Summer stories are like fireflies. When it’s cold and dreary out, they’re out of sight and mind. But on hot, humid nights, in a flash you remember that time when…
Summer Stories Resonate
Because most of us have had them, our summer stories trigger echoes of stories in other families. Episodes in other places, other times.
They especially resonate with kids. For them, time is divided between school days and not-school days. Their own memories and anticipation of adventures when school isn’t in session.
Types of Summer Stories
Any of the following make fun, compelling stories:
- Your own memories
- Family stories and Traditions
- Oral histories you’ve collected (or plan to :))
- Ancestor’s stories (If you don’t know any, write about the context of your ancestors’ summer days. What would life have been like for them?)
- Journal entries (Your own or diaries passed down through the family)
- Narratives in Scrapbooks
Summer Story Sparks
To help you get started, think about the following prompts.
Best Summer Ever
A strong contender for my all-time best summer came when I was nine years old and expecting to be miserable.
My father had a work assignment in Exeter, New Hampshire. The whole family would live in a rental unit during the summer. Can you imagine anything worse than no friends and being hundreds of miles from home and sharing a bunk bed with your sister? Your older sister who’d already dibbed top bunk?
My parents quickly pointed out that we’d rent a cottage in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, within walking distance to the beach. We’d go on an airplane, see the city of Boston, and the dog and cat could come too. I think the flying sold me. I mean, what could be more glamorous than Eastern Airlines?!
Then there was great stuff they didn’t mention because they were adults.
Like that I could wade among the rocks of Hampton Beach for hours and hours, catching crabs and sea urchins. That being unafraid to touch them (or toads or frogs), meant I’d be the cool kid for the first time ever. That we’d eat lobster and crab legs instead of fried catfish. That antique shopping with mom meant I’d get to go out back of the shop and dig around for vintage cobalt-blue bottles. That we’d take the Blue Nose Ferry to Canada, and that mom would buy us look-alike outfits for the occasion. Lime-green windbreaker suits with a big daisy applique. Cool.
Make yourself a brainstorm like this and start recalling your magical summer.
That time when…
This can be a favorite, the scariest, the most unexpected, dirtiest, hottest, or whatever-est story that comes to mind.
- Vacation (See also The Lost Art of What I Did on My Summer Vacation.)
- Vacation destination(s)
- One-day adventure
- Typical summer day (See also Lazy Days of Summer: Bring ‘Em Back Alive.)
- A day at a relative’s house
- Visits with relatives–Who’d you visit and why? Who traveled with you? What did you think about the trip then versus now?
- Relatives at your house
- Car ride – Those of us who can remember the back of an unairconditioned station wagon know that’s a story of its own.
- Educational experience
- Just hanging out with friends and family
Summer Story Settings
Take some inspiration from Bryn Donnovan’s post 50 Writing Prompts Inspired by Summer. Her ideas will help you develop your writing as you craft descriptions of places and circumstances.
What do these photos remind you of? Start writing!
What summer stories are you going to tell and preserve? Which ones do you love best?