A Slower Pace: Remembering Silvermont

This week I’m taking it easy. Finally have all the kids out of school and all activities wound up. PTO is done. (Yay!) Summer camps are all lined up and I’m not overdoing it for a change.

I love the slower pace of summer. I remember as a kid that I loved the chance to sleep late, then spend the day reading, riding my bike, eating popsicles and generally treating every day like a Saturday. When I got bored, I’d ride my bike uptown or to the corner minimart and buy candy with whatever pocket change I had. (Twenty-five cents was enough to buy a candy bar!) My brother and I would grab a towel and bike to the local community pool.

I think one of my favorite things to do was go to Silvermont, a park nearby. Doesn’t that name just ring with magic? Silvermont wasn’t just a park. It was built on the grounds of an old dilapidated mansion, The Silvermont Mansion, once owned by the Silversteens. Joseph Silversteen was a rich entrepreneur in Brevard, one of a few who helped establish the economy of my hometown in the years before the Great Depression.

Silvermont had the usual park stuff: basketball and tennis courts, picnic tables, amazing wooden playsets, swings, and the tallest slide in the world (seriously—it was a rite of passage to go down that thing). But it also had acres of overgrown land, and as we got older we explored every inch of the mysterious paths, obscure clearings and fairy glades—regardless of snakes and poison ivy.

To me, Silvermont was a wonderland. I learned the art of square dancing there on Tuesday evenings during one summer when a group of bluegrass musicians would play for free. I loved those long summer evenings of my girly days. No, square dancing isn’t cool, but it was fun, and even now on a particularly beautiful summer evening, I’ll long for those days when a crowd would gather on the basketball court to listen and dance to the twangy banjo and smooth accordion.

So this is my slow down week. I’m letting my kids do what they want, within reason. This week they can get up when they want to, play videogames, eat meals when they’re hungry. I can’t let them ride their bikes to the minimart, but I can take them out for ice cream. I can take them to the park, and I can let them explore the neighborhood.

And in the evenings, we can sit outside and watch the fireflies blink and breathe.

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