Between hearing my first Mr. Softee truck of the season, sitting in the sunshine for a few minutes at mid-day, and an otherwise hellacious week that left me with noodles for brains, I’m feeling a wave of summer somnambulance tempered only by the relative cool of the evening. Summer will come though, along with feeling all sweaty and hot in the gym, my muscles pre-oiled and loose without ever having to step out onto the pavement for a run.
Growing up, I used to love the first days of summer. I lived on the lower east side then and could sit out on the stoop till the sun went down. The block was always peopled with kids running around and playing in groups that seemed to interchange with the ease of the wind — as their parents talked, smoked, drank beer, played dominos or called out from the window for this or that kid to come upstairs.
I’d get short-sleeved shirts, camp shorts, tan jeans and a new pair of white PF Flyer sneakers. I’d also get a new pair of flip-flops which I’d wear out practically through the rubber by the end of the summer.
The best part was watching older kids on my block dance.
I learned a lot of moves. And as I got older I came to love listening to the music of Martha and The Vandella’s, The Marvellettes and of course The Supremes — and even though they were a little too prissy for my taste I used to love the song, You Keep Me Hangin’ On.
I miss having a stoop to sit on or a block that has an edgy feel of danger — maybe that’s why I love boxing so much. It feels like summer. Full of promise and thrill and just that little hint of something you can’t quite keep control of.