Summer Daze

Sitting here with the wind rising and facing another day of record rainfall across the state tomorrow after two decades of drought, got,me thinking about summers past.   I’m facing my first Christmas as an orphan, if a 53 year old man can be an orphan and the excitement of Christmas approaching is tempered with the knowledge that both Mum and Dad are gone now and this is my first summer without them.

I remember the long summer days at Richardson Street, the smell of cut grass, of apples fermenting on the ground beneath the two trees in the front yard, of the wonderful scent of petrichor as the summer thunder storms rolled in.   There was no daylight saving in those days, but we stayed outside late anyway.  No air conditioning, in the house, or at school, and in the cars we rolled the windows down, didn’t press a button to keep them up and turn on the refrigeration.

Summer meant a crate of Loys softdrinks home delivered once a week, the weekend visits of Mr Whippy and chocolate coated ice cream cones.   It meant some beach visits where we’d tie meat to a string to catch crabs in rock pools at Ricketts Point.

It was hours spent in the Clark above ground pool, dragging ourselves in circles to create a whirlpool.  Dad shifted that pool to half a dozen different places in the yard.  We had no filter so he’d spend hours out there himself scooping leaves out and dosing it with chlorine that stung our eyes.

And on weekends were Dad’s BBQ’s, burnt sausages and the best hot chips you’ve ever tasted smothered in salt.

Summer meant a race with my sister Karen to see who could get the best tan.  There was no slip, slop, slap campaign in those days.  Instead we’d coat oursleves in coconut oil and lie on our towels on the footpath slowly basting in the heat.  I generally won, and have had a couple of skin cancers cut out since to prove it.

The days were long and hot, the nights cool with the chirping of crickets.  The days were simpler then before the times that meant there were too many summers to remember.

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19 Comments

  1. Andrew said,

    December 7, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Melburnian children of your, oh, our age, never remember winter. Summers were delightfully hot, but never too hot. Even it we had to stamp on ice over puddles in the winter, it was never that cold.

  2. Cate said,

    December 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    That was a really nice post – having young children of my own tends to make me sentimental every now and then for my own childhood (not the sunburn though of course!!).I hope you have lots of fun, friends and family lined up to make the day memorable none the less 🙂 xxx

  3. gaelikaa said,

    December 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Actually, my husband's 56 and this is his first year as an orphan I, on the other hand, lost my father when I was just 13. Believe me, it seems just like yesterday. There's no right time to lose a parent.

  4. gaelikaa said,

    December 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Oh and thank you for mentioning me in your recent kite post – I was writing a novel (NaNoWriMo challenge) in November and it took me one month to write 57,000 words. So I was slow to get back and see it. It was a very touching post…

  5. Lori said,

    December 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    "Facing my first Christmas as an orphan"….(((((Loz)))) I enjoyed reading of your summer memories. Blessings. XX

  6. Loz said,

    December 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Quite right Andrew 🙂

  7. Loz said,

    December 7, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Cate – it will be Christmas as usual and that in itself will feel a bit weird this first year

  8. Loz said,

    December 7, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Galeikaa – I guess any loved one leaves a hole and reminds us of our own mortality

  9. Loz said,

    December 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Hi Lori – It just sort of struck me yesterday that I am an orphan

  10. greenie01 said,

    December 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Lovely memories of summer to read in the cold December days. My husband is an orphan too (10 years now). Hope you enjoy Christmas and thank you for commenting on my blog.

  11. Lavender Luz said,

    December 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    So funny. Eden (from EdenRiley.blogspot.com, an Aussie blogger extraoridinaire) calls me Loz or Lozza. So when I saw your comment today I was a little disoriented!Anyway, your summers sound idyllic and much like mine here in the other hemisphere. May you find peace and comfort this holiday season. I'm sorry for the loss you're feeling.

  12. Loz said,

    December 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you Greenie I will. This is after all just another stage of life.

  13. Loz said,

    December 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks for visiting Luz – I'll make sure I check out Eden's blog as well 😉

  14. Anonymous said,

    December 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    What a wonderful Post, I'm so glad you sent me this link..Blessings and courage, as you face the holidays…I really like your blog, I'll be back.Dorothy Stahlneckerformerly grammology.

  15. December 9, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Loz, this is such a heartfelt and real piece of writing. Thank you for sharing your summer memories with us. I understand completely your sense of loss. Wonderful photos. Treasure your memories.Jeannex

  16. Snowbrush said,

    December 10, 2010 at 1:22 am

    If this is your first summer without both parents, then both parents must have died together. Wow. I am sorry for your loss. Truly, my friend, I am.Mine are dead too. My mother in 1988 and my father in 1994. Right now, I have a dog that is dying, and I'll tell you solemnly, I had rather lose a parent than a dog. It took me a long time to stop grieving for my mother, and it was horrific grief too, but I finally got through it. However, I'm still grieving for my last dog, and she died in 1993.

  17. Loz said,

    December 10, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Thanks for the visit Cottage Garden – I do treasure the memories.

  18. Loz said,

    December 10, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Hi Snowbrush – no this is my first summer without a parent. Dad passed away in 2004. I hope the times you have left with your dog are good ones, they do indeed become a part of the family.

  19. Kristina P. said,

    December 11, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I had a friend once tell me that no matter how old you are when your parents die, you are still an orphan. I never thought of it that way. Lovely memories.


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