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The Summer of Memory June 4, 2011

Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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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.

Comments»

1. Marco - June 5, 2011

Yes, what will the children think of when stalled in traffic at 51? The stickball games, marbles in a biz, sea-sand castles, forts in vacant lots, basketball on hot asphalt, shy stolen moments with young girls, cold ocean foam…

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2. sussah - June 5, 2011

They will still remember their childhood fondly. But they have traded in their sense of self, in exchange for the constant unnatural connectedness. I think there is a loss there, but it’s a trade-off they gladly bought into. It makes you wonder about the generation after that– hopefully they will be more self-reliant or even balanced, probably even better than we are, since the generations are improving over time. thanks, very nice post as always, sp

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Paul Benton - June 6, 2011

“that summer feeling” by jon richman. great song about what i believe you were talking about.

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3. candice - June 29, 2011

there’s a counter-argument here that these generations are on the machines because they weren’t allowed to go outside and play.

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Mark Folse - June 29, 2011

That’s so true, but we bugged my son to get out of the house all the time, until he started getting out of the house. Then his mother worried what he was going over in the park with his buddies. Me, I’m glad he got out of the house. He and one buddy walk all over so he’s getting some exercise. I just wish it was everyday. (Said buddy walks to school in the Marigny from his house in Mid-City).

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candice - June 30, 2011

At LSMSA (the state-level ben franklin), they did their best to take our cars away so all socializing involved copious walking. ‘Downtown’ Natchitoches is about a three mile walk from campus. It was good for us; no-one really minded the walking because you’d go out in groups and talk the whole time.

Before that, though, I was stuck at home. Read a lot of books.

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