Under the Black Flag

Halcyon Summer

Why is it that summers used to last so much longer back then?  School would be out in early June, and by the time horrid September rolled around, it seemed three years had passed.

What fun it was to be young, and for it to be summer!  No homework, no need to stay in shape, no starving oneself to make weight for wrestling, girls galore at the country club and on the beach, softball on the public lawns of Greenwich, Connecticut, or soccer on the lawns of Vouliagmeni, east of Athens, where Greek shipowners parked their yachts.  Sailing boats, that is.  The first man to own a gin palace was Aristotle Onassis, who had a Canadian frigate converted, and it all went downhill from then on.  Youth never worries, and takes its fun whenever and wherever it can get it—hence one didn’t worry about being locked up in boarding school until it actually happened.  (Now, in old age, I worry about something unpleasant months before I have to go through with it.)  And how quickly and easily one fell in love during those long summer days and nights, and—thank God—how even more rapidly one fell out of love when something more exotic came along.  I’d say on average there were three to four major romances during those unending summers—with each one starting “for life and for ever after,” until the inevitable happened.  Time seemed...

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