Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tales of Summer

ABE SURGECOFF: People like to go down to the beach and bring their lunches, so they can go swimming. Some would go and buy a meal at the stands. They like to swim. And layin’ in the sun can make a sunburn. They take a bottle of Calomine lotion and it stops the burn on the sunburn. They enjoy being out on the beach with a swimming party. the children like to play in the sand. When they let the baby play in the sand he gets a sunburn. And some of them have a worse cold at the beach. They caught a cold and they figured they’d lay in the sun and that would disappear the cold. Well, it helps to disappear the cold. Let’s see, they bring their own radios, transistor radios, to hear the broadcast and they have to buy tonic to keep the smoothness in their mouth. and walking on the sand causes foot callouses.

JOHN LOWTHERS: A good time is had by all in the summertime. Goodtime weather. Here, there, and elsewhere take the bathin’ beaches in, attend to the baseball games, and attend my working. You get a couple weeks vacation out of it, I do. I work for the American Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, which I own. So I can take as long a vacation as I wish. I’m still on vacation, I’m takin’ it now. I’m stayin’ right here on my vacation, a rather long vacation.

GENE EDWARDS: I don’t like nothin’ about summer, it’s too hot. I know it’s better than winter, but that’s all I can say. I like spring and fall.

RODNEY BRAGG: I swim in cold water, I always go swimmin’ in cold water. I dive right in the water and go swimmin’ under the bridge. One time my sister fell in a mud hole out in the woods. I pulled her out of the mud hole, I had to get a rope and pull her out. Had to buy a rope at the store, it cost money. You can’t get nothin’ for nothin.’

BILL SEARS: In summer you go to beaches, go swimmin,’ go fishin,’ go to the amusement park. You go on the roller coaster and you go on the Dodge-’ems. You go on the Whip, you go for a boat ride. You go on a train, a train ride. You go on the Ferris Wheel. you go blueberry pickin.’ And, ah, you go ridin’ horses. You take a tramp in the woods. that’s about all.

WALTER KIERAN: I used to go from Salem Willows to Nantasket Beach in a passenger boat. It was about two hours and cost two dollars. you buy your food on the boat, that cost you a dollar or two. they had movin’ pictures on the boat, and a six piece orchestra would play. You could dance, there were girls there. you’d take a girl out to dinner on the boat and then you’d hire a room outside the boat and give her a little lovin.’ and after that you’d take her to the movin’ pictures. then after that you’d take her to Salem Willows and give her popcorn and kisses -- candy kisses, homemade ones by the Woods Brothers of Salem, candymakers. Besides that work they were salesmen for the Kennedy Clothing Company. you could buy a suit of clothes from them for fifty dollars, no hundred dollars. they had a tailor, used to fix you up, Bill Hanson his name was. He left Clark & Friend Clothing Company and went to Kennedy & Company clothing Company. I worked at Clark & Friend’s as an errand boy. I got all my stuff for nothin’ from Clark & Friend’s, I didn’t have to pay for it. for workin’ for ’em, instead of just gettin’ money, I’d get clothes.

WALTER McGEORGE: Summer’s a beautiful time of year when almost all winter dreams are possible. You can put into operation all thoughts of the past, and make them as realistic as possible because they’re simply too good to last. It’s very easy in the summer to make your winter dreams come true.

(from David Greenberger’s conversations with residents of the Duplex Nursing Home, Jamaica Plain, MA, 1982, and published in The Duplex Planet issue #38, July, 1982.)