I’m thrilled to turn my blogging pen over to Christina Cole today as she shares her new release SUMMERTIME, along with some amazing memories of summers past. Oh, how I wish I had my very own catalpa tree and could “go down to Frank’s” in Indian Grove!
Please welcome Christina and enjoy these wonderful memories!
Memories of Summertime
by Christina Cole
With the recent release of Summertime, my latest historical romance from Sweet Cravings Publishing, I’ve been talking to readers a lot about their favorite summer memories from childhood. Today, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my own.
First, I have to point out one fact. I’m old. Ancient, is the way my kids put it. I’m old enough to remember when houses were cooled with window fans, and the few stores with air conditioning bragged about it in their advertisements. Oh, how refreshing it was to walk into a “dimestore” that featured that latest, and greatest technology. The unfortunate thing was that you couldn’t stay there forever. Once you’d finished your shopping, you had to step back out into the sweltering heat. Needless to say, shoppers dawdled as long as they could.
Another sweet summer memory was going to the Dari-B. It wasn’t a big, fancy place like today’s Dairy Queens or Baskin-Robbins, just a little wooden building with a sliding window at the front. You stood outside, placed your order, and when the window opened you could feel a rush of cold air from inside. Your only choice was vanilla or chocolate, but those cones sure tasted good on a hot summer’s evening. You had to lick fast though, because a single scoop could melt away in minutes. Going to the Dari-B became even more of a thrill when I was about thirteen and had a gigantic crush on one of the boys who worked there. Nothing came of it, but I sure ate a lot of ice cream cones that summer.
One of my favorite summer places was the old catalpa tree. It was in Dick Moore’s yard, several houses down the street from where I lived. Dick Moore was an oddity in the neighborhood, a single man living among a dozen families with children. He was a lawyer, and I always had the idea that he made a lot of money, but that was all I ever knew about him. I remember how everyone in the neighborhood poked their heads out of their doors to gawk the one time Dick Moore brought a lady home to his house. We probably scared her away!
All the kids loved the old catalpa tree. We climbed it, held club meetings beneath its branches, and we girls used its huge, heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers to design fanciful hats and bracelets. Mr. Moore would sometimes come home to find a dozen of us either in the branches, underneath, or scattered about his catalpa tree. He’d wave or nod and go inside. Never once did he ask us to leave.
On really hot days, we’d beg and plead for someone to drive us to Lake Maurer, a public swimming pool and recreational area on the outskirts of town. If all else failed, we’d gather our swimsuits, towels, and suntan lotions, and set off on foot. Usually some kind soul would take pity on us and give us a lift. Back then, there were no strangers, and nobody had ever heard the term “stranger danger”.
We’d swim in the pool all day, splashing and kicking, shrieking and laughing, and when evening came, we’d finally crawl out of the water, exhausted and waterlogged. Next we’d play a round of miniature golf, or ride the Lake Maurer Special, a wooden train that took us around the bend and back.
The best memory of all was “going down to Frank’s.” Frank Zungs was my great-uncle, although I hardly knew him. He passed away when I was very young. He’d bought a huge old farmhouse in a little place called Indian Grove. The population of the Grove was about 12, which included Frank, his widowed sister, Nina, and his brother, Mike. My grandfather would take my sister and me “down to Frank’s” every summer. Even after Frank was gone, we still called it “going down to Frank’s.” It was always fun to read the “society pages” of the newspaper from the nearest town, because we were society! Yes, in a little place like Indian Grove, it’s news when somebody sneezes, and having relatives come to visit was worthy of several paragraphs. We really thought we were important!
I have a lifetime of beautiful memories from the summers I spent in Indian Grove, and many of my thoughts and feelings found their way into Summertime. As I wrote the story, I thought about that old farmhouse, about sitting on the porch in the evenings, about listening to the sounds of the bullfrogs as I fell asleep.
Summer is always a special time. Thanks for letting me share a few of my memories with you.
Linn Sparks wanted all life had to offer. Fame, fortune, glamour and excitement. She found it as a star of the stage at the Crown Theater in San Francisco.
For Ed Ferguson, life was far less complicated. All he wanted was Linnie Mae, but she’d left him standing alone at the altar seven years before when she’d run off to pursue her dreams.
Now, Linn has come home to Brookfield, Kansas.