Memories of Summers Past in Chesapeake Bay Country… the original “Staycation”!
This past holiday weekend, I observed a line of animated youngsters in front of Stam’s Luncheonette; they were wiggling, jumping and happy in anticipation of their sweet treat! Is there anything better than an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day? I was immediately transported to my own summers growing up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, but these memories are not unique to me as I share them with many other local baby-boomers.
Gibson Island Chairs by Susan Graeber
Hot, hazy days dripping with humidity didn’t stop or even slow down a generation of kids unleashed from school in late-June with 10 weeks focused on fun!
Each day began with a scheme to escape your house and mother who was always ready with a chore or task, in my case watching younger brothers. A sandwich in a baggie would hasten our getaway and sustain us until the dinner hour so that our adventures were paramount!
Our days were chock full of activities and events: bike parades with baseball cards clipped to the spokes of your wheels and crepe paper decorated handle bars; lemonade stands where your only sale was to your mom but the cool, tart drink disappeared in no time!
Especially warm days were spent hiding in the dark, cool aisles of the library reading Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames adventures because it was the only air-conditioned place allowing kids to enter unaccompanied.
We spent hours running through sprinklers and searching in its mist for the rainbows. We waited not so patiently for the afternoon musical tribute offered by the Good Humor Ice Cream truck signally a treat of an icy popsicle to share with your friend, for just a nickel!
Other days were spent at the river’s edge fishin’, crabbin’ & swimmin’. Although I don’t remember ever catching anything, I do remember the laughter and joy while on the water.
Evening hours brought squirt gun battles and fire fly safaris (all you need is a jar & screw top with holes then wait until dusk) until we fell into bed exhausted and clamoring for the electric fan’s cool breeze.
Chestertown brings a sense of nostalgia, the small shops and businesses, a town centered around a park, seeped in history and hugging a river. Local farmers and artisans gather Saturday mornings at the Farmers Market and the streets are filled with parents with children in strollers. We are a hybrid community welcoming the young and the young at heart. We bustle during the day and shutter in the evening in expectation of a great tomorrow!