Welcome. Cold peach soup. “Under the Boardwalk.” The smell of chlorine. Spitting watermelon seeds off the porch into the yard. So much limeade and lemonade (homemade, if possible). Last week, I asked you what would go on your “instant summer” list, what sounds and scents and activities conjure the season for you, no matter the time or place. The tide of responses was a delight: remembrances of summers long past, sun-soaked snapshots unfaded. Here are some of the highlights.
“Orange juice poured into D.I.Y. plastic Popsicle molds. Voilà — it’s summer!” —Patty Malgieri, Bronxville, N.Y.
“As soon as school is out, must watch ‘Meatballs.’” —Elizabeth Quiroz, Toronto
“Gin and tonic, unsweetened iced tea and various spritzers are produced for our Hours of Charm (the before-dinner drink that my grandmother always said made everyone a little more charming).” —Kam Hitchcock, Virginia Beach, Va.
“Riding Rockaway bicycle path consistently. Dinners at Eataly with my girlfriend. Kisses in the Seaport. Steak frites at Bar Marseille. Cooking lots of salmon and spinach. Avocado salads and tandoori turkey wings.” —Raj Brandston, Far Rockaway, Queens
“Eating tomato sandwiches — just mayo and tomatoes on white (preferably homemade) bread — is one of my favorite things each summer.” —Beverly Kerr, Morgantown, W. Va.
“Shopping for school clothes in July and August. The smell of coconut suntan lotion. The movie ‘Oklahoma!’ and the song ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.’ The children’s books of Elizabeth Enright and Edward Eager. Walking at night. Swimming at night. White Shoulders cologne. Rereading Raymond Chandler in August. The Perseids meteor showers in August. Lemonade with mint. Living in the garden. Imagining how perfect NEXT summer will be.” —Leslie McLean, Sonoma, Calif.
“Spend the whole day — the WHOLE day — reading. Doesn’t matter what, so long as it’s fiction, gripping and long. Stop only for more lemonade, to make a peanut butter sandwich or move from couch to porch. Instant childhood, instant summer.” —Sharon Airhart, Toronto
“My cheeks in high color, overripe peaches”: Lorde’s recent single “Solar Power” is a dose of instant summer. She spoke to Joe Coscarelli about what went into making it for the latest installment of Diary of a Song.
I learned about After Life Experience from the Recomendo newsletter. It’s a sort of interactive art piece that helps you select “one memory from your own life, in which to spend eternity.” It seemed like it could be corny, but I got into it. You can do the exercise, or you can just listen to recordings of other people’s memories.
“So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky/of this black August. My sister, the sun,/broods in her yellow room and won’t come out.” I memorized this Derek Walcott poem years ago, and each year, on the first rainy day in August, it surfaces in my mind.
A couple of months ago, it seemed like this summer might mean less time “at home” and more time “away,” at least for some, at least compared to last summer. But that may be changing with the news about the Delta variant. Have you changed any of your plans? Tell us: [email protected] Include your full name and location and we might feature your response in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for leading a full and cultured life, whether you’re at home or away, appear below.
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There’s more to read, do and watch in our archive. Let us know what you think.
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