I sometimes think, if fact I pretty much know, that though I may hold a summer ideal analogous to a surfer at sunset after a hard day in the sea, it’s not the norm for most people.
In my mind’s nostalgia for “the good old days,” summer was a time noted for a complete lack of scheduling. I think that’s what summer means to many of us. And even if we’re still shackled by the office and technological wonders, we keep the myth alive.
“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”
– Sam Keen
In summer, it’s officially acceptable to be off schedule. Sadly, today summer is over. Yep, in Hawai`i, public schools start today. This is a hard fact for students, and also for people like me who remember the long summers of June-July-August.
We become nostalgic for summers spent squinting in the glare off the surface of the public pool, catching fire flies after dark, and running around with the neighborhood kids. We fail to remember hot summer temperatures without air conditioning, mosquitoes and chiggers that came out with the fireflies, and the hours of boredom that hit about August. Those of us infused with nostalgia, join with William Shakespeare’s observation:
“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
There are sensible trade-offs for a shorter summer. Teachers don’t spend the first month of school reviewing everything they taught in May. Students don’t forget how to write — yes, I did that one summer.
And there are breaks scattered into the school year. A week in October, two weeks for Winter Break, a week in the spring. Not the endless span of time for looking at clouds, but still a whisper of unscheduled time.
Summer nostalgia isn’t a new thing. One of the hit songs of 1902 was In the Good Old Summer Time.
If you’d like to sing-a-long with this Barbershop Quartet below, here are the words:
There’s a time in each year
That we always hold dear,
Good old summer time;
With the birds and the trees-es,
And sweet scented breezes,
Good old summertime,
When your day’s work is over
Then you are in clover,
And life is one beautiful rhyme,
No trouble annoying,
Each one is enjoying,
The good old summer time.
Illustrations in the Public Domain from Wikimedia Commons.
“Huntington Pier with Surfer.”
“Kids on Bikes.”
“Clear Blue Sky in India.”
“In the Good Old Summer Time Sheet Music with Inset Picture of Blanch Ring.” 1902.
Shakespeare Quote from Sonnet 18. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Patrice Bendig. “The Reason Behind Millennial Summer Nostalgia.” HuffPost. July 28, 2016.
Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.
Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.