Picture if you will, a mountainous desert area.
Picture a city where public transportation is all but nonexistent.
A city where everything closes at 6pm, and the choices for weekend distraction are "The Mall" or the bowling alley.
A place where summer temperatures are rarely are below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and summer begins in May and ends in September.
Need a visual aid? Well here it is.
Complete with scrubby brush and pallid Joshua Trees, this rather barren landscape is what I called home for the first 18 years of my life.
No I'm not bitter about it, really. Just wanted to paint you the picture of my childhood. It never ceases to amaze me that I now live a mere 5 minute walk from the beach in a huge sprawling city! The sheer difference between the two locations I've lived in amuses me. Oh and if you're wondering if I'll ever move back to this desert? The answer is no. I'm a city girl now and quite happy about it, but let's get to the point.
What this is all leading up to is this: for this girl, SUMMER = READING. Each summer since I was 6 years old, my mom would buy us summer reading packs from Scholastic. These little gems would come all gussied up in a snazzy resealable bag, and usually had between 3 and 4 different age appropriate books in them to enjoy. I can still recall the first one I ever had. I'd take a book out, gently read it (never bending the spines) then place it back in just so before reading the next one.
I have such fond memories of those reading packs. Scholastic helped introduce me to authors like Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. I discovered amazing books like Just Juice and The Phantom Tollbooth. In fact I so looked forward to these summer reading packs that summer couldn't come fast enough! While other kids planned pool trips and summer lake trips, I planned to read.
As I got older and read more, my mom would take us out once a month to brave the heat (it helped that the library had free air conditioning) and get a stack of books to supplement the ones she bought us. To make a long story short, I spent the majority of each of my traditional school, three month summer breaks in front of our swap cooler, reading a book.
Even now that I live near the beach, summertime temperatures always prompt me to read more than normal. There's something satisfying about sitting in a cool bedroom, or now at a cool beach, and devouring a particularly delicious summer read! Even though my childhood home wasn't always my favorite place, it did help mold me into a reader. For that I love the desert, and for that I will always be grateful.
That's my summer story! What's yours?