My birthday is in the summertime, and I always seem to get very nostalgic around the time of my birthday. It’s interesting how the summers just don’t have the same meaning they used to have.
I live in Los Angeles, so the weather is definitely a factor. There is no anticipation of the summer here. It’s funny when I hear people here in Los Angeles say things like “It’s finally summer!” What was it before, about ten degrees cooler than that? That mentality is just so ridiculous to me.
Summer just doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Summer used to mean the world to me when I was young. Growing up in New York, summer came after suffering through a very long and cold winter.
Summer, though, meant getting to go to great places. As a kid, I used to go to Brant Lake Camp in upstate New York. I went on a teen tour called American Trails West which took me all over the west, and which gave me an appreciation of another part of the country.
I also spent part of my summers in The Hamptons. We had a beach house in Hampton Bays that was right on the beach, and my grandmother would monitor the visits. We were only allowed to have a week at the end of the summer, because the rest of the summer was just for her.
When I was growing up, we had a lot of rules in my family. You had to go to summer camp. If you wanted to work, you were still sent away to summer camp.
My father really didn’t particularly like messing around with us in the summer time. He wanted to spend the time alone with my mother. My mother really did not want to spend the time alone with my dad, so there was quite a bit of controversy in this house.
So, summertime was always interesting. I had lots of great jobs. I even worked in a pharmacy, which was fun because I got to mix things that I’d never mixed before in my life.
What was your favorite summer memory? What summer was your favorite summer?
To me, there was nothing better than taking my little AM/FM transistor radio, going to the beach, moving the antenna around until you got the radio station you wanted coming in semi-clearly, and then just sitting there and swimming. I used to love doing the same routine over and over again: You’d go in the water and swim literally for a couple of hours, come out and lay in the sand, do a fake beard, run back in the water to rinse off, and then go back into the sun and rub on some Coppertone SPF 4.
I remember so well the smell of the Coppertone. To me, Coppertone has this nasty odor but it reminds me of childhood. It reminds me of the beach, and it reminds me of The Hamptons. I would cover myself with Coppertone, and I would lay there and I would tune my radio.
It’s amazing how everything now is digital. The kids growing up nowadays don’t even get to hear what the sound of a crackling radio sounds like on the beach, because they get to listen to clear music in their iPods. I love the crackling sound of a radio on the beach, and the sound of all different radios playing different things as you walked along the beach.
There were no boom boxes like everyone was using in the ’80s and the ’90s. Everyone wasn’t plugged into something and listening to their own headset.
The beach had a certain sound. It had the sound of the water. It had the sound of the crashing waves. It had the sound of music alongside the sounds of New York Mets games. It had the sounds of stations like 77 WABC Radio, or 102 WPIX.
It was different. I remember always taking the bus to camp every single summer, being shuffled off with all the other strange kids you didn’t know, and (as it was in the beginning of the summer) having to celebrate my birthday with 500 kids I didn’t know singing me happy birthday.
Summer was about accomplishing some type of athletic goal, whether it was getting better at tennis or baseball, or swimming fifty miles in laps by the end of the summer. Summer was amazing.
Now summer is just work, getting some weekends off and maybe taking a trip. It’s just not like it was as a kid.
So what was your favorite childhood summer memory? What was your favorite summer date?
I remember dating in the summertime was so different too when I was younger. Summer was just about going out and having fun. There were no responsibilities. There was no running a business.
It was going to college, then coming home for the summer and trying to hook up all summer long with local girls. I had all this confidence as a college kid coming home for the summer.
So, those are some of my favorite summer memories. What are your favorite summer memories? What do you miss most about being a kid in the summertime?
What are your favorite adult summer memories? I’ve got some of those too, but I felt like reflecting a little bit. I don’t know about you, but something about birthdays always makes you think back and appreciate all the things that your life was all about through the years.
In today’s podcast, I talk all about why you should treat summer like you did when you were a kid, and why people are attracted to mature kinds of childlike behavior. Find out how to create some of your best dates and how to really make summer the time you can create memories with someone.