Friday, August 5, 2016


I am sorry to read that our local school district is starting back in mid-August now, cutting short the wonderful, unstructured time of Summer.

What brought joy to you in Summer?

For me, watching and 'helping' my mom when she cooked, baked, or canned the fruit from our trees.

Playing dress-up and Pretend allowed me to get 'lost' in another world.

Sitting in the middle of a mound of just-cut grass in my dad's wheelbarrow after he mowed the lawn.

Climbing the trees in our backyard so that I could look at our world from above like a bird.

Bicycling to explore the neighborhoods beyond our two-block street.

Painting and drawing and making scrapbooks with flour paste, tissue, scraps of magazines and paper and starch. Making a mess and sometimes a picture worth saving.

Tucking myself into my favorite chair while reading adventure books, which lit my imagination.

In our hurry-up world, we easily push our kids away from these kinds of activities, and instead enroll them in to one structured activity after another. Wouldn't you rather have some unstructured, exploration time to do what you would like to do?

We can set good examples by spending time reading. Three good Summer reads I'd recommend:

Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill
A good summer mystery set in Laos during the Communist take-over, part of a series with the protagonist, Dr. Siri, the country's only coroner. The stories remind me of Kafka as Dr. Siri tries to wend his way through the arcane rules of the ruling party and solve a mystery at the same time.

Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Growing up, I read as many dog and horse stories as I could get my hands on. Who doesn't love a story with animals in it? This book will touch your heart -- have plenty of tissue on hand as you read it! Hyde also wrote the book Pay It Forward, which was made into one of my favorite movies. (Thanks, Joan, for the good suggestion.)

Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy
Do you know a good storyteller? One who embellishes the truth to make a good story even more compelling? After reading this book, I felt the narrator was one of those storytellers. The novel begins with three young people who to go to Greece, meet accidentally, and become friends. Their lives are abruptly changed in the terrible aftermath following an earthquake. The writing describes each scene in intimate detail so you feel you are in the 'room.' The story seems straight forward until the end when I wondered if what I believed was the true story, wasn't.

What are doing this Summer that brings you joy?

Peace be with you, Madelyn.


  1. I am next to my granddaughter viewing the puffy clouds floating above the Pacific Ocean and commenting on your blog to the melodic orchestration of birdsong on a bluff above a secret beach in Lihue, Kauai. It's a summer surprise vacation. I will head home tomorrow.

    1. Hey, Jan, world traveler. Sounds like you are in a gorgeous place. Take surprises when they come!

  2. Always love your writing, Martha Heimdahl Slavin! My childhood summers were spent playing Pretend with my sister, bicycling to the library once a week and devouring the books and swimming in the evening with my dad at a local pond. No TV. No car. It was a kind of Paradise.

    1. Yeah, there's something special about those kinds of Summer days, isn't there? Thanks for reading my posting, Sara.


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