When you hear the words — Summer Fun — what comes to mind? Cross-country road trips? Lazy afternoons at the beach? Family reunions at an amusement park? For me, summertime memories are a mishmash of happy snapshots.
When I was a child, my grandparents took me to Bicentennial Park in Fairlawn for an Akron Symphony concert and fireworks. I remember holding my grandfather’s hand as we watched the colors explode right above us. He was singing along to Neil Diamond’s “America,” a song of great significance to an immigrant like himself. Whenever I hear that song, I think of him.
I remember my grade-school self, lying in the cool grass under my mom’s Akron Arts Expo booth at Hardesty Park. She and her friend sold their wrap-around jumpers and wooden-handled Bermuda bags there for many years, and when it would get humid (like it does so often here in late July), I would nap in the shade under the table, the shoppers unaware of my presence.
In high school, my friends and I would cruise in Maribeth’s aunt’s Chrysler LeBaron convertible, candy-apple red with a black top. The evening would begin by driving past the homes of the boys we liked (God forbid we should actually see one of them outside), and it usually would end in the Swenson’s parking lot. We’d ogle the Akron U boys who worked as car hops, give them way too much money for a tip, and wish the real world worked like a drive-in: Turn on your headlights, and the boys will race each other to your side.
Years later, in the heat of August, my husband and I would dress our kids in their jammies and head to Blue Sky Drive-In where we’d let the kids play on the playground. When the sun set, they’d return to our car, and we’d all snuggle in to watch the double-feature with goodies we brought from home and the salty overpriced popcorn we’d inevitably buy from the concession stand.
My summertime memories may seem like fragmented bits of joy but the thread that ties them together is that they were all enjoyed here in the Greater Akron area. In this issue of akronlife, we’ve shared ideas for some great local adventures. This summer, create your own memories, and don’t forget to take us along for the ride.
All the best,
Abby Cymerman, Managing Editor