Summertime, to me, has always been about reading. As a schoolgirl, summer vacation meant riding my bike to the library and filling the basket with books to be read during the long, lazy afternoons. If the book was engrossing, a flashlight under the covers allowed my sister and me to read into the night long after Mom called “Lights out!” Years later, she told us she knew about this habit but let it go. She was an avid reader herself and knew what it was to follow the story to a satisfactory conclusion.
Mom was a member of the Book-of-the-Month Club and when we were in high school we looked forward as much as she did to the box of new books delivered to our door. The only stipulation was that she got to read them first. Some of the romances were placed off limits, but we managed to find them and read them anyway. I don’t know why they were forbidden. The author never spelled out what happened when the the door closed on the lovers. Just … and the rest was up to our innocent imaginations.
Another bonus was the magazines that were delivered to our mailbox every month. Ladies Home Journal, McCalls, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook…I can’t recall them all, and most are gone now. But back in the day, each issue had two or three stories and in the summer there were special issues with several stories and a novella in the back.
There was always something to read, but summers were special. We read while eating our lunch sandwich, we read on the porch or sprawled on a blanket on the lawn, we read perched on a special limb in the apple tree, we even took our stash of magazines and books with us when we “camped” overnight in the back yard in an army surplus tent using a railroad lantern to illuminate the pages.
I read all year long, but I still think of summer as the time to read. Television is limited to reruns, the days are longer, and I can’t think of a better way to pass the time than to immerse myself in a romance, a mystery, or an adventure.
I have to admit, though, I no longer read in a tree or a tent.
Or with a flashlight.