Five Childhood Summertime Memories


Lately I've been recalling certain childhood memories of what it was like growing up during the summer. When I was a kid, summertime was such a BIG deal because it meant two months off from Catholic school; no homework; and not seeing a nun with a ruler in her hand, waiting to crack us over the knuckles if our #2 pencils were not sharpened properly. It was a time of enormous fun and liberté. Yes, I did have chores to do around the house to help out, however, I didn't mind them because I would have even shoveled gravel on the side of a turnpike than go to school.

I cherish my childhood because my parents always made sure we had a great time during our summer break and any holiday. My parents were like kids themselves, enjoying their second childhood through the eyes of their children. I feel blessed to have had the parents I did.

So, today I would like to share five summertime memories that remain near and dear to my heart.


Coppertone Suntan Lotion

The smell of Coppertone Suntan Lotion gives me an immediate summertime flashback. Even to this very day, whenever I get a whiff of it, I am transported to my childhood when my family would go to Wildwood Crest on the Jersey shore and spend a week basking in the sunshine at the hotel pool or on the beach. But even more so, (shhhh...and don't tell anyone this) I always had a secret fantasy of being Annette Funicello in this Coppertone ad, while four tanned lifeguards carried me around the beach on a surfboard in the movie, "How To Stuff A Wild Bikini."

 Homemade Popsicles

I can still remember how excited I got when my mother and I would make homemade popsicles using Kool-Aid powders. I could hardly wait until the popsicles became frozen so that I could take one outside and eat it on a hot summer day. And I loved how my tongue and lips would turn bright red, orange and blue from the food coloring in the powders.


Cracking Open A Fire Hydrant

Growing up in a city we didn't have kiddie pools in our backyards because there were no backyards, just an alleyway between row homes. So every once in awhile the fire department would come into our neighborhood and open the fire hydrants so that we could run through the water and cool off. Fun! Fun! Fun! And man, was that water ever COLD and refreshing.
Lightning Bugs

I was always fascinated with lightning bugs because they made summer nights so magical! My friends and I would capture them in our hands and place them inside a glass jar and watch them blink. Also, (and I know this sounds terribly cruel) but we would sometimes pull the little lights off their butts and place them on our fingers and wear them as glow rings. Oh come on, how many of you did the same thing? Admit it. 


Sleeping Outside In A Tent

After my family moved to the burbs, my parents would let me and my neighborhood friends sleep outside in a homemade tent in the backyard during the summer. And how adventurous that was because it made us feel like real frontiersmen camping in the wilderness, just like Daniel Boone. We would eat potato chips, beer pretzels, popcorn, and drink Coca Cola's. We also had a couple of flashlights so that we could make shadow puppets on the tent walls. However, being the child I was with an overly-active imagination, I never stayed out all night because I thought that I would either be eaten alive by snakes, bears or coyotes, or be killed in my sleep by an axe murderer who happened to be roaming around my neighborhood in the middle of the night.

Yes, I was a VERY DRAMATIC child.

Have a super summertime weekend everyone!
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43 comments

  1. I've never seen a fire hydrant actually working, must have been great for the kids on a hot day. You were a bit wicked though for pulling the lights off the lightening bugs. Could they live without them?


    It's lovely to have so many fun memories of things that happened in childhood, I grew up in war years so there wasn't much fun to have. I guess we missed out somewhat!

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  2. I have some of those same memories, Ron. You know how coconut oil is popular now? I think that's thanks to all of us who used Hawaiian Tropic Suntan Butter, back in the day! Now that was a great summer smell!

    My memory of lightning bugs goes with playing kickball and tag and riding bikes. We did not have fire hydrants, but we did have the a Bookmobile that came every other Wednesday in the summer, which I lived for.

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  3. You ripped the lights off a fireflies bum?!? That is cruel! I never even thought to do that although now you have me curious. I didn't realize the light would stay lit if it was detached. This might call for an experiment :)

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  4. Rob LenihanAugust 01, 2014

    "....I would have even shoveled gravel on the side of a turnpike than go to school."


    Oh, man, I surely know what that feels like, Ron! This is such a terrific post. It calls back so many beautiful summer memories! You parents sound like such terrific people!


    I remember the Coppertone ads, though I didn't want to be Annette.


    The frozen pops, great vacations (we went to the Poconos). I never de-lighted a firefly or camped outside. Our garden was pretty small and I didn't want to be attacked by an ax murderer--or a nun!


