You gotta believe in the solstice. While there were people celebrating in England at Stonehedge the clouds lifted in Southern California. Summer arrived and June gloom was lifted. Or maybe it was the arrival of July 4th?I remember as a school child that the celebration of Independence Day meant fire crackers, fireworks, picnics, and going to the beach. It also signaled the halfway point of summer, although there was plenty of days left.
When the dog days of August arrive, we’ll be wishing for the cool gloom of June. Summertime adventures always stand out in my memories. As one gets older, you begin to reminisce about things that you enjoyed in your life. There are births, deaths, marriages, historic events and such things that stand out.
But then there are little things that sort of pop-up in your mind.
I grew up in Boyle Heights. We were several miles from the nearest swimming pool (which we called the Evergreen Plunge) and 20 miles from the nearest beach. Going to the beach was a once-a-summer event.
We’d all pile into a car and drive down Alameda Boulevard until we got to Cabrillo Beach. In those day’s Cabrillo Beach was made up of two sections: one was a protected area that allowed us non-swimmers to wade in and cool ourselves. The other part was a place of rough water with breakers, just below Point Fermin.
Going to the Evergreen Plunge was also an adventure. I lived near Mott Street and Brooklyn Avenue (now called Ave. Cesar Chavez). We would walk to Fourth Street and Evergreen.
It can’t be more than a couple of miles, but it seemed a long distance to a 12-year-old kid. I remember once summer, my brother and I went to the pool. Afterwards, we recovered our clothes from the locker attendants. We had paid a quarter (25 cents) for admission to the pool but had saved some money to buy a soda after our swim.
As we walk out of the pool house, we discovered our money was missing.
It was a very long walk home. The following year we moved to South San Gabriel (no Rosemead) and had a short walk to Garvey Park Pool.
Every summer day I am reminded of that fact because of the many children who walk by my house in their bathing suits and with a rolled up towel. They are on the way to the park and a cool swim.
I hope they don’t lose their soda money.