WriterWednesdaysJuneSummertime! It’s here! It’s here! Well, technically, it’s almost here. The days are long and muggy, anyway. BUT after the winter we had in the northeast I am swearing not to begrudge a moment of heat or humidity.

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(I’m the third one in)

This week we find out how our blog circle spent summers as a kid. Yay!

For most Jersey girls, summers meant a trip (or several) ‘down the shore’. When I got older, I did spend the occasional weekend ‘down the shore’ but I never set eyes on a boardwalk during summer until I was in my late teens. Summer, for me, meant manual labor on my Uncle’s Farm.

My Uncle owned the Sanford, Maine farmhouse where he, my father, their brother and their sisters were raised. Every summer he’d drag a bunch of kids from my church up North to help him do whatever he needed to do to get the old house through another winter. Daily tasks included painting, rebuilding the parts of the farm and out-buildings that were crumbling (something was always crumbling), weeding the garden, planting trees, cutting down trees either to maintain the fields or to restock the supply of firewood, and, my favorite, using a log splitter to cut up the logs. The farm had a wood and electric cooking stove, a pump by the kitchen sink and walls that howled when the wind blew hard. More often than not, I pretended I was actually from an earlier time. Perhaps one of the reasons I write historical romance? 🙂 In any case, being there meant work. Really hard work. But I was with imaginative friends, so everything was a  blast.GirlsatPlay

How did we get through the days? While we worked, we made up alternate lyrics to popular songs (to Surfin’ USA, we sung ‘everybody’s gone stacking’; to Song Sung Blue we sang ‘Pick a blueberry berry, want one?’). When we were finished whatever was on my Uncle’s list for the day, we played as hard as we worked. When I was younger, that involved using old furniture in the barn to create a live-size play house, daring each other to climb the beams and jump into the hay and rolling down the hill in old tractor tires. Incidentally, not as much fun as it sounds–it hurts. Sometimes, we took the inner tubes down to the river and swam or we built a campfire in some conveniently situated boulders we called the ledges and tried to out-Stephen King each other. At the end of August, the Perseid meteor shower lights up the Maine sky. I can vividly remember lying side by side with my friends picking out shooting stars.

Not the classic kick-back-and-relax summers, but I wouldn’t trade a single memory. The scent of old wood and pine trees still makes me smile.

Visit the stories of the other participants here:

Contemporary Romance Writers Jamie WesleyKat CantrellPriscilla Kissinger – Lauren Christopher | Paranormal romance writers Kay Hudson | Romantic suspense writers Carol PostSharon Wray | Novels with romantic elements Natalie Meg EvansJean Willett | Sweet & Faith-based romance writers KD FlemingKristen Ethridge | Historical romance writers Kathleen Bittner-RothWendy LaCapra

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12 Responses to Writer Wednesdays: Summers Past

  • As another Jersey girl, I well remember the hikes down to the shore and all the traffic on the Garden State Parkway. But Maine sounds wonderful and I’m so glad you have such great memories. I wish all kids had wonderful summer memories. 🙂

  • I enjoyed your post, Wendy. That sounds like a great way to spend the summer, even with all the work. Of course, work is always fun when you’re doing it with a bunch of friends. And the play time sounds like a blast.

  • Wendy, your summers sound like a great mix of hard work and harder play!

    I’m sure you learned a ton of useful skills that are now quite handy around the house now. 🙂

    I haven’t tired rolling down a hill inside a tire. It looks like fun, but I’ll take your word about how much it hurts and leave that activity unchecked on my bucket list!

    Thanks for sharing a peek into your summers past. It’s been fun!

    • Thanks, Pris. No one has yet asked me the secrets of staking wood above your head in rows that don’t fall, but you are right, I think I depend on many of the skills I learned during those summers…And I’m glad not to need others!

  • Hi Wendy, your vacation memories sound amazing, though I reckon your uncle got good value out of you! Rolling downhill in car tyres sounds hideous, though, even for a child with supple limbs. I think it was what they did to witches in the 16th century … well, not car tyres, wheels but you get the picture. Thank you for sharing your vacation memories. Everyone’s are so different yet seem to have one thing in common – simple fun and relatively little cost involved.

  • I also spent many a summer on my relatives’ farms, Wendy. I detassled corn, walked beans, fed the stock and got butt by the Billy goat more than once, that stinker! We worked hard, but like you, played hard as well. We had to use our imaginations to entertain ourselves. Maybe I have those summers to thank for being a writer. ;0)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh that sounds like just the kind of work/fun that feeds the imagination, Tammy! and outrunning the billy goat sounds interesting. We had sheep and I always wanted goats (because they have more personality and I had a Heidi thing) but now I think the sheep were quite enough, thank you 🙂

  • I’m afraid I come from a long line of city folk–one of my grandfathers owned a hardware store and the other painted billboard, back in the day when they were actually hand painted. But those summers with your friends do sound like fun.

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