This shot was sent in by Nancy Connolly and we love it! It has every kid archetype in it. “Too Cool for School,” “Goofball Clown, (with eye patch!!)” “Shy Little Guy,” “Awkward Teen”. And we also love that they’re all huddled around a hot grill making s’mores! Today that wouldn’t be “safe.”
Another great picnic shot, sent in by Joanne DeWald (the baby in the pic.) Remember when moms made their own birthday cakes rather than buying a piece of “cake art.” We hope there are still lopsided cakes being make out there. They taste way better.
Karen Cirrincione sent in this shot of her grandparents, Allen & Edythe. Have we forgotten the simple relaxing joy of a fold-out chair in the back yard? Can’t you just feel the nylon straps against your skin?
Janet Loh sent in another lawn chair photo, this one is of her mom and her friends hanging out in the backyard in Walla Walla WA in 1968. Walla Walla? Hubba Hubba!
Vicki Gowin sent in this bathing beauty photo of her as a toddler in the Shenandoah Valley, circa 1959. We covet that harlequin pool. A lot.
Kiddie pools got a lot of camera time. Check out this photo of Denise Coblish in Schenectady, NY, 1971. We especially love how the inflatable swan kept her safe in the dangerous 4 inch deep waters.
Another pool shot…this time with a slide! (Aren’t they illegal now?) Linda Leonardi sent in this shot of her sisters and dad, circa 1966 in Port Jervis, NY. “Marco!” “Polo!” “Polo!” “Polo!” “Polo!”
We received a lot of great family reunion photos too. We love the style in this one, taken in 1927 in Winters, CA, and sent in by Kathy Norton. Check out the leather couch brought down to the river. And the beautiful picnicware. We wish we were right there!
Another wonderful family photo of Susan Kramer and her cousins, mom, etc. What a great moment of laughter. Makes us ponder who said what silliness that cracked everyone up.
Karen Quick sent in this picture of her Dad’s family gathering (the Mudge’s.) Someone better wake up gramps, asleep leaning against the tree, before his pipe falls out of his mouth.
Chris Reha sent in this photo. Seems like it mights been a little to hot for everyone to sit there posed like that. Just take the gosh-durned picture, wouldja? (What great print dresses though, right?)
Is there anything more wonderful than wearing a Muumuu in the hot summer? Yes. Wearing one with your grandma, with your favorite cartoon sunglasses too! Thanks to MJ for sending in this photo of her Grandma, Marian Gates, in Downey CA, circa 1959.
Don’t we all treasure the few photos we have of us with our grandparents? This one was sent in by Maureen Beary and was taken in Milford CT, in 1951. Grandma’s laps were always the cushiest. We also love mom’s polka dot & reverse polka dot ensemble.
Mark Stansberry sent in this shot of his mom and siblings. If that’s Mark in front, he was clearly growing a little tired of this road trip. Or maybe of wearing matching tops.
This was Syvia Aronson’s first camping trip with her dad, somewhere in Washington State. Were the skies always that much bluer then? We think so.
This photo is of Joyce Trumble, who was Raymond Stazzone’s grandmother…she married this guy (next slide…)
…Karl, when these were around 17 years old. They started dating at 13. We thought these two looked like they were such fun folks, and we’re happy that they spent 50 wonderful years together as husband and wife after these photos were taken.
Remember when you caught your first big fish? Of course you do…cuz someone was right there to take a photo of it. Carol Dreischer Schmidt sent in this photo. We loved how they let the baby take a little credit too.
Some more “whoppers” from Shane Mccall. Two brothers who aren’t afraid to get some mud on their boots.
“Put ’em up, pardner, or I’ll cute you to death.” Sent in by Judy O’Toole, taken on Round Lake in MI.
Sally & Jenny, in Bush River MD, 1968. What an interesting year to be kids that age. So much changed over the course of the next few summers.
If we ever write a cookbook about summer, there will be a recipe for Watermelon & Sand. Picture sent in by Nancy Connolly.
On a beach, every Dad in the world is the most accomplished architect ever. Thanks, dads. Photo sent in by Liz Lauenstein, and taken in Narragansett, 1971.
Some photos you can hear better than see. This is one of those photos. Photo sent by Kathy Topazio, taken in Cape May, NJ.
One last beach photo…no tan lines here! This shot, of the George Washington Sawyer family in York Beach Maine was taken in the late 1890s. (Sent in by Amy Evenson.) Does anyone know when swimwear became popular?
Do kids still dress up like Cowboys? Many of the photos that were sent in had siblings lined up in order of height. When film was limited, it was always better to get the most out of each shot. Sent in by Nancy Schunter.
Katie Tomlinson sent in this shot. What’s your best guess…fireflies or caterpillars in that jar?
Skinny legs of summer. We best there were a lot of scrapes by the time school started again. Sent in by Grace Papaseraphim; Dawe Family 1965, Braintree, MA.
More skinny legs, all in a row. Wanna bet that the three tall ones were later “kidnapped” by the gun-toter on the left? Photo sent in by Cackie Trippe McCarty (on the far right.)
Boy. We miss see saws. (Check out the chicken in the background. This was before free-range was even a word.) Betsy and Billy Smith, 1946, Hoover’s Evergreen Farm. Sent in by Jenny Morgan.
Nancy Shunter sent in this old 4H summertime fair photo. “Sleep Better, Feel Better, Drink Milk.” Sometimes it really is that simple.
Nancy also sent in this photo. From the look of that field, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him.
Steve and Marianne Dawson sent in this photo of some of Marianne’s family members circa 1920. For farmers, summertime may have been more work than play, but more fun than winter nonetheless.
We love all the farm summer photos. Shane Mccall sent in this photo of himself and his sister. They rode the cow down to the pond.
This is Ginger Smith, at her grandparents farm in Elkhart, IL. We love that it’s a portrait not just of Ginger, but also of her Grandmother’s flower garden. We hope that some of those blooms are still coming up.
This photo is pure joy. Remember when summer felt like this? Sent in by Jenny Travis in Live Oak CA.
We love summer. And while there was plenty to love about the summers we spent together in NYC (Coney Island, Central Park, movies in Bryant Park,) we still prefer spending our lazy hazy days in a small town. We both grew up in rural towns, and whiled away our long summer afternoons playing baseball with the neighbors, decorating our bikes, and “camping out” in our backyard. If summer is about making memories, ours were mostly made in Small Town America.
We were going through old family photos this past winter and realized that probably 90% of our Baby Books (do parents even create Baby Books anymore?) consisted of photos taken during summertime. (The remaining 10% were Christmases and birthdays.) Back in those days before cellphones & digital cameras film was precious. Remember buying a roll of 24 shots and then deciding which moments of your two week vacation were worth capturing for posterity? And if you blinked when the shutter clicked, well, that would become the only portrait of you, at ten years old, in front of Mt Rushmore. Forever and ever.
A few weeks ago we asked for you all to share your old summer photos with us. We said we’d be using them online, here and in our
online Mercantile to capture the fun of Small Town American Summer. We loved looking at each one of them..they’re so different than the .jpgs of today. Taking fifteen selfies before deciding on the best artful pose for Instagram kinda strips all of the realness from our memories.
We much prefer your old photos to today’s Twitter stream. The awkward gangly teens. The adults goofing around on vacation. The ubiquitous kiddie pool shots. The black and white stiffness. The rips and scratches. And the blinks. Especially the blinks.
Because every blink reminds us that our youth, like summertime, is gone in one.