    Have a fabulous summer weekend, buddy! Take care!

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  5. Good morning Valerie!

    "I've never seen a fire hydrant actually working, must have been great for the kids on a hot day."

    Oh, it was AWESOME! But today with water conservation, you would never see something like that.

    "You were a bit wicked though for pulling the lights off the lightening bugs. Could they live without them?"



    Yes, I was wicked for doing that :( They can live, however, I read somewhere that they might get eaten by another bugs because their lights serve as a defense mechanism.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear lady. Have a great weekend and I hope all is well with Joe.


    X to you both!

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  6. Hey there Shae!

    "You ripped the lights off a fireflies bum?!? That is cruel!"



    Yes, it was very cruel of me :( Shame on Ronnie!!!! Their lights would stay lit for awhile and then go out.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a super weekend!


    X

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  7. Hey there Rob!

    "Oh, man, I surely know what that feels like, Ron!"

    HA! Yes, if anyone knows how that feels it's YOU, my fellow-Catholic school attendee. We LIVED for summer vacations, didn't we?

    "great vacations (we went to the Poconos)"

    You went to the Poconos during the summer? How cool is that! I love the Pocono area!

    "Our garden was pretty small and I didn't want to be attacked by an ax murderer--or a nun!"



    Bwhahahhaha! Rob, that CRACKED ME UP!


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, buddy. Have a super weekend and have a great time on your vacation these next two weeks!


    X

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  8. " You know how coconut oil is popular now? I think that's thanks to all of us who used Hawaiian Tropic Suntan Butter, back in the day! Now that was a great summer smell!"

    Yes! In fact, when my family moved to Florida Hawaiian Tropic was the suntan lotion of choice. And I can still remember how that smelled...like coconuts!

    " We did not have fire hydrants, but we did have the a Bookmobile that came every other Wednesday in the summer, which I lived for."



    OMG...thank you for mentioning that because we too had a Bookmobile! I wonder whatever happened to those because I don't see them anymore.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantabulous weekend!

    X

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  9. Summer really is an emotive season; the smells of cut grass, bbq smoke and blooming flowers always manage to bring back such vivid childhood memories.
    Those recollections of dreamy, endless days playing outside, going on holiday with the family and making new friends can instantly transport us to a time that seems so carefree compared to the busy hustle and bustle of adult life.
    We should all take time to reflect on these sunny summer days occasionally, wherever we need reminding how to be truly happy.

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  10. Mark PetruskaAugust 01, 2014

    I am still fascinated by lightning bugs, because they don't exist west of Kansas. When I was on my road trip in 2011, I spent half an hour in a corn field in Illinois staring at them (and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes in the process) because I hadn't seen them since I was a kid. I still miss them!

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  11. "or be killed in my sleep by an axe murderer who happened to be roaming around my neighborhood in the middle of the night." Lol


    Ron, you are so hilarious! I would have loved to known you as child because you would have been fun to hang out with. And it was so interesting to read about the fire hydrants. I bet that was a blast.


    One of my fondest summertime memories as a child was the ice cream trucks that would drive through our neighborhood. My favorite was ice cream sandwiches.


    And speaking of lightning bugs, you don't see them much anymore.


    Fun post, Ron! Have a wonderful weekend x

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  12. Ron, I half expected you to Photoshop your head onto Annette's body!!

    I love your memories. I must confess that, while I *never* pulled the light part off the lightning bug (ewww!), I, too was afraid to spend all night outdoors. No camping for this gal! I think you hit the nail on its head -- we're just too imaginative for that. And the darkness brings all one's fears to the surface!

    Growing up in the rural parts, we had access to plenty of swimming pools, from small ones in our back yard to the huge pool at the local park. So I never got to experience the turning on of the fire hydrants (though since then, I've often seen it on TV and it looks like so much FUN!)

    Wonderful memories, dear -- have a spectacular weekend!

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  13. Dale, I LOVED your comment because you expressed summertime so beautifully!

    " the smells of cut grass, bbq smoke and blooming flowers always manage to bring back such vivid childhood memories. Those recollections of dreamy, endless days playing outside, going on holiday with the family and making new friends can instantly transport us to a time that seems so carefree compared to the busy hustle and bustle of adult life."

    Just beautiful!

    And I so agree with you...."We should all take time to reflect on these sunny summer days occasionally, wherever we need reminding how to be truly happy."



    Amen!


    Thanks so much for stopping by and have a SUPER summertime weekend!


