Hold Onto Summer

A childhood phrase that I cherished for years was “Hold onto summer.” My summers were idyllic. My family and I had a special place, memories that I captured in my memoir, Thinking of Miller Place. It was the one-acre property and surrounding little “world” of Miller Place where we could climb trees, eat raspberries, swinging lazily on the canvas hammock, rock back and forth on the glider, and go as high as we could on the rope swing, and have Sunday bar-b-ques with sweet Long Island corn. And the beach was five minutes away.

It wasn’t so much the warm weather but the activities and feelings that summer offered: peaceful, calm, exciting, adventurous.

Now that I live in Tucson, summer is quite different, at least weather-wise. Triple digits temps are rationalized with “it’s a dry heat.” Still, loyal as I am to my adopted state, that’s pretty hot.

What’s wonderfully the same for me are the feelings and memories we’re building with the hiking in the cooler mountains, reading on the patio and slipping into our spool to cool off, full moon times outside, and dinner and concerts with friends. This summer has been especially adventurous. A trip back to New Jersey and Long Island to visit friends and family and a road trip to the California and Oregon, and Idaho brought us coast to coast.

For your enjoyment here are some of my summer memories. What’s a summer memory of yours?





  1. How lovely is this as I am reading it upon my arrival in Greece. Your pix are exquisite! May you continue to make many more happy memories.

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      Thank you, Julie. And when each summer comes around and you are off to Greece, I smile. A return to Greece IS on my horizon -meanwhile I live vicariously through your photos.

  2. A. Enid Medina

    Hi Ethel, Hope all is well. Sorry I missed you when you came to N J. 🙁 My favorite summer memory was when I was 15, my parents sent me to spend the whole summer in Puerto Rico with my uncle. He had a 15 year old daughter who I became very close to. We would sneak away to converse with the hotties from the neighborhood and go for ice cream at my cousin’s neighbor ice cream shop, no charge for us! The coconut ice cream was to die for and I still make sure to get some when I visit the island. It’s truly like reliving the past when I sink my teeth into that white, frosty goodness, yum!

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      So nice to hear from you. I think childhood summer memories are especially poignant for quite a number of people. I hope it’s still true for kids. I may have to go get some coconut ice cream. I know it won’t be exactly the same as your cousin’s, and of course, my Safeway hasn’t offered any conversations with hotties. Love to you.

  3. Denise Jones

    Your blog was such a beautifully peaceful description of your summer memories, past and present.

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      I’m glad you felt that way- I do really HOLD ONTO summer, especially my summers in Miller Place.

  4. Denise N. Kingsley

    Ethel, I so enjoyed reading “My Mother’s Beauty”. I love how you describe her beauty after her stroke, you are a brillant writer. It makes me want to live in Tucson so that I could attend the Fall Literary Events, sounds like fun!
    I have e-mailed you the “Afterword” added to my memoir which should be in my books thru Amazon next week.
    Thank you for being in my life

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      Thank you, Denise. I’ll check Amazon. I enjoyed “Afterword” for just that reason, it shares, in a poignant way, what has happened in the author’s life. Thank you.

  5. Elizabeth Murfee

    Yes, summers can be wonderful, a time to kick back or to explore new areas — mainly time seems to move slower so it is okay to spend hours reading outside or even to sleep late inside. This blog reminds me of how much I enjoyed reading Thinking of Miller Place. Thnaks, Ethel. New York can be fun, too!


    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      Thank you, Beth for the Miller Place reference. Even though summer weather continues for a while here in Tucson, I still review my summers on Labor Day weekend. And yes, I read some chapters in Thinking of Miller Place, especially “A Summer Portrait,” “Clearing Poison Ivy Lane,” and “Mermaid Lagoon.” And then there’s the allure and magic of summertime in NYC.

  6. Brenda Marjaniemi

    Loved your writing on Hold onto Summer. Especially noted your comments on Tucson’s 3 digit weather can be nice too with cooling off in the pool, enjoying the moon light at night, getting together with friends for dinner and a concert, and traveling to cooler places.
    I plan to read your other blogs.

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