Summer on the Fire Escape

When I was an kid in Flushing, New York, we didn't have enough money to pay for camp or take expensive trips. We did have the ultimate summer luxury, though — a luxury most suburban kids never get to enjoy. We had the gift of time.

Every summer vacation, I had jewels of unplanned hours to spend any way I wanted. My sisters and I'd walk the two miles to Shea Stadium to get autographs outside the players' entrance. We rode bikes, played stickball, and put on talent shows with the other neighborhood kids (we didn't have a television). When the afternoons got unbearably hot, a NYC firefighter would come around, cone off the street, and open up a hydrant near the playground. Best of all, I had as much time as I wanted to read stories. Seven library books a week (that was the limit per patron back then), my diary, a pen, and several rolls of sweet tarts sustained me on the fire escape.

Even though I've morphed into one of those over-busy suburban types these days, that's what the beginning of summer still promises me — unfettered time for stories. Hope it holds the same wealth for you. Enjoy!