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How my endless summer began in 1977 Phoenix, Arizona


For my friends who grew up in Phoenix, the idea of an "endless summer" sounds awful, but to me it's the most wonderful thing in the world. My endless summer began in Phoenix in 1977, in August to be exact, when I was 19.

Yes, it was hot back then. Phoenix has always been brutally hot. It may have been a few degrees cooler, like maybe only 110, not 115, but it was nothing that I had ever experienced before. I certainly wasn't prepared for it, but heck, I was young. My car didn't have air conditioning, and my apartment had something that rattled and made noise, which was supposed to cool the place. But as I recall I really didn't care, I was just so happy.

Of course the summer of 1977 didn't start in August for me. It started in Minnesota. The snow starts to melt about the time of April showers, and the May flowers are definitely in bloom by then. June is warm, but not nearly as warm as Phoenix, but it can be humid. Real humid.


Anyway, the dream of an endless summer started for me when I first listened to the Beach Boys' Greatest Hits album, called "Endless Summer". And for them it meant not having to go to school, and being able to surf, and of course the girls on the beach. As far as I was concerned, growing up in Minneapolis, summer meant that I could ride my bike around the lakes, and see the girls in shorts instead of in parkas. School was out, but as I recall school was never more than a minor annoyance to me, like having a job became. I would just do my time, and then as soon as I could I'd go ride my bike. Schools gave me grades, and jobs gave me paychecks.

If you grew up in Phoenix, this next part will make no sense to you, but to me winter never came. It was still summer in December. I wrote Christmas cards to friends back home and marveled at how warm it was, and no snow! The apartment had a little tiny pool, and I was in it all winter (which for me was summer).

For me, summer has never ended. I've lived in the Phoenix, and Los Angeles, area all of my life. I've gone back for brief visits to Minnesota in the winter, but I very quickly learned not to. Every once in a while I've driven up to Flagstaff to see some snow, but I'm always glad to roll back down the hill to the valley.

I live in a world of endless summer. I spend as much time as possible outdoors, around tropical plants, I have Hawaiian shirts, and lots of lightweight shorts. I keep a good supply of sunscreen around! And when you see me smiling for no apparent reason, it's because my life has been spent in an endless summer, and hopefully will always be that way.

Image at the top of this post: Me at the Saguaro Apartments in 1977, Phoenix, Arizona.

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