When Summer Was Fun

A letter from the editor of Tallahassee MagazineRecalling the Good Ol’ Days, When Summer Was FunBy Rosanne Dunkelberger, Editor

Like every kid that is or ever was, I used to love, love, love summertime. School was out, and the days were filled with nothing but fun.

The thing to do in Northern Virginia, where I grew up, was to join a swim club for the season. I spent days in the Olympic-sized pool, horsing around with friends and getting up the nerve to jump off the high dive. On the Fourth of July they’d make a big day of it with games and competitions, one time letting goldfish loose for us to dive in and capture. (I realize now how wrong this was, but it sure was a blast at the time.)

We usually took a trip to visit Grandmom in the small town of Somerset, Mass., which was always a good time because she had a very laissez-faire attitude toward rules, discipline, candy consumption and bedtimes — plus she had a river in her backyard.

But I think my fondest summer memories relate to what we kids used to call “The Box.” Our city had a summer recreation program at each elementary school, and at each place was a large, green wooden box, filled with amusements. Two college kids were there every weekday to supervise activities, but much of the time we played with whatever the treasure chest had to offer — jump rope, checkers, kickball, “Rocks” (which I later learned was actually called Mancala), arts and crafts, table tennis … you could always find something fun to do in The Box. I never did learn how to weave four strands of gimp, so my brother was in charge of creating my annual lanyard. I was, however, very proficient at making key chains using the butterfly stitch.

I spent most of every day there in the summer, riding my bike home only long enough to bolt down lunch and return for the afternoon.

One of the biggest shocks of my life came when I got my first job out of college, summer rolled around and I only had one week of freedom. One week! One stinkin’ week!

Time marched on, and summer turned bad for a lot of years — since it meant embarking on the endless, expensive quest to keep the young’uns occupied during the workweek.

Tallahassee’s hot and humid summers don’t bother me too much: The vast majority of my work and play time is spent in air-conditioned comfort. When the kids were younger, our go-to summer getaway was the beach. But now that they’re grown, it seems as though our thoughts are traveling northward. To someplace cooler and drier. And apparently we’re not alone.

The home story in this issue is about couples who have given up the beach place and are heading out of Tallytown during the hottest part of the year to live in the mountains of North Carolina.

If you’re about to embark on such a trip, you might want to check out our Flavor story about foods that keep well in coolers.

But if the sandy shores of Destin or Panama City still beckon you, take a peek at the Lifestyles page for suggestions on beach bag essentials.

The social calendar slows down during the summer vacation season, but if you’re in town, be sure to join us on Friday, July 16, for Tallahassee Magazine’s Top Singles Party and Date Auction at Hotel Duval. It’s not exactly the same as catching a goldfish in a swimming pool, but it promises to be a fun night to remember!

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