The Summer of 2001

by Kristen Beyer, SUNY Cortland, December 4, 2008

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Top down, speeding on Route 81 , 30 miles south of Binghamton, in a rush to arrive home from college, Bryan Adams comes on the radio singing his classic “Summer of 1969”. Almost instantly I am brought back to a time when the world seemed larger than the universe, filled with endless ecstasy. Where imaginations ran wild and pink dinosaurs flew above the clouds. Where white cloth angels pranced around with their sparkling silver wands similar to Tinkerbelle’s and spread magic silver dust over the needy, where nothing was tragic except the absence of ice cream from the freezer. Of course, in order to get to this place all I have to do is close my eyes, I am there again.

It’s 10:55 in the morning and I’m jumping on the back of Mike’s goped. We head to Brittany’s house where we will hang out with the group of the so called “Corner Girls and Goped Boys”. The name was tagged to us after numerous days of sitting down with my girlfriends on the corner of Howard Ave and Ferndale Ct, smoking candy cigarettes and anticipating a summer fling.

As we arrive, I hop off the goped and wave to Ryan who’s already jumping on the trampoline. Christine Aguilera’s hit song “Come on Over” is playing in the background. Mike grabs my hand and leads me into the yard. My heart is in my throat and my stomach is churning. Our relationship is only a month old and I am prude to everything.

We spend the day doing the usual routine of jumping on the trampoline and drinking the lemonade that Brittany’s mom has laid out for us.
Innocently, I watch in awe of Mike as he stupidly attempts to pursue a double flip in mid-air only to land on his back. He makes me laugh and at this time, that’s all that matters to me.

That night, Brittany, as klutzy as always, falls off the mike’s goped
. She is a drama queen and screams at the top of her lungs that she is dieing. We all run to tend to her needs. We all focus on the two small scrapes on her knees but her hair is frizzed and dirt is in her mouth. Craig, her boyfriend, starts to laugh. She gives him a death stare and then smirks, realizing the humor of the situation. Softly, she says “Ow” once more and the burst of laughter amongst all of us is released.

We stood there that night laughing in front of 27 St. Anns Ave.
We laughed until we couldn’t catch our breath anymore. We laughed about everything and nothing at the same time. We laughed because we didn’t know why we all were laughing so hard. We were innocent teenagers discovering the ordinary but profound pleasures life had to offer. And for all of us, that summer went down in history.

Oh when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Ya - I'd always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life
-Bryan Adams

Summer after summer I find myself drive by that house.
None of us speak any longer. Mike developed a drug addiction, Brittany is engaged, Michelle attends New Paltz, Lisa pursued a career as a make-up artist in Manhattan. I don’t know where Ryan or Craig ended up but I suppose they are finishing up college.

It’s funny how the simplest pleasures come from the way the trees move in the wind and the gopeds speed down the streets when you’re young
. But how many of us keep that same appreciation as the years pass us by?

I arrive at the house; I walk up to the gate and stare at the spot where the trampoline used to be. I haven’t been back here since Britt moved in high school.

That summer was a summer of possibility, of hope and of young love.
I would suspect that everyone has one particular summer when they’re young that seems to last forever. The summer of 2001 was mine.

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