    X

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  14. "I am still fascinated by lightning bugs, because they don't exist west of Kansas."


    You are so right, Mark....you barely see them anymore. However, earlier this summer while I was walking through a park, I saw a few of them and got so excited because it's been YEARS since I've seen lightning bugs.


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, buddy. Have an awesome weekend!


    X to you and Tara!

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  15. Hola Denise!

    "And it was so interesting to read about the fire hydrants. I bet that was a blast."

    OMG...it was so much fun!

    "One of my fondest summertime memories as a child were the ice cream trucks that would drive through our neighborhood. My favorite was ice cream sandwiches."



    Yes, thank you for mentioning the ice cream trucks because that was something I loved about summer too. We had a Good Humor truck that would drive through our neighborhood and rings bells so that we knew it was there! I don't eat much ice cream anymore, but ice sandwiches are a favorite of mine too.


    Yes, you don't see lightning bugs much anymore. However, I was telling Mark that I saw some earlier this summer in a park one night and got very excited!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a SUPER weekend!


    X

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  16. "Ron, I half expected you to Photoshop your head onto Annette's body!!"

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG Debbie, you were READING my mind because I was trying to figure out HOW I could do that, I kid you not.

    "No camping for this gal! I think you hit the nail on its head -- we're just too imaginative for that. And the darkness brings all one's fears to the surface!"

    It funny because many, many years ago I went on a retreat out in woods BY MYSELF in a cabin. And for the first couple of nights I couldn't sleep because I was so paranoid about every single noise I heard outside.

    " (though since then, I've often seen it on TV and it looks like so much FUN!)"



    Oh yes, they were SO MUCH fun!


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, dear lady. Have a spectacular weekend!

    X

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  17. Oh my goodness, Coppertone does the same thing for me!
    Just got back from vacation. We spent three nights in a tent and did four wilderness hikes...the lightning bugs were abundant in the country. We had a great time chilling, exploring, and visiting with family and friends.

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  18. "Oh my goodness, Coppertone does the same thing for me!"

    HA! Doesn't that smell give you an immediate flashback to summertime as child, Suzi? God, I love that smell!

    "Just got back from vacation. We spent three nights in a tent and did four wilderness hikes...the lightning bugs were abundant in the country. We had a great time chilling, exploring, and visiting with family and friends."

    That is so AWESOME! And I just read the post about your vacation on Becky's blog!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a super summertime weekend!

    X

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  19. "I always had a secret fantasy of being Annette Funicello in this Coppertone ad, while four tanned lifeguards carried me around the beach on a surfboard in the movie, "How To Stuff A Wild Bikini." ROFLMAO Hysterical, Ron!


    Sometimes I wish I had been born earlier because those days seemed much simpler yet a lot more fun and imaginative being a kid, like the open fire hydrant.


    And what's up with the lightning bugs because I don't see them anymore.


    Great memories, dude! Fun read.

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  20. Hiya Matt!

    "Sometimes I wish I had been born earlier because those days seemed much simpler yet a lot more fun and imaginative being a kid, like the open fire hydrant."



    Do you know what's ironic though? You never realize how great it was when you were a kid until get older and look back on just how wonderful it was. You're right, it was a time that was much simpler and more imaginative because we didn't have the things that kids have today. But I suppose they'll look back and think the same thing when they get older.


    I hadn't seen lighting bugs in so long, yet earlier this summer I saw a slew of them in the park and got very excited. But for many years they seemed to have vanished.


    Much thanks for stopping by, buddy. Have a most excellent weekend!


    X

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  21. Ron, I loved your whole narrative of the sleeping outside in a tent! And as much as I enjoy the outdoors, a Daniel Boone I'm not, so I would have been the same way. My idea of sleeping outside would be a nice roomy RV Camper with some distance between me and the snakes, bears, coyotes, and the axe murderers Lol.

    The whole fire hydrant thing sounded like so much fun. What a great memory!

    One of my favorite childhood summertime memories were all the picnics we would go on with friends and family. We'd play horseshoes, badminton and frisbee. And the food. I love picnic food!



    I'll be sad when this summer is over because it's been a good one and going by fast.

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  22. Great selection (sans the dismembering of the firefly). And NO, I never did that! I did make homemade popsicles for my kids and now for Peanut. I remember leaving the house in the mornings and not coming back until dinnertime! Between the YMCA community pool and running barefoot all over the neighborhoods, summers were fantastic! And I do remember using baby oil as tanning lotion….on reflective mats…it's a wonder I don't have skin cancer all over my body!

