Scenes from a Not-Yet Misspent Childhood
By P.W. Jovanovich, as told to Robin Jovanovich
I have most things under control, including my parents, but there are obviously a few skills I need in my toolbox if I’m ever going to become sole proprietor of the TV remote.
The realization hit home on the Milton School playground last week when I overheard a group of moms discussing the need to have our résumés built and
ready to roll out. I wasn’t sure what a résumé was, but I just happen to be a great builder, better than the president I’m told. And I like being ahead of the game, as in winning races, board games, fastest to the counter at Longford’s.
But what to write? I Facetimed my grandmother who seems to have a handle on this.
“Write what you know,” she suggested gently.
“Well, I know quite a lot about Washington, Hitler, and Lee from Tata (‘the family historian’) who has been filling me in on all the important duels and tussles,” I replied.
“Think lovelier, loftier thoughts than your grandfather, dear.”
We ran through a long list of my favorite subjects: the fate of Milton Point once Corner Stone closes; which Paw Patrol pup would the Rye Marine Unit select first for a rescue mission; the possibility of building a barrier to prevent great white sharks from swimming from Long Island to Rye at no cost to Rye taxpayers.
“How about penning your thoughts on how you spent summer vacation? You were a busy camper. And it will be a good thing to have on your résumé,” my grandmother said assuredly. “You’ll harken back to those memories when it comes time to compose your college essay, replete with just the right combination of sentiment and wit.” (Note to self: When time comes, outsource college essay to Mimi.)
First things first. Before summer officially began, I graduated from two nursery schools — take that Harvard! After earning ‘degrees’ from Rye Presbyterian Nursery School and Rye Nature Center Forest Preschool, I went to summer day camp to de-stress. This was my second year, and it was great, especially the final stage production, but I’m thinking of expanding my horizons next summer. I’ll be 6 after all.
But I get ahead of myself.
I hit my first road bump in the short time between the end of camp and the start of school. Seems to be a rough time for parents, too; otherwise why would they say things like: “It’s off to sleepaway camp for you next summer!”
Recognizing my parents needed a break, I relied on my grandparents to fill in those long, last, lazy days of summer.
First stop, Playland, on a weekday for a good five hours. The best part, other than the chance to exhibit my amazing Go Kart skills, was watching the big kids get soaked on the Log Flume ride. I was brave, even on some of the rides I’LL NEVER GO ON AGAIN, but none of us was brave enough to try the new Dragonator. The name alone is enough to scare you.
My grandmother, who claims to be the best in the family at miniature golf, didn’t notch as many holes in one as did I, a novice. And what about her sportsmanship when she missed a hole five straight times? She blamed the condition of the greens, which she did a fair job pummeling. I humored her by promising to give her another chance when she took me to a real miniature golf park.
As for Kiddyland, I think I’ve graduated from it, too.
I didn’t only play this summer, by the way, I used my noggin, as my grandmother is always urging me to do. I convinced my grandparents to leave their dog at home with a sitter and take me to San Diego instead. I did feel a little guilty about the dog, but I promised to help make it a really relaxing vacation for my grandparents. For some reason they then invited my uncle to join us for part of the time “in case they needed a time out.”
Not only did we stay up really late most nights, but we got up super early to be among the first 1,000 visitors at the San Diego Zoo; find a parking space at Mission Bay beach; and catch all the shows at Sea World.
Yes, I caught a few waves while I was there, thanks to my uncle, a surf and turf guy; beat both my grandparents in races on the beach, despite a few questionable head starts on their parts; got pretty close to ginormous sea lions at the cove beach in La Jolla; and didn’t lose a hand when Uncle Nicky said it was okay to put our hands through the wire fence separating us from a snow leopard, which I was the first to spot!
The catch of the day, however, was at my first Major League Baseball game — Padres vs. Dodgers. Unbelievably, my grandfather sprang for seats six rows up from the field. (One-sixth the price of comparable Yankees tickets, he reported proudly. So much for never talking about money in public!) In the bottom of the fifth, a very nice usher tossed me a practice ball. The picture of me holding it made Instagram that night! The Padres, who are at the bottom of the ladder, had a big night, too, and they’re no longer “cellar dwellers”. Too bad, that sounded like a cool place to be. Batman never minded it.
Back home in Rye, the question that lingers in the late summer air is: Can kindergarten top summer? Some wisenheimer older kid on the playground just informed me that as a kindergartener I’m technically not in a grade at Milton. I’ll show him. He’ll be asking me to write his résumé before long.