I grew up reading about the dreaded “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay. It seemed nearly every character in the middle grade and young adult novels I read was stuck writing such an essay at the start of the school year. So much so that I eagerly anticipated the year that it would be my turn. (Don’t judge. When you’re the youngest child, keeping up with your elder siblings means eagerly anticipating even the worst eventualities because having endured them might just mean you’re finally old enough to be taken seriously.)
Somehow I never had to endure that particular rite of passage in school. I guess that my teachers didn’t think so much of the tradition. Nevertheless, I continued to think about it and contemplate what I would write if asked. It’s not that I would have had a great deal to report. My family did not take exciting or luxurious vacations, and as I grew older I had very mundane summer jobs, but somehow I still wanted to write about it.
It wasn’t until several years after college that I got my chance. A job I applied for required a writing sample, and rather than pull out some dusty Religious Studies paper out of the basement file box marked COLLEGE, I wrote a “What I Did for My Summer Vacation” essay. In February.
I don’t have the faintest memory now what I wrote, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t keep a copy, but perhaps because I’d been musing on the form of what I would write for so long, I got the job. And perhaps because the idea’s stuck in my head, or maybe because my one attempt was successful, I still tend to approach summer with an eye to remembering, at least until the following summer, what interesting and noteworthy things I did when school was not in session.
Now the kids are back in school for another year and I’m thinking back over the summer days. I won’t write an essay this year, and I’m sure to avoid the more mundane details of my summer life, but I thought it would be fun to post a record here of my summer vacation 2016.