Summer, In the Suburbs

For those of us accustomed to spending every summer at an overnight summer camp, the concept of a Sunday is foreign.   Sunday at a Jewish summer camp is a “yom ragil”—a regular day.   It is kind of like Sunday in Israel. 

As we coped with the heat and humidity of camp summers, we knew that we could cool off in the agam (lake) or in the misrad, the main office, where the a/c was always blasting.  Yet, I sometimes thought of those “stuck” in the hot city during the summer.  I couldn’t’ get the 1966 Lovin’ Spoonful song, “Summer in the City,” out of my head.  I will censor some lyrics but the song starts:


Hot town, summer in the city

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

Been down, isn't it a pity

Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head…


If “summer in the city” seemed a world away from camp, then what would “summer in the suburbs” be like?  After many weeks in the suburbs, I can say that I have finally seen a non-camp Sunday, and I can share two memorable highlights—a nightly happening, and a “once per summer” event.  

In our neighborhood, all of the neighbors assemble social distance-style near the home of beloved 90-something neighbor Dick, where his wife and another neighbor set up music stands and play a series of songs each night at sunset on flute and recorder.   The Star Spangled Banner and a few others make the nightly setlist. We were even treated to Shalom Aleichem on a recent Friday night. (Photos below from the recent neighborhood birthday gathering in Dick’s honor).

Today was the once-per-summer “One Day Giveaway”—“a community tag sale where everything is free!”  Neighbors look forward to this day.  They register online and can view a map of the dozens of other neighbors giving away stuff   It is officially 12-5, though early birds are often rewarded with the best worms—books, clothes, aquariums, ladders, desks and chairs, vegetable seedlings and more.  The key is to get rid of more than you take it, though it seems like many happily had it backwards!

I am sad about no camp, but am enjoying exposure to a world I had no idea exists–nightly music, free stuff and all the free tennis you can tolerate—assuming you beat the other players to the 6 nearby public courts!  (Perhaps more on that in a future blog).

Welcome to Summer in the Suburbs!

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