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Summer Place

Summer Place
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We acted out fantasies on this Flintstone glacier, mining hunks of mica, peeling shiny layers as if each flake were Jurassic currency. We found answers to questions as we flipped rocks to watch a salamander slither, or examined veins of a waxy Maple leaf. We created our own adventures respecting the territory and the life within, sometimes a little too much, the day we all dressed in black, bearing lilacs, to hold a funeral for a dead rat.

Over forty years have passed since my childhood days. I can still see those magical times when we played in the woods. I remember how moss felt like velvet, the smell of wet bark in the air. I remember the smiles of my friends. My life was touched by this.

It was a place once preserved by cool dusk. Now it is preserved in my mind.

Patti Cavaliere grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut when the suburbs were still bordered by wooded property. She now lives in East Haven, where her home faces acres of winding paths that remind her of the childhood and friendships that outlasted the woods of Jewett Avenue. She was a veterinary nurse for many years and now works in research at Yale University. Her love of animals and people is reflected in her writing. She has published short stories and is working on a first novel entitled Looking for Leo.

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4 Responses to Summer Place

  1. patti cavaliere December 14, 2008 at 8:37 pm #

    I wanted to share these personal emails from two of the other “children” who grew up to be teachers, managers and medical professionals.

    Hi Patti:
    So many memories came rushing back to me from our childhood days. My favorite image was “Flintstone” bedrock. The hours we spent peeling mica off the rocks and creating imaginary rooms out of the various rock formations. Thanks for bringing it back to life again. Englewood woods and the burnt house are branded in my mind forever. They will always remain our secret childhood summer place. I can’t wait to get together and talk about those priceless childhood memories. Your article warmed my heart as I remembered what a joyous and fun filled childhood we all shared.
    Love, Dee Dee

    Hi Patti,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story and remembering a part of our childhood. Thank you for sharing this.

    My husband thought this was fiction and I assured him that it was true.

    I look forward to our next get together. Love, Joanne

  2. Theresa Diaz January 14, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    This piece was wonderful. The funny thing was I didn’t grow up in CT but the place I grew up sounded an awful lot like your special childhood place. It had woods, streams, abandoned buildings, all wonderful to explore and send imaginations churning and soaring. Great job!


  3. Dan Wright May 2, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Hi Patti!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your childhood memoir.
    It was fun and reminded me of the enjoyable times I had in my life as a young boy.
    I was also pleasantly surprised at your bravery, using a cement trough to sail in?!
    Sounds like you all had great times there.

    ttyl ~ Dan

  4. Thomas Freel September 12, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Patti:

    Well written, fun to read, effective use of language. If your intent as a writer was to capture similar episodes in the life of your reader – you succeeded. While reading, It unlocked thoughts during my own childhood. Bike riding in woods, a spooky abandoned house, laughter of friends, ponds, brooks, animals, the sound of wind through the trees flickering the summer sunlight, the shine of pealing mica rocks, and oh the smells of nature in her glory. Keep on writing…


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