Today is the first 'real' day of summer. For us, back then, summer started as soon as we could get into the pond without turning purple. The goal was to be the first in to swim, it was a macho/pride thing. We tried to get in on one sister's birthday in April. Sometimes we made it, sometimes we copped out and waited until the other sister's bday in May. We might make it anytime in there but we were usually the first kids to go swimming every year.

As soon as the temps hit 60 we were into our shorts outfits and swim suits. We were not the kind of girls that needed fancy stuff much, Mom was lucky to keep us in shoes. It was a big gripe of our Dad's - that we never had shoes on. Even as we got out on our own he would give us grief for running around bare foot. In fact, the last time I remember him saying something to me I was in my early 30's. I don't know that we were nudist material but we were in line for naturalist membership back then. Unless Mom caught up with us our hair hung free and we wore just enough to keep legal. If she caught us and had the time, our hair was pulled back and up until we joked we were half Chinese and we threw a shirt on over our swim suits.

Being out in the country we usually got away with a lot less clothing than town mom's could let their kids run in, even then. Mowing the yard in a bikini was just what we did, no big deal. Never thought about predators or pedophiles back then, just comfort. Mowing the yard was a big job and it seems like it was always hot when we had to do it. The grass clippings would stick to our sweaty legs and we would head for the creek or the pond after to cool off and clean up.

One suit that sticks in EVERYONE's mind was the year Vee got the navy blue suit with a yellow hand on one boob and one bun. There is a photo of her and I in our new suits that day. We were hamming for the camera. It was a bold suit for the time but she was a bold girl and is still a bold woman. I had a purple and white jungle leaf patterned suit that had just a little more material in in than hers.

The mate told me he rode his bike by our house one day and saw a flash of golden hair flipping in the breeze and spotted me mowing the yard in that suit and knew he was going to marry me. The next day he was down at the pond fishing. I met him down there when I went to see who was using "our" pond.

He wore a sleevless t-shirt, shorts and sandles. He was taller than me and had wide shoulders, a solid build, heavy biceps and thighs with matching calves and was looking hot to me with his rich, dark, thick auburn hair, parted on the left, long lashes around hazel eyes and a stern, somber look on his face. I didn't know then that he was shy and for defense used that look to keep people away from him. I just thought he looked kind of grumpy. But I went up to him and then I knew who he was so I just said, "Hi Mate, long time no see."

We started talking then. It was hard over our shyness and the heavy sweating and panting we had to ignore. Yes, we had that effect on each other from day one. All I ever had to do was see him and I was "on point" and he was "on, full speed ahead".

As we reached the hand holding point we always had sweaty palms but it was easier to slide our fingers in the secret patterns that excited us so much back then. When we got to our first kiss one day, sitting next to each other under a tree on the west bank by the lagoon, I think we dripped on each other from our chins. Man, could he kiss! Mmmmmm oh yeah! Those cupid bow lips were friendly and agile!

Just like our reunion in later years, we were joined at the hip from that day on. We lived about six miles apart on the same road. The rest of the summer was spent riding our bikes and meeting at either house or at the big lake in the middle to be together. There was a lot of swimming and fishing and just talking.

The mate is the only kid I knew who told me what he wanted to do when he grew up and then did it. He didn't want to be just a guy with a tank, he wanted to be the man that told the guys in the tanks what to do. I couldn't know then that he would accomplish this, with honors, but he did. He was one of the rare ones that continued to do what he said he was going to in his life.

Back then it was just an overwelming attraction for both of us. When you add in teen age hormones its amazing we were as controlled as we managed to be over the years. I was 13 and he was 14/15 then. For two more years everything I did included calculating how it affected our time together or our plans for the weekends.

This was our first summer of love. We didn't waste any of it.