Monday, June 15, 2009

Memory Monday- Hot Fun in the Summertime

I recently read Sag Harbor by MacArthur genius grant award-winning author, Colson Whitehead. Whitehead is known for his novels, The Intuitionist and John Hentry Days. Sag Harbor is an autobiographical novel in that it is fiction based on real life events. The book centers on the summer of 1985 when the protagonist, Benji, and his brother, Reggie, are at their beachfront, Sag Harbor home in New York. The boys are 15 and 14 years-old and their antics of that summer, mostly without supervision, is fodder for a coming-of-age story for young boys from affluent black families. Sag Harbor was one of the vacation enclaves where middle and upper-middle class African Americans from the East Coast owned summer homes. Some of these families had been there since the 1930s and 40s pre-integration.

There were aspects of Colson's story that hit home despite my being female and my coming-of-age being in ther 1960s, going into the 70s. My father and his best friend, Dr. Edward Wright, purchased a cabin in Morgan Hill, a rural community outside of San Jose, California. That is where we spent a lot of summer time during my teen years, along with other families from the surrounding Bay Area. My father's club, The Men of Tomorrow, a professional black businessmen's social and civic organization, held their annual 4th of July event at the Morgan Hill cabin, which was one of the biggest social events on their calendar. The members of the group were doctors, dentists, attorneys, ministers, teachers, businessmen, and government employees. They included Creoles from Louisiana, some of West Indian heritage, some from the East Coast but the majority were transplanted southerners, mostly first-generation college-educated. I made friendships among the kids, formed cliques with some of the girls, and had crushes on several of the "cute boys" ooh Mickey, and have my own coming-of-age antics from those "West Coast" summers. Bar-b-que, lemon pound cakes, watermelon, and Sly Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime" was the theme of the time.

What were the memorable highlights of your teen-age summers?

See my review of Sag Harbor-


'Cilla said...

Wonderful review Dera... I think I'll give the book another try.:-)

Yasmin said...

Nice Dera...remememorable highlights of my teen years:
my first job at a car wash
my first kiss
my first puppy love
my first love
going to summer camp
becoming a camp counselor
cheerleading camp
summmer in Europe
and I know I'm forgetting something...but it's late so I'll stop by again when I remember

Angelia... said...

Oh my, my most memorable summers were spent going on the train to New Jersey with my mom, hanging out with my cousins, talent shows in my grandma's front yard...going to the pool with my aunt so many things, I also enjoyed Sag Harbor...


Beverly said...

Nice post.
When I read your last comment on memorable summer memories - the first thing that came to mind was reading and books.
No matter what I did in the summer - travel, work, volunterrting, beaches - books were always with me.
I would usually read the same genre/theme throughout the summer. So one summer was science fiction, another Peyton Place type books but the best was the summer I "discovered" James Baldwin and Richard Wright and sent me on the hunt for other black authors.