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.

by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

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Nancy Connolly

Hi Fellas.. I’m so happy to see my family photo here (the first one around the barbeque) ! I’m the little one in the back round (in the blue shirt).. my brother is the one in the foreground (as well as to the left).. the others are my cousins!

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Barbara K.

Loved, loved, loved those pictures. I am almost in tears remembering my youth (mostly in the 50′)s, and my children’s youth (in the 70’s and early 80’s). Thanks to everyone for sharing, and especially to you guys for your funny, and insightful commentary.

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Jan

Loved the photos, which brought back a lot of good memories. Even though I did not know the people in them, it felt like I did because they look just like my old family photos!! (The line up of kids, the nylon strap recliners…) Happy summer to all!

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Dorie Stein

What wonderful photos! I’m sorry I didn’t send you ones of our photos in the 40’s on Miami Beach, Crandon Park (now known as Key Biscayne), Tahiti Beach, etc….lots of wonderful beach memories. Thanks! Keep enjoying your summers. -dorie in florida

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Susan Baker Outslay

Loved looking at these wonderful old photos! thanks for posting!

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Jane

Ah, the pictures from the old photo albums that my cruel brothers would look at and make fun of me! They still do! All those stupid hats for Easter Sunday and my hair change when mom insisted…… short and permed still bring laughs! I didn’t want to ever cut my hair but mom did, not my choice! Imagine my brother saying my hair looked like the back end of a poodle! I have never cut or permed it since and probably never will!

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B. in Lee, NY

I hear ya, sister! My mom insisted on giving me those home perms that smelled like….I dunno….feet? Overripe turnips? Feet after stomping on said turnips?

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Tanya Easterly

I loved looking at these, the ladies vintage dresses and the kids playing outside. It brings back good memories. Another good idea Josh and Brent. Best summer wishes to all the Beekman folk.

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Jen

This was a great idea to share! Loved these! Makes me wish I could go back and relive some childhood moments.

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Marsi

Great pictures! I know Joanne (the candle munching baby in photo #2) she is an incredible baker herself now!

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Pavlovafowl Holistic Hen

These are fabulous and I love the way that both the black and white and the colour prints have their own distinctive tints and tones which set them within their period. Did you ever think of adding ‘small town European summer’ and the other countries and/or continents, I’m sure you have enough followers from around the globe to get whole collection of albums. All the best from sunny Normandie, Sue

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linda schnell-leonardi

Smiles and as you know me, a tear or two, for the grand memories that this brings, for me, and for all the others shown here. xoxo

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Liz L.

Fantastic blog post Josh! I remember my mom once saying that back then, there were 12 shots on the roll of instamatic film, so you learned to make them count.

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ConnieW

You guys sure know how to end with a line that makes me tear up. Happens ALL the time. LOL.

Life is bitter-sweet. It’s obvious that you and Brent are always aware of it, and you know how to nail OUR memories and emotions, as well as your own, right on the head. I thank you for taking our memories, different yet the same, and wrapping them up in a beautiful package, which is your blog. You make us think. Appreciate. Savor. Remember.

It may sound corny, but you make us want to be better people…….to live better, love stronger, be kinder, more understanding, more involved, more fun, more thankful, more alive. For that, I thank you so much.

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Liz L.

Connie, I had to laugh when I saw your comment about making us want to be better people. I was in Sharon Springs earlier this evening for dinner with a friend. As we drove up the steep hill to get back to the highway, I told her about something that happened the last time I was in the Mercantile, which was during the Spring Garden Party.

It was near closing time in the Mercantile, and I was chatting with a couple and Josh in the doorway. Three women who had parked up the hill in the school parking lot, inquired about the time of the last shuttle bus back to the school. When we learned they’d missed it, the couple, quickly volunteered to give them a ride, because it’s a really steep hill. I was glad they made the offer because the back seat of my car was filled with junk, and since I was parked nearby, giving them a ride was the right thing to do. They ended up declining the offer, but at the time, and again tonight, I thought, “wow, where else but in the Beekman Mercantile in Sharon Springs NY, would strangers offer a ride to a bunch of strangers.”

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ConnieW

I love that! I am so glad you shared it, and I thank you. And I envy you for getting to be there and talk to them in person! That is awesome!! It’s on my bucket list, but I will probably KICK the bucket before it ever happens, lol.

Judy Palmer O'Toole

Thank you so much for including my picture, #20. Mom used to say I looked like Jackie Cooper. I definitely see it in this picture. Happy summer to you both. (And every living thing @ Beekman.)

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Raymond Stazzone

Pictures 16 & 17…my lovely grandparents! Thanks for all that you guys continue to do; and I agree, I much prefer the older “one shot and lets see what you get” photos over taking numerous and keeping/displaying only the best one.

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Betty Benesi

Love love love the photos. I am inspired to find all the old vacation photos and general summer silliness pictures and put together an album.

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