Some of my fondest and most vivid childhood memories are the summers growing up in Massachusetts. Summer has a completely different feel and meaning in the New England states compared to those down here in the south. Summer in New England is distinctive, celebrated, and relished partly because its time is short. Although I love the south (because I detest any temperature below 50 degrees), summer here simply doesn't have the same exhilaration. The heat and humidity of summer linger on for much longer than should be allowed; sometimes well into October (which kinda ruins the whole pumpkin spice latte thing).
Summers in Massachusetts meant trips to the beach--an event almost as highly anticipated as Halloween or Christmas! My childhood summers would not be complete without a jaunt or two to Hampton Beach. Funny thing--it's not the beach itself that I remember, but the tastes and aromas. To this day, I cannot step foot onto a sandy seashore without certain memories surging into my mind: the taste of bologna sandwiches and the rich smell of Coppertone.
Back in the day, my siblings and I survived on lunches of bologna sandwiches and Fluffernutters. (That's a Slice for another day.) The bologna sandwiches were always made with--you guessed it--Oscar Mayer bologna, (don't hate me if "the song" is stuck in your head for the rest of the day), Wonder bread, and Hellmann's mayonnaise. Although I had bologna sandwiches for lunch more times than I can possibly count, there was just something magical about the combination of the savory thick-sliced bologna, the tangy mayo, and the tender bread eaten on a sandy blanket at the beach. I don't know if it was the warmth of the sun, the sand between my toes, the endless cries of the seagulls, or the tropical scent of Coppertone, but something made that ordinary bologna sandwich spectacular. Mmmmmm...
Although my childhood years in Massachusetts are long gone, and I will no longer let bologna or white bread pass my lips (sad, I know), my memories still linger and bring a smile to my face as I think back to a freckle-faced little girl savoring every bite of her bologna sandwich on a sandy blanket at the beach.