TOP O' THE MORN: Memories of early autumn days linger

All along island roads, fireweed has gone to seed; hedges of wild roses are covered with hips … only the memories of a Whidbey Island summer remain as September moves to October. Gone are the long, sunlit evenings of June and July with picnics on the beach, sun glinting on snow-striped peaks and western breezes sighing.

As autumn moves in, the air is filled with sweet sadness … one longs to wrap one’s arms around summer to keep them here a few more days.

When we were growing up, three months of summer were filled with activity. Our imagination ran full tilt with art lessons, building a pirate’s den in a meadow, spending an afternoon at Grandma’s swinging in the backyard swing, raising a garden, directing a neighborhood play and Sunday school picnics. And wonder of wonders, a night at the carnival with our Dad who always won us a doll.

In spite of three months filled with fun, thoughts of school crept into August. Mother started sewing new school clothes and decided how long summer slippers would last before high-top shoes were needed.

Soon summer was over and a new grade began. We saw old friends, made new friends, met a new teacher, read new books.

We had a long walk to school and back and always stopped at Grandma’s for a snack and a visit as she sat on the back porch wearing a sunbonnet and smoking her little brown clay pipe.

Summer was over, autumn had begun with new adventures for a 12-year-old.

Dorothy Neil has been writing and recording island history for more than 50 years. Her books chronicle local life and times.

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