Friday, June 27, 2014

July Memories

Here it is the weekend before the proverbial 4th of July and I’m thinking of youthful memories of the first two weeks in July.

My Dad always took the first two weeks in July as a vacation time and my folks booked a cabin on a lake in the Adirondacks. We did this three years starting when I was thirteen and until I was sixteen and then I got a job working at a wealthy family’s compound of several homes on the lake. My job was to chop wood and fill the kilning and woodbins throughout the compound. Each large home had at least four fireplaces and they used them each day. There are some very cold nights in the Adirondacks even in July and August.

As I think back, now in my seventies, I reflect on what I learned from that experience. It wasn’t all that pleasant. When you work for a very wealthy family, some of them will treat you kindly and with respect. Others will see you only as a servant and below their dignity for idle conversation. That was new to me. In the small city of 12-thousand where I grew up it seemed like everyone was equal. I guess that’s because we really didn’t have the mega-rich when I lived. It was mostly working class folks. Most families had a Ford or a Chevy. Some had a Buick and a few had a Cadillac. That’s how we knew who had the most money since the houses were fairly equal.

What I remember most of those youthful years was the peace we all felt. The Second World War was over by ten years. The Korean War was just over. Eisenhower was President. You could ride a bike without a helmut. The Cold War was developing with the USSR and we did fear a nuclear attack. Rock and Roll was the music. Elvis was big. Our entertainment, as teenagers in the summertime, was going to the movies, having a beach party or a sock-hop. The music was supplied by the 45 RPM’S we kids brought to the dance. Our parents either picked us up or we walked home.

I hope your memories of early July are just as profound and pleasant.

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