Friday, May 22, 2009

What It Was...

Me during the the summer of '85, half my lifetime (and 40lbs) ago

It's the traditional start of summer this weekend. Happy heat to all. It gets me thinking.

My best summer - in all respects - was 1985. Poverty stricken, meaningless soul-sucking employment, car-less, rent paid late every month - it didn't matter. It ranks above all others. Despite my relatively advanced age at the time (24), it felt like the last full blown summer of my youth. It was a grand one and I remember it fondly. It was magnificent precisely because it lacked substance - material or otherwise - and so it had a pure, zen-like, in-the-moment, perfection. In the interest of full disclosure, there was, as I remember, a lot of beer as well.

There were other good ones: '93 (the first summer I knew Curry), '91 (three months and 10,000 miles of driving with the Padre), and '90 which, despite (or perhaps, because of) its proximity to my brother's death, was similar to that live-each-moment ideal. I spent a good portion of that lost summer of grief with GE on a secluded NoCal beach contemplating waves, fog and cold - testical-retracting - water. Though all three remain special, they still dim in comparison to that last boyish season of the mid 1980's.

Perhaps, like all memories, I merely glean the best and gloss the rest, but every year about this time I get nostalgiac for that summer of bliss (and the poverty-shrugging, thin, young man who inhabited it) half a lifetime ago.

What was your best summer?


rhonanon said...

I don't recall that summer, exactly. You'll have to give me some reminders. BTW, that bed is in my dad's crawlspace if you want it back.

arlopop said...

That was my summer of boxers and ripped khaki shorts. Of my studio on Penn and your apartment on Clarkson. Of cantelope lunches and crockpot dinners. Of $4 haircuts from the mad, combed-over, cyprian barber, and golden brown flesh. Of your blondest of blond locks and brownest of brown roots. Of weekend rides to the park, and beach days at the reservoir with Kathy Goldstein. Of biking home from work to meet you on your building's stoop, and the stifling heat there when I stayed overnight. Of ghastly Power Station/OMD at Red Rocks and and delightful Prizzi's Honor at the cinema. Of our first meal at The Rattlesnake Club, and far less culinary fare elsewhere. Of me mocking you seeing St. Elmo's Fire and you mocking me seeing nothing. Of Kyle obsessively cleaning laundramat washers, and me obsessively avoiding cleanliness. Of your first trip to San Francisco, and the first postcard you ever sent me from there (I still have it and laugh at the "recalled watermelon" clipping you pasted to it). Of Fables of the Reconstruction and Reconstruction of the Fables. Of Gene Loves Jezebel pouring from your speakers on Saturday mornings. Of Mark's unannounced visits from nowhere, and no other visitors at all. Of dabbling photographs, and dabbling watercolors, and dabbling collage. Of fresh fruit in a colander that I still own, and bread with a snappy crust. Of Pip in her snobbish glory, and Tuffy in his vacant repose. Of Benjamin's first sunny season, and Ruth Gordon, Orson Welles, Yul Brynner and Rock Hudson's last. Of moments when to "plan for the future" meant only the weekend, and a lack of health insurance was no concern. It was the summer of endless possiblities and oh so limited means.

And it was the best summer of my life.

Baywatch said...

wonderful read. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this summer. fingers crossed.

verification word: yeeratin

as in, why yeeratin yer summers?