Hot fun in the summertime

It never takes much to set off a reverie of the hot fun in the summertime we Indian Hills kids had, but what started this one was really two-fold. A. Tonight is my 40th high school reunion, NLR Northeast Class of 1973. B. Yesterday I got a message from Greg Jones, fellow IHer, who told me he’d just learned that we were cousins of some sort!

Seems our moms  had made the Tackett connection years ago at a party at Mary Frances Cole’s house (where I spent years babysitting Mike and Mark in the summer while Mary Frances went to college) and neglected to tell us. And since Mary Frances hasn’t been a Cole in years, they’ve known for a long time indeed.

But in those days of old, she was, and Buddy Cole was my dad’s best friend. He used to pick me up early in the mornings to babysit, so early the boys would still sleep for hours and I’d watch the classic movies shown on KATV, Channel 7. blue dahlia (I’m sure that’s the right station. If it’s not, I plead a long time ago.) Loved them and learned so much about cinematography and life.

And I read. One book in particular stands out – one morning Buddy tossed me a copy of the new, sensational Everything You everythingWanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), saying, “Here, you should read this. You might learn something.”

Did I ever! Another clear memory is of Daddy’s face when he came somberly to me with his and Mother’s copy of the book and said, “Your mother and I have read this and we think you should, too” – to which I replied, “Oh, I’ve already read that. Buddy gave it to me.”

In retrospect, I can understand the look on his face.

And of course the pool is always a deep subject to explore. We had so much fun there and almost total freedom after a certain age.

I’m not sure if it was the day after school was out for the seventh grade or eighth grade, but Pam and I decided to have a sleepover and day at the pool. We decided we’d each invite one other girl – Carolyn Huff was Pam’s pick, Gina McDonald mine – and somehow we talked our parents into letting us sleep in Pam’s stepdad’s boat, which was parked under a tarp between their house and the Jennings’ next door.

We stayed at the pool all day and had a blast, but the main thing I remember is how sunburned Carolyn got – it was frightening and she was ST37 literally sick from it. Daddy was so concerned he drove to the pharmacy in Sherwood and got our magic elixir for sunburn, S.T. 37. We doused her with it. Don’t believe we slept in the boat – after sweltering with flashlights a while, we had to get our poor burned friend under the air conditioning.

Don’t ask me why this came to the forefront of my mind, but another memory stirred up by Greg’s message is a vivid one of Rob Fisher, our redheaded neighbor boy (he and Cathy are the same age), dancing like mad on our front porch and singing, “Roly poly, roly poly” along with my 45 of “Mony, Mony,” which I had blasting in the living room with the window open.

Pretty freaking cute in retrospect, but I teased him mercilessly about getting the lyrics wrong. Sorry, Rob – you know I love you. But music was serious business in my world. Even bubblegum pop like “Mony, Mony,” which was kind of feeble for Tommy James and the Shondells. (Billy Idol covered it in the ’80s, oddly, so it did have staying power.)

One more memory chain, then I must fly. Can’t find any pool pictures – they must be at Mother’s, if they exist, but I can remember summers by bathing suits. The first year we were on Blackhawk Road was the last year I could wear a little girl’s suit. It was a two-piece, white with ’60s neon-color mod flowers all over it. I tanned through the white and had reversed-out flowers everywhere else.

I won’t go through them all, but, again in retrospect, I’m kind of surprised my parents let me get that canary yellow ruffled bikini at 13. I know there’s photographic evidence of it somewhere because I remember Garth taking the picture. The summer pictures I did find (below) all show the joie de vivre of those days.

I hadn’t yet become camera shy. Life was a gas, man, and you can see it in the smile.

And now time to stop to get ready to go back to the past. Forty years. Crazy.

Thanks, Greg, for getting me going again on the Indian Hills train.

This is 14-year-old me and Linda Lowe, who will be at the reunion tonight, posing at the Cole's house when I was babysitting. Don't know who wielded the camera.

This is 14-year-old me and Linda Lowe, who will be at the reunion tonight, posing at the Cole’s house when I was babysitting. Don’t know who wielded the camera.

So this is me and dearly departed Tom Bennewise, who refused to cooperate for the picture, which I think my sister took. The short hair is the result of the home perm gone bad that made all the longer hair fall off.

So this is me (just turned 15) and dearly departed Tom Bennewise, who refused to cooperate for the picture, which I think my sister took. The short hair is the result of the home perm gone bad that made all the longer hair fall off.

With my beloved cat Ben (yes, that's my son's name, too). Approaching 16 and with the addition of braces, which didn't stop the smiles.

With my beloved cat Ben (yes, that’s my son’s name, too). Approaching 16 and with the addition of braces, which didn’t stop the smiles.

In the backyard, which extended for miles, since Blackhawk was the last street in North Little Rock in those days. Cuddling Ben again. Wet hair, no makeup, no worries.

In the backyard, which extended for miles, since Blackhawk was the last street in North Little Rock in those days. Cuddling Ben again. Wet hair, no makeup, no worries.

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