When I was a tween, my grandmother lived in Sedalia, Colorado. At the time, it was about six by twelve houses wide, a spit of town scattered behind a Johnson’s Corner on a narrow two lane highway between west Denver and I-25. A train track ran along the road in front of my grandmother’s house, and when I slept in the living room, I was absolutely sure that the noise would shake my heart out of my chest and they would find me dead on the sleeper-sofa in the morning. Luckily, that didn’t happen.
Last night, I found myself remembering the hammock she had there. It was green canvas, hung on a structure of hollow metal tubes that were taken apart for storage. We (that would be my siblings and I) fought over that hammock like crazy, which we set up in the side yard in the grass, in the shade, nearby the wading pool.
The bad part was setting it up, because pincher bugs loved to hide inside the tubes and I was terrified of their pinchy parts, sure they would attack and hurt us. (It occurs to me that I never once had a pincher bug pinch me, or have ever known anyone who was pinched by one.) Setting it up required gingerly dragging the metal tubes out of the garage while jumping around, shaking off hands as necessary, squealing as the bugs scurried away. Then, it took at least two of us to get it put together, and then we had to take turns lying in it. I was the oldest and the most imperious, plus I was the biggest reader (also shamefully played on my grandmother’s shocking favoritism) and spent the lion’s share of time on it. Lying there, swaying slightly, the breezes brushing over face and lanky brown arms, a pocket full of hard candy snitched from my grandpa’s stash–heaven. I read The Diary of Anne Frank that summer, and started keeping my own diary, which I called “Kitty.” It was a heavenly summer–the last one of pure childhood, as it turned out, though I didn’t know it then.
What do you remember about a childhood summer?
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