls, the Mets lost more games than they won and that knot inside my stomach was tightening up.
As the summer went on I would begin to feel down about the hopes and dreams not coming to fruition. By the end of July and into the first couple of weeks of August, I would be feeling nostalgic about cold weather and even going to school.
It seems my mind always wandered past the moment and into the future for comfort. It’s only as an adult that I have come to embrace the present as often as I remember to. It’s not so simple when you have the pressures of everyday life poking at you, like those mosquitos in the middle of a hot night.
The nadir of summer, for me, was when the Mets would play on the west coast and the games would begin at 10 o’clock at night. That always made the days longer. There were no new shows on TV, only summer repeats and by the time 10 oclock would come around I was falling asleep.
Being a kid growing up in Brooklyn New York, we didn’t have many crazy snowstorms, but we did have the occasional blizzard, which would cause all traffic to stop in our area and schools to be closed.
Is there any better news to wake up to as a kid than there is snow outside and there is no school?
The weatherman would predict snow – but they seemed to be wrong each time they would announce a storm. My father and I had a joke, each time they would predict a snowstorm we would say that it was going to snow 3 feet! Then he would say “na na na na, I heard they said 6 feet!” Then we would laugh. This joke continued into my adulthood and each time it snows I always remember his laugh when we would repeat it.
I remember the night before each snowstorm I would keep running to the window to look at the streetlight across the street to see if there was any snow falling. Then I would run back to watch “Happy Days” or whichever show I was watching.
The 10 o’clock news would come on and we would be watching as the predictions would be announced. “Looking at about 12-16 inches falling between…” I would be so excited I would lay in bed unable to sleep.
I would awake to find myself back in August with my birthday looming on the 13th. Once that passed it seemed the summer flew and before I knew it I was back going to school…and dreaming about the summer ahead.
Would the Mets win? Would that red haired girl smile at me or simply look away?
I would sit at my desk in school and dream and hope.
The Mets would win and that red haired girl would turn towards me, smile and marvel at my stoop ball playing. Then we would go to carvel and get a two for one sundae.
Smiling…until I hear the teacher call my name, “Stop dreaming Freddy!”
Sorry, Mr Segal, I never will.