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  23. "My idea of sleeping outside would be a nice roomy RV Camper with some distance between me and the snakes, bears, coyotes, and the axe murderers Lol."

    Bwhahahahahaha! Robert, that was flawless! And ditto for me as well. Give me a nice RV camper, hands down.

    "One of my favorite childhood summertime memories were all the picnics we would go on with friends and family. We'd play horseshoes, badminton and frisbee. And the food. I love picnic food!"

    Thank you for mentioning picnics because they were another favorite of mine. And OMG...the food...you're right! Is there anything better than picnic food? Deviled eggs, potato salad, coleslaw, and hamburger and hot dogs right off the grill! Yummy!

    I agree, this summer is going by so fast. I can't believe it's August already!?!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a super-summer weekend!

    X

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  24. Hellooooooo there Lisa!

    "(sans the dismembering of the firefly). And NO, I never did that!"

    I know, wasn't that cruel? And I can't believe I even did that because I love nature. Shame on me.

    " And I do remember using baby oil as tanning lotion….on reflective mats…it's a wonder I don't have skin cancer all over my body!"



    OMG yes...I did the same thing! In fact, many years ago I wrote a post about using baby oil with iodine as tanning lotion. Between doing that and spending all those hours at the beach when I lived in Florida, it's no wonder I don't have skin cancer.


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, my friend. Have a super summer weekend!


    X

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  25. petra michelleAugust 01, 2014

    Lol Ron, I kid you not, but always wanted to be in a beach party with Annette and Frankie; they were the coolest, the hippest... And I've loved her since The Mickey Mouse Club. So, imagine a long-haired blonde resting on Annette's body, being escorted my the Boys of Summer. :))
    Ron, did you happen to draw that last picture of (is that you?) tenting? The likeness of the camper and you are uncanny! ;))
    Yes, I can remember each and every one of these experiences. Having grown up in a city, mirrors above memories.
    Ah, who says you can never go back!

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  26. Hellooooooo there Petra!

    Meeeee too! And can still remember watching those Annette and Frankie movies when I was kid with my mother on a Saturday afternoon like, "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "Muscle Beach Party."

    So, imagine a long-haired blonde resting on Annette's body, being escorted by the Boys of Summer."

    HAHAHA! You GO, Petra! And do you know what? I think you're MUCH prettier than Annette!

    "Ron, did you happen to draw that last picture of (is that you?) tenting? The likeness of the camper and you are uncanny!"

    No, I didn't. I actually found that drawing online last night and thought it was perfect because it looks like a little kid drew it.

    "Ah, who says you can never go back!"

    That's right! Because memories will always light the corners of our minds :)

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, my friend. Have a super surfing summer weekend!

    X

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  27. Ron, Publix grocery store carries Good Humor ice cream so I will sometimes get a box of their ice cream sandwiches. They're delicious!

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  28. Oh Denise, I SOOOOOOOOOOO miss Publix! When I visited my family a year an half ago that's one of the things I enjoyed about going back there, shopping at Publix! I wish they had them here because they are the BEST grocery store. I especially love their bakery and wine section.

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  29. Publix is where I get most of my wine, Ron. I like being able to shop for my food and my wine at the same place. One stop shopping!

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  30. " I like being able to shop for my food and my wine at the same place. One stop shopping!"


    Yes! And OMG...I wish we could purchase wine in our grocery stores here, but we have to go to a wine and spirit store :(

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  31. "and yes I'm guilty of smearing their butts on my face for glow in the dark warpaint."

    OMG Mel, thank you for sharing that because now I know I'm not the ONLY one who ever did that to the poor little lightning bugs.

    "Now I just park my butt on the patio swing and watch 'em take flight. It's pretty much a nightly ritual. It's my time to just BE."

    Oh, how WONDERFUL! And I wish I was there with ya!

    "Popsicles still happen." You still make popsicles? Yaaaaaaaaaay!

    "BUT I will say homemade ice cream....I can't have some and not warp back to cranking the handle until I thought my arm would fall off."

    Yes, my grandmother (my mothers mother) had one of those machines and OY VEY...the cranking part was a killer on the arms, I remember that.

    "And sprinklers." Oh my god, I forgot about those! Yup...we did the same thing!

    "And corn on the cob....OMG...we had some locally grown las week and it was amazing.LOL. I had three."

