The real Memorial Day

I grew up in one of those 1950s neighborhoods you read about: lawns and woods and kids and games, games and more games. There was Michigan Rummy, where the penny-stacked cards extended through the halls and out the doors; Kinney Over, where we threw a little red ball over the Mercer’s garage and the other side had to catch it; dodge ball, kickball, and, when all else failed, games I’d make up.

Our parents inaugurated the summer with the Memorial Day picnic, always on May 30 even if it was in the middle of the week. The grownups drank and barbequed, we ate, and then we’d all play softball, my father the designated pitcher. It was summer, endless summer; we had the July 4th picnic to look forward to, and the fireworks. Labor Day, so aptly, depressingly named, was just too far away to contemplate.

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