Wednesday, October 14, 2009

a season on the fence

of course I have always loved October for being the month of my birthday. when your birthday is near the end of the month i feel like it's easier to feel like the whole month is yours, the anticipation stretches out from the first day you flip the calendar. growing up i loved that my birthday was where it was during the year for several reasons... close to halloween so i could have dress up party if i liked, enough into the school year so that i knew the kids in my class and that it wouldn't be awkward to bring cupcakes and be sung to, and not too close to the holidays.

one of my favorite reasons for having a late october birthday was/is this: this month, while containing the best of autumn in the form of pumpkin carving parties, nights by the fireplace, and the promise of holiday candy, could still act like a card-carrying member of the summer season, at least in california. the days are still often warm. you can still sport shorts and tank tops.

and that meant that my birthday parties could also be pool parties.

one of the greatest glories of my childhood was belonging to the local pool club. you had to live in the neighborhood or be friends with someone who did, so that meant that almost all of my middle school and junior high friends could go. for weeks after school started we could say after the last bell of the day, "see you at Treeview? in an hour and half?" and everyone would be there. we girls would stake out spots for our towels on the grass near the shallow end, so we could have the best view of all the action, and dip in and out for games of marco polo. i remember when one pieces started turning into two pieces by the end of one adolescent summer. these get-togethers were somehow more social than the summer ones as i recall, since many friends would be scattered over the vacation months with family or at camps. we would soak gloriously for a couple afternoon hours in the chlorine and the flirting that never culminated in much of anything, and head home for dinner and homework when we'd had enough. even if i was having an actual birthday party in some other form, it would still work out to casually rally the friends together for an afternoon of canon balls and underwater leapfrog that third week of october in honor of my birthday.

those wet days would end after halloween, not to be seen really til the spring. those times, where you could care less about your hair getting wet and maybe too much about what the boys were doing, and the chlorine would discolor your suit by the end of the year... they are something i miss the most about childhood.

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