Your mission, should you choose to accept it:Share one or more of your favorite
summertime memories with us. It can be a childhood memory or more recent.
The memory can be a vague conglomeration of how you spent summers past
(catching fireflies, playing outside till dark, watermelon seed wars) or it
can be a detailed memory of a specific event. You may write a poem or short
story or just tell it like it was. The main idea is to communicate the
essence of summer and what symbolizes the season in words and/or pictures.
Until I was in the sixth grade, my family did not have a car. To get places, we would walk, ride the bus, or ride in the cars of friends or family. Without a car, our summer vacation opportunities were somewhat limited for a family of five. However, thanks to Father DeGraff, a bachelor Episcopalian priest at our church, (Priests in the Episcopal Church do not take a vow of chastity; thus, many priests in the Episcopal denomination marry.) we were able to take a number of one-day trips throughout Indiana and the eastern part of Ohio. We visited historic places like Mounds State Park, Fort Defiance, a monument to Frances Slocum, and Lincoln's boyhood home. We went to scenic places like Turkey Run State Park, Indiana Dunes State Park and an abandoned limestone quarry. We went to lakes in northeast Indiana to go swimming. Wherever our destination, the Thompsons, my parents, my two sisters, Margaret and Betsy, and myself, the youngest of the three daughters were always in for a day of fun with Fr. DeGraff. The good father would drive us in his trusty Chevy, and my parents would prepare enough food for two picnics. Not only was reaching the destination fun, but for the three daughters the trip itself was an adventure. Our generous host would regale his guests with stories, jokes, and humorous little ditties. Additionally, the driver enjoyed taking back roads to find our final location. Sometimes, these backroads ended in a corn field or lead to a broken down bridge. For we three girls, these kind of mishaps only added to the adventure.
Eventually, Father DeGraff married a lovely woman and had children of his own. When my oldest sister, Margaret, turned 16, my parents bought their first automobile, a used two-tone 1953 Chevy. Our family began to take occasional vacations on our own, but I will always ever so fondly remember those very special summertime trips for a family without a car with our friend, the parish priest, Father DeGraff.