Sweet Summer Memories

When you think of summer, it is inevitable that you imagine a beach or a swimming pool.  There is a memory that I recall often because it involves my mother’s ingenuity.  It is also a memory that gives people a good laugh.


So today, I thought for a change I would write my story.  My three siblings and I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1970’s.  It was a typical upbringing; we played sports, we played outside until dark, we knew our neighbors.

According to the US Census, the population of Middleburg Heights was 12,367 in 1970.  This was a 120% increase from just ten years previously (US Census).

My parents raised four children primarily on one salary; so my mother had to find inexpensive and creative ways to keep her children entertained in the summer time.  The concept of neighborhood swimming pools hadn’t been implemented.

My mother recounts that one day she was driving down Pearl road where she noticed a pool outside of a small motel.  On an impulse, she stopped and went inside.  She asked the manager about using the pool during the summer.  She said, I “guess he was in a state of shock that someone would ask to do that.  [We] went almost every day during the week.”  Mom recalled that there were several families that went.  She and a friend even made our beach towels.  The cost for this fabulous entertainment was $35.00 for the summer.

I remember having tons of fun at the pool.  We did not have any concept that it was peculiar.  I can still see the women smoking cigarettes, and the children running….no, I mean, “fast walking,” remember you are not supposed to run around the pool!

One day, my mom left the pool area to either get more ice or snacks or maybe to freshen her martini (just kidding).  It was at this time that I decided to jump off the diving board.  I was young enough not to be a good swimmer so I had a Styrofoam safety ring around my waist.  I jumped into the deep end and the ring split into two.  I do not have a memory of being frantic.  I do have a memory of my sister jumping in and getting me.


Glamorous Lifestyles

I wanted to find an image to remind us what motels looked like in the 1970’s so go along with this story.  This one is pretty close to my memory.  What are your childhood memories of summer time?


Source: “Ohio: Population and Housing Unit Counts” (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 21, 2018. 


The trip that almost wasn’t…


I was going through pictures recently and came across a couple of photos from 1981. This brings back a very distinct memory for me. I was in my thirteenth year and my younger brother Joe was not quite 10. That summer my sister had just finished her junior year and Dave, my older brother had just finished his freshman year. Mom, Joe and I were to take a trip to see mom’s parents in Lynchburg, Virginia. The older siblings were going to stay at home. I think we got the tickets via a frequent flier program of some sort. I think it was the first airplane trip for Joe and me.

A day before we were to go on this trip, I was riding my bicycle around the neighborhood without tennis shoes. Rather I was wearing flip-flops. I am not sure how it went, but I ended up flipping over my handle bars and onto the street. A neighbor teenager went and got my mother, somehow another neighbor, a part-time nurse came out and together they made the decision that due to the amount of blood on the street that I should be taken to the emergency room. This story would just be a regular childhood story, had it not been for the doctor’s recommendation that I should not fly for 24 or 48 hours. This in turn was not okay with my mom. I remember going past her bedroom and over hearing her crying to someone on the phone, it could have been her mother, that she was not going to be able to come as planned. I am not sure if we lost our money or how the story went, hopefully my mother can fill in the blanks. I do remember feeling like such a heel. These pictures bring back that feeling. I know we went and probably had a great time. But, I am not sure at what cost. The cost to my childhood was great though, because it was a clear time in my childhood that I remember having a negative impact and causing her such pain.

As I continue to explore backwards I have to remember that there are good feel-good stories in our past as well as stories that stir up negative emotions. Both types have a valid place in our history.


Krista, Betty, and Joe leaving for Lynchburg

Krista, Betty, and Joe leaving for Lynchburg

At the airport

At the airport