Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cruisin' On a Summer Afternoon

This is the first time I have participated in something like this, something called a meme. I had not a clue as to what a meme is, so I looked it up.


Show Spelled Pronunciation[meem] Pronunciation Key
a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.
[Origin: 1976; < href=""> (accessed: August 06, 2008).
Modern Language Association (MLA):

Yasmin Coleman of APOOO Books threw out the challenge to cite thirteen things one remembers from childhood summers and to link it to your blog. I blog so seldom; on the spur of the moment I decided to participate. Maybe this will be a start of my blogging on a regular basis.

This exercise reminded me I have written a collection of childhood memories that have a working title of what else? Childhood Memories. Obviously, I need a better title. Two of those have been published and I need to work on polishing some more up and submitting somewhere. Growing up in Oakland, California was a lot different from the Oakland today. We roamed the neighborhood and beyond during the summer; sometimes, our parents didn’t know where we were but we knew to be home before dark. I grew up in a multicultural family neighborhood and there were a lot of Leave it Beaver moments. Boy, were those the days.

So, to get on with the Thursday Thirteen, I present thirteen summer occurrences I remember about my childhood.

Links to the post on Thursday Thirteen Childhood Summer Memories (with links to other posters’ blogs) and the original Thursday Thirteen are below.

1. 4th of Julys in Arkansas, either down in the country in Union County or in Little Rock surrounded by cousins and good food. Being the child of African American southern parents, making the trek back to the south to our place of our roots was a way of connecting with our history and ancestry.

2. Walking more than a mile to the swimming pool at Diamond Park. It would be a big group of us carrying our swimwear, including a swimming cap; even as a little girl, I had to protect the do. I write about my hair woes in the story “Shirley Temple Curls.”

3. Gathering at the top of E. 21st Street, watching the boys drive their homemade go carts down the hill. This was a bittersweet memory as one of my childhood friends, Tyrone was killed when he rolled down hill into the path of a bus and was killed. I wrote about this in a piece, “Blackberry Summer” that was published in a journal.

4. Digging up some change to go to the corner store for a big, fat, juicy dill pickle and pack of Kool-aid. There was nothing like it; busting open that packet of Kool-aid, preferably my favorite, grape and rubbing the pickle in it. mmm. Good stuff.

5. Roller skating and riding our bikes. Now my sister and brother claim I would be sitting on the porch reading while they were skating and biking but I know I did those things because I broke my arm roller skating when I was nine and stayed in Children’s Hospital for two days. But I can remember sitting on the porch reading a Nancy Drew mystery. Yep, my siblings were right, I did sit on the porch and read when I wasn’t playing and wrote in my journal also.

6. Going to our cabin in Morgan Hill as a teenager. That’s where my dad’s civic organization, East Oakland Business and Professional Men’s’ Assoc., had their annual summer picnic. Some of the Bay Area’s Talented Tenth attended this event and there were some cute guys! Mariea Johnson’s family had a cabin there also and I remember going to her debutante party in Berkeley. I definitely need to write about that, especially since the death of Dr. Clarence Avery this past spring.

7. Walking over to Jennifer’s house and the smell of her father’s gumbo meeting me at the front door. Her parents were from New Orleans and there was always something good at her house.

8. Gary U. S. Bond’s “School is Out at Last” blasting from the cars at the end of the school year. That was the standard song in the 60s. Jennifer, Lisa and I would be in one of our bedrooms watching Dance Party and American Bandstand, learning the new dance steps. Occasionally, one of us would show a new step from a visiting cousin or something we brought back from our visits to the South.

9. Walking to the movies from my cousins’ house at the Fruitvale theater on Saturday afternoons. My dad would give us money; it cost .25 cents to get in the theater. Wow, I’m dating myself.

10. Going to Housewives Market and seeing all the cases of different meats and foods and visiting with people. It was the meeting place for black folks. We also got back-to-school clothes there. We kind of mixed it up with items from Cap wells and Rhodes. A little downtown mixed with uptown.

11. Going over to Celia’s house on the day her mother made tortillas. Those were the best and the beginning of my love affair with Mexican food.

12. Playing tetherball and kickball at Manzanita School playground. I remember Deborah Stewart wanted to fight me because I beat her playing tetherball. She was a bully. Hey, I need to write a story about this.

13. Walking to the library once a week and carrying as many books as I was allowed to check out. My mother, the schoolteacher, saw to it we, my brother and sister and I got library cards as soon as we could write our names. It was big brown building over by my first elementary school, Garfield, around the corner where my little red-haired kindergarten friend, Peggy lived. I have a story about our friendship.

August 7, 2008


JennyKat said...

I enjoyed your look back at your childhood. We share some of the same experiences. I was always the one sitting around reading, too... in fact, as much as my mom encouraged reading, there were times when I would still hear "get your nose out of that book"...especially when I was supposed to be doing my chores... lol.

Welcome to Thursday Thirteen and I look forward to more of your blogging :-)

Yasmin said...

Dera I love your list and welcome to TT.

JC Martin said...

Dera, you have me remembering things from my summers. I wrote a story about some of the activities we used to do called Summertime Fun. I should post it on my blog.

Welcome to T13, it's a wonderful way to share some exciting things.

One thing though I love those big pickles also, but not with Kool-aid.

Dera Williams said...

Ah, someone who can empathize with me. Thanks for the welcome Jennykat.

Thanks Yas, itwas fun and spur of the moment. Things just started popping in my head.

Hey Jennifer, post your Summertime fun blog. Suffice to say, I do not eat my pickles with Kool-aid now, but Girl, back then it was the bomb.

Tink said...

I think "meme" comes from me-me, all about me.
Thanks for visiting my Olympics TT.

Genesis said...


What is tether ball?

Sometimes I wish I grew up in the south. When I moved there, I immediately picked up on what a child of the south would love about it. I'm thankful my kids got to experience that 'freedom' in some aspect.

Dera Williams said...

I didn't know that Tink. Thanks

Darnetta, dear child, a tether ball is a big ball similar to a soccer ball? I think, help me out folks. It has a long rope attached to a ball. You hit the ball until it wraps around the pole. Your opponent is opposite you trying to do the same thing.

Book Manaic said...

Everyone has wonderful memories... I remember going to the roller rink, learning to ride a bike (I learned this one late), sleep overs, city fair, having bake sale to earn money for the movies then spending it on ice cream HEHEhe...

too much to remember too much fun

Thanks for sharing

Nicholas said...

I enjoyed that list a lot.

Welcome to TT!