    And can I just tell ya how envious I am of you. I bet it was BEYOND delicious!

    Thanks so much for stopping and sharing the memories, dear lady. Have a super summer Sunday!

    ((((((((((((((( You ))))))))))))))))

    X

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  32. sweet memories, ron. i do recall the homemade popsicles and catching lightning bugs and putting them in a jar. summer is the best, isn't it. heat and all.

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  33. My memories will be totally different to yours, on this one. We had no such things as tanning lotion, or home made ice lollies (popsicles), until I was closer to my teens. We did have our own set of summer childhood memories though :)

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  34. Hey there Val!

    " i do recall the homemade popsicles and catching lightning bugs and putting them in a jar."

    Faaaabulous summertime memories, aren't they?

    "summer is the best, isn't it. heat and all."

    Yes, it sure is. And I am especially enjoying this summer, but it's going by way too fast.

    Hope your weekend was awesome and thanks so much for stopping by!

    X

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  35. Hiya Babs!

    "We did have our own set of summer childhood memories though :)"



    Isn't that the great thing about each of our childhoods? We all have different memories because of the time period we grew up in and where we lived.


    And it's so funny because when I mention the "fire hydrant" opening to the younger generation here, they look at me like, "You did WHAT!?!?" HA!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a lovely week!


    X to you and Mo!

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  36. Oh, I love that Coppertone smell! Pure summer rush!

    I never had the hydrant experience, but I did play a lot in sprinklers and on sip and slides. And also we camped and hiked, so there were lakes and creeks. My summers were filled with family trips and roaming the neighborhood. I still get nostalgic when I hear the music of an ice cream truck.

    But Ron! I never tore apart a lightning bug! Wah! I know lots of people do, but I was a sensitive soul as a kid.

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  37. Ron, I have a mini vacation the middle of this month so I know August is going to fly by fast. I've already seen a lot of back-to-school supplies in the stores, so before we know it the fall will be here.

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  38. " I've already seen a lot of back-to-school supplies in the stores, so before we know it the fall will be here."


    OMG Robert, I was in Walgreen's this afternoon and saw a complete aisle FULL of back to school supplies! You're right, before we know it, fall will be here.


    Have a great time on your mini vacation, buddy, and enjoy the rest of the summer!

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  39. "Oh, I love that Coppertone smell! Pure summer rush!"

    Ha! Isn't that smell the BOMB? TOTAL summer rush!

    "but I did play a lot in sprinklers and on sip and slides."

    Yes, you reminded me of something else....slip and slides!!! They were so much fun!!!!

    And it's ironic you mentioned hiking because my mother's brother would sometimes take me, my brother, and my cousins on hiking trips during the summer, out in the countryside of PA.

    "But Ron! I never tore apart a lightning bug! Wah! I know lots of people do, but I was a sensitive soul as a kid."



    I know, can you believe I did that? Shame on me :( And when I think about how much I respect nature and animals now, I can't understand what I was thinking back then!?!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Glad to read that you had a super time on your beach trip!

    X

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  40. Lovely reading your summertime childhood memories Ron. I don't know about over there but here it never used to rain during the summer when I was a child, it was always hot, hot, hot! Well, probably not but that's how it seemed. LOL

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  41. Thank you, Pearl :)

    " I don't know about over there but here it never used to rain during the summer when I was a child, it was always hot, hot, hot! Well, probably not but that's how it seemed."

    Over here (especially in the north east) it can get very hot and VERY humid during the summer months, however, this summer it's been unusually cooler. And we have always gotten a fair share of rain too.

    Now in Florida, it rains A LOT during the summer. And a lot of storms.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, m'dear. Have a lovely rest of your week!

    X

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  42. BenzekneesAugust 10, 2014

    I remember Coppertone! And Koolaid popsicles - my favorite was always green! We ran through the sprinklers on the lawn because I grew up in the 'burbs & my camping was done in a tent trailer with my parents & sister as we travelled around the Western provinces visiting family. But like you, I loved summer so you could play for hours & hours & hours & hours!

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  43. Doesn't the smell of Coppertone bring back instant memories of summertime? I LOVE that smell!

    And yes, green were one of my favorites too. It tasted like lime.

    " & my camping was done in a tent trailer with my parents & sister as we travelled around the Western provinces visiting family."



    That sounded like so much fun!


    And yes, summertime meant longer days, so playing seemed endless.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! Hope you're having a fab summer. GOD, I can't believe it's August already?!?!


    X

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