Song Lyric Saturday: “The Summer Place”

Welcome to Song Lyric Saturday, a new feature for my NaBloPoMo month of March–and it may make occasional appearances even after that’s over, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m not a big fan of short stories in traditional form, but when they’re set to great melodies and last for under four minutes, sometimes they really work for me. 

The “summer place” of my childhood was Budd Lake, New Jersey, where my maternal grandfather and a couple of his sisters owned small houses, and extended family came and went throughout the warm months. My mother’s generation didn’t keep up the tradition, and when her siblings chose a summer place of their own, they went down to the Shore (yes, that Jersey Shore) instead of to the lake. And by the time I entered my teens, my immediate family had moved to Florida, which is a summer place year-round (like it or not). 

The idea of returning to the same vacation spot year after year fascinates me, although it doesn’t hold quite the same appeal as traveling to new places I haven’t seen.

I visualize “The Summer Place” in this Fountains of Wayne song (from Sky Full of Holes, 2011) as somewhere out on Long Island, but I suppose it could be down at the Shore. I think it’s nearer to the ocean than to a lake, and I don’t get the sense it’s out on Cape Cod. But it might not be anywhere except in someone’s mental landscape…

She’s been afraid of the Cuisinart 
Since 1977
Now when she opens up the house
Well, she won’t set foot in the kitchen
Her brother’s dating an architect
They’re coming up for the weekend
He never gave her the proper respect
But she still meets the ferry to greet them
Oh, at the summer place
We’ve got the space if you’ve got the time
And the summer place is so far away
It’s another state of mind
(Mind, mind, mind)
She ran away back in ’78
Just down the beach to the neighbor
They brought her back after sunset
But dad sad “Don’t do me any favors”
Her mom would sit on the patio
She said she needed the sea air
She’d drink a fifth of Seagrams
And then she’d sink down into her deck chair
Oh, at the summer place
We’ve got the space if you’ve got the time
And the summer place is so far away
It’s another state of mind
(Mind, mind, mind)
At 15,
Was the only game she liked to play
At 40,
She’s still bored
She thinks about it then decides to pay
And still she can’t help feeling
Those good old days don’t seem so far away (seem so far away)
But should just yesterday
She took a handful of mushrooms
That she got from a surfer
She spent a night in a hospital room
So the doctors could observe her
Oh, at the summer place
We’ve got the space, you should drop on by
At the summer place the injuries fade
But the memories last a lifetime
(Lifetime, lifetime, lifetime)

“The Summer Place” lyrics and music video provided by

Is there a “summer place” that means something to you…or is yours just another state of mind?

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