Guest Favorite Memory from Eve Kaplan

Live from Wanderlust, Vermont (literally the best place on Earth, I can’t even express in words how much fun I’m having—maybe my Instagram feed will help paint the picture), I have a guest favorite memory to share from my boyfriend Dan’s niece Eve Kaplan, age 8 (get ready, this is too cute): 

One of my favorite memories was in May of this year. It was when I had my dance performance for my jazz class that I took at Arts in Motion. I wore a sparkly black tank top, silver gloves (with no fingers), and silky black pants. I also wore my jazz shoes. The other dancers in my group were Gillia, Eliana, Mika, Mira, Tara, and Tori, and my teacher’s name was Suzanne. We mostly danced together, but Mika and Tara had a few solo parts because they were the oldest. It is one of my favorite memories because I love dancing—and because I got a lot of attention.

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Memory #16: Annual 4th of July Cookouts on Bridle Path

In my senior high school yearbook, towards the end of the little write-up that I painstakingly crafted to most accurately portray my high school experience, there’s a line that reads “…a final thanks to my Pleasantville family and neighborhood…”. When I wrote “Pleasantville”, I meant this Pleasantville, the 1998 movie about 2 teenagers who find themselves transported into an idyllic 1950’s sitcom.

Growing up, I sometimes felt like I was living in my very own idyllic 1950’s sitcom. My neighborhood was the kind of place where there were so many kids my age that I never had to worry about not having anyone to play with. A place where neighbors were known to make each other baked goods from scratch and meet in the driveway to chat after work, and most importantly, one where the annual 4th of July cookout was the big event of the year.

These cookouts were one of the highlights of my (very charmed) childhood, and next to “the fair”, probably what I looked forward to most each year. Almost every year that I can remember, the close-knit group of neighbors who lived at the end of Bridle Path would take turns playing host and invite the whole neighborhood over to celebrate America’s independence—but really it was just an excuse to throw a party and invite everyone over for a good time.

The kids would run around for hours and do typical kid things like put on talent shows starring our American Girl Dolls and insist that the adults choose a winner—which much to our chagrin they never would, most likely to avoid the inevitable meltdown  that the last place “winner” would have. We’d all feast on summer BBQ fare and cakes made of strawberry stripes and blueberry stars, and when the sun went down and the grill went cold, the dads would head down to the end of the street and wow us all with a homegrown fireworks show—which the moms would nervously watch from the sidelines, trying as best they could to shield us from the falling embers. 

Those cookouts will always be one of my favorite childhood memories and the driving factor behind why as a child, the 4th of July—not Christmas like every other normal kid—was my favorite holiday (and still kind of is).

See? I still love sparklers...

“Grown-up” Danne still loves sparklers…

Readers’ Memories: Week 2

This week’s reader memory comes from Lee-Ann Dyke from Ontario, Canada: 

I am from a family with four children. Me being the oldest with two younger sisters and a younger brother. With four children, I’m sure my parents thought jet-setting family vacations were a little impractical, but they still made sure that we had something absolutely fun to look forward to every summer. We were from the city so cottaging was our thing! Every summer since the time I was about three or four, we would pick a cottage or resort and rent anywhere from one to four weeks at a time.

The first one we went to for a few years was called Elmhirst’s Resort in little Keene, Ontario. There was so much to do there! There was a dock, a fishing boat, the lake, and an indoor swimming pool with a sauna and hot tub. There was a petting zoo, a park, even a store where we were allowed to spend our allowance on treats!

It became a tradition for my sister and I to start planning our time there at least a week in advance. We would make lists and schedules just to make sure that we had every day planned and that we could fit it all in. On the first day, we’ll play on the teeter totter at 9am, swings at 10, fishing at 11—with hotdogs for bait. We planned every day like that and it was so exciting to finally get there and put our plans into place. It was a wonderful memory and I cherish those moments dearly.

The best part is that now my sister has two daughters of her own. They are 4 1/2 and 2 and had their first big family vacation this spring. My sister couldn’t wait to tell me how her oldest daughter was doing all the same things we did! She wanted to plan every day and rearrange the schedule over and over—just so excited to make sure—just like we did, that she fit it all in.

So the story is really about how two generations of memories can come together. My own that I cherish dearly, and my nieces’ as they are also wonderfully created, almost with the purpose of reminding us how special the moments are.

…Pool at 1:30?  🙂

Got a favorite memory you’d like to share? The offer still stands, send your memories to 12monthsoflent@gmail.com

Memory #8: Zeno’s Pizza

Part of this memory is taken from a previous post, so apologies to those of you who have been reading my blog for a bit and remember reading the original.

I may look more like my Polish half, but I definitely get my taste buds from the Italian side (not to mention my taste for wine—or could that be from my Irish blood?). I absolutely love, love, love Italian food and have a special affinity for pizza in particular.

My relationship with pizza goes way back—back to before I was born and my dad, the best pizza chef I know, had dreams of opening up his own pizza shop to be called Zeno’s (you know, since Dzenawagis’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue). Although he went as far as purchasing the equipment and acquiring the recipes, apparently it wasn’t meant to be because things fell through at the last minute (on two separate occasions) when a term in the purchase and sales agreement wasn’t agreed to. This didn’t stop him from making pizza for the family though, and he did so often.

One of my favorite childhood memories will always be making—and of course, eating—Zeno’s pizza with my family (one of my other favorite memories is stealing all the cheese he grated when he wasn’t looking). And since I’m privy to all his pro-tips and secret tricks, it’s a tradition I plan to carry on with my own kids someday (someday in the far distant future, don’t get too excited Mum).

Thought it would be fitting to share a photo of my dad and I at the fair, since that came up in his favorite memory with me

Thought it would be fitting to share a photo of my dad and I at “the fair”, since talking endlessly about it with me every night before bed was one of his favorite memories.