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Nostalgia for “Good Old Summer Time”

Swimmer diving into lake

It’s Memorial Day Weekend. Are you ready to dive into summer? Every summer is magical, but no summer is matches my kid-size memories. Take this swimmer diving into a lake. It takes me back to high school summers on the lakeshore. We basted ourselves with cocoa butter — something I now deeply regret — and admired the lifeguard with zinc oxide on his nose. If only we’d known then that the sun can be dangerous.

Slip, Slop, Slap & Wrap poster

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that summer is the season to SLIP – SLOP – SLAP & WRAP

SLIP on a shirt, preferably one with UV protection.

SLOP on the sunscreen.

SLAP on a hat, and

WRAP sunglasses with UV protection around the eyes.

Girl running through sprinklers

Getting back to the lazy days of June, July, and August, I remember running through sprinklers in the early evening. And who can forget the ice cream truck?

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At a time when freezers could barely contain a pint container of frozen desert, those trucks with their tacky tunes were a special treat.

There was roasted corn-on-the-cob with those silly plastic end holders that usually broke.

Picnic plate with corn-on-the-cob

There were bike rides — an activity we still see today.

And Hula-Hoops which I never mastered and don’t miss.

Girl with hula hoop

On super hot days, we sometimes went to the movies for the wet refrigerated air. Lots of the movies featured beaches with people having more fun than even we did. Who can forget Annette Funacello and Frankie Avalon in the Beach Movies of the early 1960s?

Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello

Beach fashion has changed a lot over the years.

There are many “Songs of Summer” but for me, the classic is In The Good Old Summer Time from a 1949 movie of the same name starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. At the time, both actors epitomized wholesome glamour. And in this rendition of the classic song, the A Cappella Trudbol Barbershop Quartet brings out the nostalgia.


Summer Splash, Lake Dunmore, US


Girl in Sprinkler by Austin Kirk

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Girl Twirling Hula Hoop, 1958 by BeenAroundAWhile

Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in Beach Party Films. Public Domain

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

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.


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