Once the end of the school year became official, the day we received our report cards, Wiman Ave. became a hub of activity.
We typically ran ourselves hot and sweaty all day long on hot summer days and splashed in the wet street and in puddles following the frequent showers.
In my memory, every summer day was a nice day. Even those summer showers provided good times. But even on those idyllic summer days of my youth there were frequent thunderstorms.
I remember an especially electrical electrical storm. I was sitting with my very reluctant grandmother watching the rain and lightning outside the big front window in her living room. We were both trying valiantly to put on a brave front to hide the fact that we were both “scared to death.”
Suddenly there was a very loud explosive noise – much louder than the constant thunder – from just outside the window and Grandma and I ended up screaming in each other’s arms. Lightning had hit a transformer on a nearby pole.
When we weren’t running and sweating, or taking a break during thunderstorms, we were spending much of every day in “our swimming pool,” which wasn’t a luxurious one in someone’s backyard, but the crowded, noisy and wonderful part of our summer also known as the McKinley Park swimming pool.
During the hottest days of summer we were at the pool — a short distance from our homes by the way of shortcuts — mornings, afternoons, and most days, after supper.
An important part of summer was enjoying our dripping popsicles every day while sitting on the stoop in front of Steve Gilbert’s corner grocery store. In between the popsicles, we found plenty of time and space for the goodies in the bell-ringing, music-playing ice cream trucks that visited the neighborhood.
Spending time with my best friend Tucker was a big part of my summer. He spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s house, which was next door to us, but usually lived in an apartment away from our neighborhood with his mother.
After elementary school, we never went to the same school at the same time.
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