Summer Vacation. How many essays boasting that title did you write each fall semester? I’d listen enviously as kids bragged about trips to Disney, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, even Switzerland. As if being blond haired, blue eyed, and Swedish weren’t enough, one girl went to Switzerland every summer!
Where did I go? Nowhere. My dad worked every day except Mondays, and my mom had every kind of phobia imaginable, the biggest one being the fear of leaving your house for summer vacation. So my parents compensated me with a built in swimming pool. I recall the hot summer day they bulldozed the brick wall, tore out the lemon and plum trees, and started digging the hole. Within a few months, we had a huge pool.
I spent most summers flat on my back on the hot concrete competing for “woman with the most wrinkles when grown.” I’m sure I won. I was an only child, but my mom did peer through the screen door every once in a while and make sure I was alive. I had friends over occasionally, too, but it seemed like my popularity soared only when the temperature did, and I avoided fair-weather friends. Still do.
I can’t complain about anything, really. But summer vacation was long, even tedious, and I anticipated returning to school long before we cooked hot dogs to celebrate Labor Day.
As an adult, my family vacations often. We’ve taken trips to many of the national parks, visited the world’s best beaches, stayed in mountain chalets and five star hotels, camped under soaring Redwoods and under star spangled skies—vacation is always something new, something adventurous.
My parents sold their house a few years ago, and I miss the pool most of all. Come to find out, the long, hot days spent alone beside the shimmer of chlorinated water made me the writer I am. I’d spend those long hours imagining my future life, the lives of others, and the stories I’d write someday.
The Billionaire’s Bauble, One Wet Summer, and Good Things Come in Tall Packages. Coming winter 2012 is a Tudor historical romance titled Lady in Deed.