by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter May 30, 2019

Fifty years ago this summer my mom, dad, brothers, sisters and I moved from Wells, Maine, to Brandon, Florida. It was the summer of ’69 and I was 8 years old. Little did I know at the time how iconic that summer would become for our country. I remember watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon while watching a little 13-inch black and white TV, and seeing news reports of the Woodstock music festival, narrated by Walter Cronkite. I remember how hot it was in Florida compared to Maine summers. That was a sweet summer that I’ll never forget.

I got used to the Florida weather pretty quickly and I loved summers as a kid. They were three months long and I played outside and rode my bike every day. At church, we had two weeks of VBS and a week of RA/GA camp at Lake Yale. As a teenager, I went on choir tours and mission trips up and down the east coast and into Canada. You didn’t need a passport back then to go to Canada. Summers were a blast when I was a kid.

I’m not a big country music fan, but the group, Diamond Rio, has a song that I love called “Sweet Summer.” The verses of the song talk of listening for the ice cream truck and running home to get some money of watching your dad work on the car in the driveway and playing hide and seek with kids in the neighborhood “till your mama called you home” and of having your first crush on the “girl next door” who rides a pink Schwinn. Remember those cool three-speed bikes with the banana seat and sissy bar?

“Those days were never too long And never too hot
Even though I was out of school I was learnin' a lot
There's not a day that I don't remember
From the end of May to the first of September
Sweet summer, yeah I remember that
Sweet summer, let me take you back.”

I hope you have fond memories of summers as a kid. I hope that you’re making sweet memories of summer with your kids so that 50 years from now they can look back fondly on this summer and remember family vacations, Camp Create, the Jubilate choir tour, the Passport mission trip, and of course, the record heat from the summer of ’19.

Sweet summer, yeah I remember that
Sweet summer, let me take you back.”