Drums Please!



No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks! Well...3 Months of bliss is coming as Memorial Day Weekend rolls-along, basically it's 3 months of glorious down-time! Many will go to the beach...many will go camping...and probably the rest of us will veg the whole 12 weeks in front of the boob-tube!...

Yes...that was from the best Tiny Toons episode "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"...and now I must tell you how I spent my Summer Vacations when I was young...

So last year, I was at Dave and Busters having a plan for the Summer I'll Never Forget! And truthfully...I had some unforgettable moments last year. I went to the Cuyahoga County Fair, a family reunion in Pennsylvania, a 4th of July Concert in Lakewood, and a Home Days in Brookpark...Well, some Summers never end and some Summers never begin...and those summers sucked! But to make a Summer that I'll NEVER Forget is to go places where I went to in Summers Past...

As I Said earlier...Memorial Day would unofficially start on Memorial Day Weekend, and when I was young I would see my grandparents in Garfield Heights...the suburb was named after the 20th President of the U.S. as well as the 2nd shortest living President as well as the 2nd assassinated President, James Garfield!...

Who'd you think I was talking about...Garfield the Cat?!...

Kidding aside...after the parade, we would go back to my parents house, keep seeing my grandparents, or even go out to my grandfathers property in Nelson. Now, we would spend many summers of my childhood there. We would have barbecues, play in the abandoned trailers, see my aunt (may she rest in peace), and fish bluegills in a pond that my grandpa made. My mom would warn me and my brother not to go too close to the pond or The Swamp Monster would get us. But everytime I think of The Swamp Monster, I think of Swamp Thing...for some apparent reason.

But even after Memorial Day, there was still school for two more weeks and when I was at Grade School, the Elementary Students went to Pleasant Valley Lake in Parma...or if you were in Junior High, you went to Cedar Point at the last Monday of school. I preferred Cedar Point over Pleasant Valley Lake since there wasn't Canadian Geese Crap to dodge and plenty to do at Cedar Point, though I'm NOT a fan of Roller Coasters. Hey...there's 150+ Rides and Attractions at Cedar Point anyhow! I hope to get back there again...if I could.

Once Wednesday Came, my Elementary Alma Mater, St. Mark Lutheran in Cleveland (Now Luther Memorial School) would have a Graduation Ceremony where the whole school would participate and there was a special church service where the 8th Graders would graduate and either get their diploma and/or go to High School. I was the Class of '97, I got to do a speech the day before I graduated...but the Summer of '97 sucked, so...I won't talk about it!

But Since my dad worked in the summer since he worked in construction and that was the busiest time of the year for him, we didn't go on vacations and I wasn't a fortunate son to go camping. That...or my parents tolerated my Tomfoolery more than others. But hey...we had cable and there was summer events on stations such as The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon!

But Summer also meant Baseball or Softball Season, my brother would play on a little league team and I'd usually play in the dirt mounds that was used for the Infield. My brother's teams in the little leagues NEVER won it all, but today he manages our Church League Softball Team and has won 2 Championships in the last 3 years. Some Summers, I would go see The Cleveland Indians play. And this was before The Indians had Sold-Out Games, this was when their season ended before it began!

Now Summer Weekends when I was a child were memorable for me and my family since that was the only time my dad didn't work. We would either go to the Zoo which was right by our street, The Metroparks, The Kiddie Park where there was rides for children under 4 feet, but as I got older, I would play Miniature Golf and Arcade games there, The Drive-In which used to be right down the street and it would double as a Flea Market, and it would end at Dairy Queen for some Ice Cream.

Then came the Halfway Point...The 4th of July! I would see my grandparents and they'd take me to go see the fireworks at the parking lot of Turneytown Shopping Center. My grandpa was an interesting man...he owned many classic cars and he'd take them to many crusins. But the car he had that I liked the most was The Packard 400...

That's a near replica of the car he owned...sadly he sold it just years before he died...he needed some money. But I still remember when he would take me and my family to Warren, Ohio where the Packard originated, Randolph, Ohio where there would be a classic car swap-meet, and to American Funland where they too had crusins...before it closed!

Now back in 1994, I was part of a Church Youth Group, I had to make a decision whether I should continue with the Cub/Boy Scouts...or just be in the Youth Group. I chose the Youth Group and I don't regret that decision. The reason why is that our Youth Group would go to a lot of places during the Summer such as Yogi Bear Park, Pioneer Water Park, An end-of-the-summer Pool Party, and once I left St. Mark for Trinity Lutheran in Cleveland...YouthServe! At the time, YouthServe would help-out the community in Cleveland and that was when The Youth Room/Contemporary Service Area (Now Tutoring Center) of the Community Center of my Church would have their modern worship services.

But...August would come and that would mean Summer is not only in its dog days...but it would be over! The 1st weekend would be Madison Old Fashion Days (If you want EXTREME Retro...go to this event) and there would be flea markets, carnival food, and though it wasn't really a carnival...there would be some interesting old cars there. And...the last week of August meant School! Unfortunately...it doesn't mean the unofficial end of Summer, that would be Labor Day Weekend. So the coupe-d-grais of my summer childhood, my family would go to...The Milan Melon Festival! No, we didn't go to Milan, Italy...there's a small town in Ohio called Milan where Thomas Edison was born...

And even though I have yet to see the birthplace of Thomas Edison...with a car that I now have it can be plausible by this year! And here's Edison's Birthplace in Milan, Ohio...

Like Madison Old-Fashioned Days, there was a classic car show, yard sales, carnival food, carnival games, and unlike Madison...Carnival Rides! My grandpa made sure he was there before noon otherwise his car wouldn't get registered. But after my grandpa's car got registered and we saw all the classic cars, our family would go to the Town Square and paint the town watermelon-red! (Well...It's a Melon Festival that occurs every Labor Day Weekend). But after that and Labor Day...it would be back to school for 180 nonconsecutive days!...Yet I'll remember just spending my Summers Chillin'...

And that...is my Summer Memories of my Past! I still look forward to Summer even today, hoping to keep the old traditions alive and make new traditions along the way, so I can tell my children and my children's children of what I did those summers, where I've been having fun All Summer Long!...