Letter from the Publisher
Ahhh, sweet summertime! As a child growing up in the Midwest with a fondness as long as I can remember for warmth, sunshine and freedom, I’d long during those gray winter days for summer.
I remember spending lots of time during the summer months at my grandmother’s house. We were buddies! We’d bake peanut butter cookies dipping our forks in the flour to make a criss-cross pattern, and we played lots of canasta.
We’d also sit for hours on her big screened-in porch filled in comfy, well-worn wicker chairs drinking ice tea and watching the summer comings and going in the neighborhood. I got the task of watering her plants, mostly African violets. These were her favorites, and she had lots of them—all with varied shades of purple flowers.
Grandma always reminded me not to drip water on the velvety leaves, which would cause them turn brown and fall off. She’d be in her breezy housedress, swatting flies. When it would get too hot, I’d run in and stand in front of the window air-conditioning unit or the open refrigerator.
I loved running in bare feet in Grandma’s front yard. There was a lot of clover and of course, bees. Stepping on a bee per season was fairly common. My foot would swell and hurt for days, but each year I would seem to forget and the lush green grass would once again call out to me.
On the weekends, my grandmother would often pack up a lunch of old-fashioned picnic foods—cold fried chicken, potato salad, watermelon and iced tea, and we’d head to the local park, “Tower Park,” named for its large water tower. Off we’d go, red gingham tablecloth and all.
I also recall summer evenings playing “Witch Witch” in the dark with the kids in the neighborhood. We’d take turns popping popcorn the old-fashioned way—with oil and butter—which we’d eat sitting on the front step.
We’d also set up “pop” stands. We didn’t sell lemonade; we sold chilled pop in bottles. I thought we were hot stuff—no lemonade for us. I‘m pretty sure my mom lost a lot of money on that one.
What are your favorite summertime memories? How will you make this summer memorable? Whatever you do, take some time to relax and enjoy.