So, you’ve made it through the last day of school, signed all the yearbooks, said your goodbyes to friends and teachers, and taken your last bus ride home. It doesn’t quite hit you until the next day: it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.
Your first realization is that you can actually sleep in a bit, except you don’t want to sleep in. You’ve got places to go, people to see, fun to have. Summer is the time of block parties, of backyard barbeques, of sleepovers and pools and baseball games. It’s when fireworks and fireflies illuminate your nocturnal surroundings and your nose is rewarded on a daily basis with the comforting scents of freshly cut grass, grilled hot dogs, and suntan lotion. You can stay out after dark on a weekday, something completely unfathomable a mere few weeks earlier. It’s your reward for a year of hard work and you are committed to squeezing every last drop of fun out of every day. You feel free, unbound by the chains of homework and tests and books.
That is, unless you were unlucky enough to have to put some time in at the purgatory known as summer school, the seemingly cruelest idea ever unleashed upon the youth of the world. Luckily, summer school never lasted for the entire summer. Still, you did everything in your power to avoid this atrocity. The summer was yours and, if you had any say in the matter, the learning would have to wait.
Of course, not all kids were lucky enough to have an entire summer to themselves, to set up lemonade stands and play Frisbee, unencumbered by the grandiose plans of their parental units. Perhaps you were shipped off to summer camp, for a bit of regimented fun under the watchful eye of a camp counselor. Or, maybe your family was like the Griswalds in National Lampoon’s Vacation, packing up every inch of the family car and setting off to enjoy the splendors of America. For those that experienced these trips, it was certainly a love/hate relationship. Chances are, your destination was someplace fun; an amusement park, grandma’s house, or a beach resort. And yet, to get there, you had to persevere through mile after boring mile of lonely, nondescript interstate highways, lined with fields of corn, crappy little restaurants where the locals looked at you with menacing eyes, and a merciless backseat that you inevitably had to share with a sibling who was just as bored and frustrated as you. Good times, those were.
Then, as you descended into mid-August, a most curious phenomenon set it, one that you were loath to admit. You were starting to get – dare it be said – bored. You had squeezed so much fun out of the season that there was little left to inspire you. You started thinking about all the friends you hadn’t seen for over a month, you started wondering who your teachers were going to be and who were going to be your partners in crime in your new classes. You started to actually embrace change, even if it meant getting up early again. The fleeting days of summer were in their twilight and it was time to move forth. And if you did it right, you would have plenty of stories to tell your friends upon your return.
And, maybe just maybe, you would reflect on those summer days with reverence, savoring them fondly as one of the best parts of childhood: something that, in adulthood, you would never get another chance to experience in quite the same way. Oh, but to be a kid again.
If you have some fond recollections of a particularly memorable summer vacation, we’d love to hear about it in our comments section. We also want to hear what your favorite parts of summer vacation were in general. Was it the trips, or sleeping in, or the grilled food? Take us back to the summer vacations of your youth and tell us why they were special.