July/Aug 2007


Another Summer

As a soon-to-be father, I find myself turning more and more to memories of my own youth. Now, those who know me may be astounded that I could possibly have become yet more obsessed with the past than I already was — but it's true. I am about to relive childhood vicariously through my own child, and I have no idea what sort of adventure that's going to be, and all of you who have gone through it are probably chuckling right now and thinking "he has NO idea..."

Fair enough. I can't wait!

Anyway, another Summer is upon us, and I find this early part of the season the most magical of all. Indeed, I've always felt that, for any event, around 85% of the delight and joy to be found in said event lies in the anticipation, versus the thing itself. I know I've had much more fun anticipating holidays such as Halloween and Christmas: making decorations, wondering which house would be the spookiest or what Santa would be leaving — and of course when the actual holiday arrived it would be over much too soon and be something of a letdown. Nothing could ever match the thrilling expectations that had preceded the event.

But of course, that's the point. There is an extraordinary thrill and joy in that sort of anticipation that is real and palpable, and ought to be acknowledged as a thing of delight all on its own. Let whatever will or will not happen happen on the day itself — the magic inherent in one's dreams of what will be is in some ways its own reward, and often that which we recall most, more than the actual event in question.

And so it may be with Summer...

One of the most anticipated summers of my life was 1967, when we were going to rent a house in Hermosa on 9th Street, just doors away from the beach. Mom (Sheryl to you) would regale us of its many wonders (we had not been privileged to see it in advance): it was an old rambling two story edifice, had many rooms, a side entrance so that you could enter straight in after being at the beach and jump immediately into a convenient shower, little reading nooks, and even a color TV! (In the mid 60's color television was still relatively new, and many families, ourselves included, did not yet own one.)

We could not wait, and would beg Mom to tell us all about the magic house again and again, reveling in the descriptions that were becoming mantras, and hoping she'd previously neglected to mention something that would inspire us anew. It was a magical spring, our thoughts were centered on that glorious house — and it was pretty darned cool, at that.

Of course, as it turned out I came down with the mumps just as we moved into the place, and just before I was finally allowed to go swimming again a jellyfish attacked my brother John, so I ended up pretty much avoiding the ocean altogether that summer...

Ah, but I will never forget those magic memories of spring 1967, when we were all caught up in the delights of sheer anticipation...

—Joe Nolte