Summer is in full swing with the country’s celebration of our Independence Day. To commemorate this special holiday, we asked our team to share their favorite memories from summers’ past.
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Some of my favorite memories of July 4th go back to when I was a kid. My dad would take me, my sister and brother out on our boat and we would make our way to set up camp on Anclote or Three Rooker Island. We’d back the boat up to the island, tote our coolers, umbrellas, grill and chairs to the beach and set up for a day of fun in the sun. My brother would fish off the boat while my sister and I built sandcastle fortresses in the sand. We would all eventually end up in the water playing sand dollar frisbee toss (with real sand dollars). The music was on, the grill was blazing, and laughter was nonstop. Watching the fireworks from the island without the lights of the town made for a magical experience, one of the best growing up. -Sierra O.
One summer memory I have is spending all the major summer holidays with family at Edgemere Park. We would bar-b-que, swim, play basketball, racquetball and dance all day. My favorite part was the family softball game. There were so many of us that we could split into 2 teams. It was so much fun. Now that my cousins and I are older and have our own families, we have continued this tradition at Ft. DeSoto with our children. I know this is a tradition that will continue to be passed on to future generations. -Sandra H.
I grew up on a mountain in rural Vermont, so we were always surrounded by lots of wildlife and beautiful landscape. I am the youngest of four kids, so in the summer, my mom would chase us out of the house for some peace and quiet, and we learned how to make our own fun outside. We would take the dogs and bike or walk down to the Connecticut River to swim with friends, or pick and eat wild raspberries and blackberries that grew on our property (I knew all the spots where they grew). My brother has always loved fishing more than anything, so I spent a lot of summer days killing time around waterfalls and going on nature walks while I waited for him. -Cat S.
My favorite memory of summer would be those childhood summers riding my bike everywhere I went with no time restraints – just had to make sure I checked in for lunch and home by dinner time. I grew up in an area that was pretty rural, with no sidewalks and lots of hills to ride up and down. There was very little traffic to contend with, in fact our town did not get its first traffic light until many years later when I was in high school. The freedom to just hop on your bike, meet up with friends and go gave you a feeling of being set free for the summer. It is, I think, what all kids should experience – a season of your life for just pure enjoyment. -Diana C.
I grew up in Orlando and from the time I was in elementary school through my college years and beyond, my parents would rent a beachside apartment and we would spend four wonderful weeks every summer in Cocoa Beach… One of my highlights was one summer when I befriended some kids from Houston who were staying in the same apartment complex and their father was a NASA engineer, who was visiting to work on a project at the Kennedy Space Center, which is close by. My family and I had enjoyed seeing numerous space shots from our vantage point on the beach over many summers, but this particular summer, my new friends’ dad invited me to come with their family when they went to see a spaceship (I don’t remember exactly which one) being rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is literally about 40 stories high! We had to wake up before sunrise to get out to the VIP viewing area in time and then watched the massive rocket come out of the VAB and proceed to make its slow “crawl” to the launch pad. It is a sight I will never forget. Cocoa Beach will always hold very fond childhood summer memories for me. -Marilyn S.
Growing up in Virginia near the Blue Ridge mountains was a treat during summer time. The rhododendron blooming on the Appalachian Trail was the surest sign that summer was near and that hiking and camping trips were in the offing. It could be nearing 100 degrees in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, but up on the Blue Ridge Parkway or the AT, you could subtract twenty degrees or more from the ambient temperature. As a kid, some of my favorite memories were the family picnics we took in that Buick Estate wagon (large as a living room). We would load up with a bucket of chicken, cooler of soda bottles, and head up the winding roads to the Peaks of Otter, where the picnicking areas were all located on a stream that emptied out into the lake, all under the oak and poplar tree canopy. I can remember the family photographs and the (now) odd hairdos my mother favored back then taken at the Peaks with fondness for simpler times. Now, having spent the last thirty-three years in the Tampa Bay area, I do miss the coolness of the air temperature of the mountains and the cold, clean water flowing from the mountain springs and streams, especially as summer temperatures stay locked in the 90s. My parents don’t get up there as often as they used to, age has a way of doing that, I guess. However, I make an effort on every summer visit to drag them out of their comfort zone and back to the source of such great memories for me. Their joints will remind them for several days afterward, but I don’t think they really mind so much. I know I certainly don’t. -Robert S.
… my first trip to the United States, I had just turned 6 years old. It was then that I decided I wanted to live here one day, and here I am. -Val T.