Hanwood Summer, circa 1956/57

Ailsa at Where’s my Backpack? has challenged us to post a taste of summer  – where we come from.

My first thought was of the heat:  the interminable, unremitting, dreary, life sapping heat that only water could assuage.  Of days spent  trapped inside, curtains drawn against the heat.  Of enduring daytime hours reading on a makeshift day bed I assembled, directly in front of the Breeze Air water cooler, on the drawing-room floor, waiting for the relative cool of the evening before all three of us – Papa, Ma and me –  would troop down to the dam for a delicious – though totally terrifying – swim in its muddy, yabbie-infested waters.  Or of the defiant days, clothes torn off as too restricting, when I would take my book to the front lawn,  the hose playing its cooling stream  across the inadequate shelter of an umbrella.

I’m not certain, but I think this was the summer after the flood, when we knew for sure most of the farm was dead, and my beloved Ruggie too.   When our spirits were momentarily bent …  I’m not sure, but something made it indelible …  So I present to you, Hanwood Summer, circa 1956/57:

The three bears take a swim

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29 thoughts on “Hanwood Summer, circa 1956/57

    • Yea, you know what it feels like, too!

      I do quite like summers, but there was a time there, after my dog died, and I was too young (in Ma’s opinion) to be riding around the countryside alone, they were appalling – I think mostly because I was stuck there, on the farm. On the other hand, I’ve noticed, living int he tropics, I stay in the shade as much as possible – though an afternoon in the pool, under a big hat, can be inviting:)

  1. YEah, my response to the summer challenge is ‘erk – do I have to remember something that we’re only a couple of months past and only a couple more before the soul-sapping heat hits again? Not even the respite of floods over here

  2. Nothing beats summers past. Swimming in the creek. The ordinary garden hose good for cooling & drinking. Homemade icy poles. Those summers seemed hotter & longer than any we have now.

    • They improved, if my memories are to be relied upon, as I got older, and was allowed more independence. Alone on the farm without Ruggie to keep an eye on me, I think Ma clung, that year and I remember thinking it would never end:)

  3. That is such a sweet picture, the one with the umbrella. I’m still learning how to deal with hot summers like that; it’s good to know that other people capitulate as well – lay down with a book and cool water.
    I just realised that this year I will be having three summers…

    • And what different summers they will be:) It’s pretty extreme, Greenland to Cairns – but that’s months off yet!
      It is an adorable picture, isn’t it? I remember that being a particularly bad summer, but yes, those bad days, I still have a tendency to hide a bit:)

  4. Beautiful, Wanderlust: water is the chief retreat in climates such as this one, isn’t it? So refreshing even to see from here…did you ever yearn for grey climates at times like that?

  5. My favourite summers were spent on a lake in the Laurentians north of Montreal – all day, every day, in the water, the smell of the forest floor, paths through the woods, secret places … 🙂

  6. Oh, I love this photo! Speaking of portraits, Mere . . . 😉 This little girl is laden with ingenuity. She’s playful, resourceful, fun, and audacious. I would have very much liked this little girl to be my friend.

    That heat . . . Now, I know you say it’s in your blood, but gosh, Mere, it just sounds so darn awful. I am drooping just thinking of it. How are the girls faring?

    11:06 a.m. and I slept in way too late this morning. 😉

    ~ Cara

    • Sometimes a slothful lie in is a necessary start to a Saturday, Cara, (especially if we don’t go to sleep at the right time?).
      That audacious (rebellious?) little girl would have liked a friend that summer. It wasn’t till she was a few years older that she made her first real human friend. That summer the heat seemed to sap the life out of us – but maybe I was too young, and it was the reality of being broke that was sapping the life out of us, and time dragged out in that interminable way to give us a chance to regroup.
      Oh, but sometimes, it was too too dire. In reality, it wasn’t constant, but there’d be a string of 105 degree days – sometimes a week, sometimes longer. Then, it would hit you in the face like a blast furnace. I can remember sometimes (later, when I was old enough to ride about independently) standing under the shower, fully clothed – the need to drench myself in water as strong as the urge to pee and the necessity of changing into a swim suit way too difficult to achieve.
      It’s 12.11, am Sunday. The girls say it’s time for bed – we’ve had a big day: Maggie and three plump little birds discovered a snake – the excitement, and fear, was, ultimately, enervating. Luckily Kumara (a nice man who came to help with the cobwebs and tall windows and things) was here and he bravely led the charge to drive it back out beyond the walls. Luckily we cornered it where there was a climbable tree that it could use to escape us!
      Yes, sleepy, Cara. Have a lovely Saturday:)

  7. Oh that is exactly what I would love to do right now! Just thinking of the reaction of the conservative, morally righteous society we live in cracks me up 🙂
    Excellent post that perfectly captures your state of mind at the time.

    • Ooh yea! I can imagine. I once took a similar type of photo of a little girl whose family I’ve been close to for years and was astounded by her father’s attitude – someone I would never have expected it from! But yes, sometimes clothes just have to come off! 🙂

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