When I was a youngster, 10 or 11, we lived in the Colt Park section of Hartford, just off Wyllis Street.
We lived at 26 Lisbon Street. The Polish church was just down the way, on Governor Street. The Polish National home was at the corner of Governor and Charter Oak Avenue and the Polish elementary school was on, I think, Groton. The area was all multi-family housing and, with all ages of adults and children, it was a small community, a village really - a Polish-American village.
After the celebration of the 4th of July which was a four- or five-day event, the endless summer began. We would get together some of the neighborhood kids, some who went to the Polish school and others who went to public school, the Richard J. Kinsella Elementary School on Charter Oak Avenue, two blocks away. For the summer months, we were just the kids from the neighborhood.
We played ball at Colt Park, went to afternoon matinees at the Crown Theatre on Main Street, or came up with our game of golf in Joe’s backyard, depending on the mood of the group.
During the day, it was hot and during the night it was hot and everyone had fans. No one could afford or even thought of air conditioning.
The days were long, warm, and bright … endless. Time moved at a Huck Finn pace, lazy and laid back. It was a very comfortable time and it always felt normal and safe.
The days would roll one into another as would the weeks. There was time to go to the pool at the park and play ball. There would be between six and seven of us most days. Plans were made when we got together in the morning, then our day would unfold.
Mind you, there were no adults involved. We were expected to be responsible and aware of what we were doing.
These were the best times of my young years … eight weeks of the summer seemed endless. It was a grand time.
Phil Mikan is the host of the Phil Mikan Show on WMRD 1150/WLIS AM 1420 daily at 10 a.m. and the Weekend Corner Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. You can reach him at email@example.com or write him at Phil Mikan, Central Connecticut Communications, One Herald Square, New Britain, CT 06051.