The Instant Summer Plan – The New York Times

Welcome. Cold peach soup. “Under the promenade.” The smell of chlorine. Spit watermelon seeds from the front porch in the backyard. So much lemonade and lemonade (homemade, if possible). Last week I asked you what would be on your “instant summer” list, what sounds, scents and activities conjure up the season for you, no matter the time or place. The tide of answers was a delight: memories of summers long past, sunny, unfaded snapshots. Here are some important points.

  • “Orange juice poured into DIY plastic popsicle molds. There you go, it’s summer! —Patty Malgieri, Bronxville, NY

  • “As soon as school is over, you have to watch ‘Meatballs’. —Elizabeth Quiroz, Toronto

  • “Gin and tonic, unsweetened iced tea and various spritzers are produced for our Hours of Charm (the appetizer that my grandmother said made everyone a little more charming).” —Kam Hitchcock, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

  • “Ride regularly on the Rockaway bike path. Dinners at Eataly with my girlfriend. Kisses in the port. Steak and fries at Bar Marseille. Cook lots of salmon and spinach. Avocado salads and tandoori turkey wings. —Raj Brandston, Far Rockaway, Queens

  • “Eating tomato sandwiches – just mayonnaise and tomatoes on white bread (preferably homemade) – is one of my favorite things every summer.” -Beverly Kerr, Morgantown, W. Va.

  • “Purchase of school clothes in July and August. The smell of coconut sunscreen. The movie ‘Oklahoma!’ and the song ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning’. ‘ Elizabeth Enright and Edward Eager children’s books. Walk at night. Swimming at night. White Shoulders Eau de Cologne. Reread Raymond Chandler in August. The Perseid meteor showers in August. Mint lemonade. Live in the garden. Imagine how perfect the next summer will be. —Leslie McLean, Sonoma, Calif.

  • “Spend all day – all day – reading. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s fiction, captivating and long. Stop only for more lemonade, to make a peanut butter sandwich, or to switch from the sofa to the porch. Instant childhood, instant summer. —Sharon Airhart, Toronto

  • “My cheeks in color, overripe peaches”: Lorde’s recent single “Solar Power” is an instant summer dose. She spoke to Joe Coscarelli about what happened for the last installment of Diary of a Song.

  • I heard about After Life Experience through the Recomendo newsletter. It is a kind of interactive work of art that helps you select “a memory from your own life, in which to spend eternity”. It looked like it could be out of date, but I got on with it. You can do the exercise or just listen to recordings of other people’s memories.

  • “So much rain, so much life like the swollen / black August sky. My sister, the sun, is smoldering in her yellow room and won’t come out. I memorized this poem by Derek Walcott years ago, and every year on the first rainy day in August it resurfaces in my mind.

A few months ago, it seemed like this summer could mean less time “home” and more time “out”, at least for some, at least compared to last summer. But that could change with news about the Delta variant. Did you change any of your plans? Tell us: Include your full name and location and we may include your response in a future newsletter. We are at home and away. We will read every letter sent. Other ideas for leading a full and cultivated life, whether you are at home or away, appear below.

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