The Summer of Memory June 4, 2011Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
Already it is the summer of memory, childhood revisited in the warm bath of a brown lawn, walking barefoot carefully amidst the stickers, somewhere your grandfather’s voice scolding your mother: “you let those children go barefoot, people will think you can’t afford shoes.”
We prefigure the Huck Finn of some future broiling tile-walled classroom and head directly toward the water, canals and bayous–jigs, cane polls, crab nets–the innocent equipment of summer. The air is too still for dime kites, to hot a broth to fight our fathers’ war with sticks; too hot for devilry mid-afternoon. Fortified with a nickle’s worth of popsicle, we retire to the dark heart of a lilac forest to talk lazily in the shaded brown cave at its center or scale crooked oaks in search of breeze and distant vistas, on the lookout for new adventures.
What will my children remember when they step out on insistent adult errands some summer morning, their childhood bound up by Ipod and xBox in dark, air conditioned rooms? No remembered adventures of a world where all adults were pirates, ogres or enemy pickets, no stove top crab boils of their morning’s catch.
Something has died in our generation, and I suddenly understand the nineteenth century impulse to flee the ordered bourgeois lanes and fields and fetid cities for Tahiti, but even this impulse will be lost when our children have no memory of the tropical utopias of childhood.