There are a lot of things that can be Hot and Sizzling. I could be writing about bacon, a steamy sex scene, a reference to a temperament when angered, for this purpose hot and sizzling is about the weather.
After a cool, rainy, Spring, the summer solstice brought with it an oppressive summer heat.
Truth be told, for me, it’s not oppressive. I have been waiting since October, 2012 for this hot air. And on Long Island the heat is nothing like I remember it as a child in East Harlem, where the blazing summer sun baked the roof above our heads in that small four room apartment.
In the evening, after the sun sunk across town over the Hudson River, and the black roofing tar settled down from its soft bubbling, the family made its way up one short flight of stairs to catch what ever breeze blew across the building top. I never remember noticing the smell of hot tar. I imagine it was very strong, but to me it was just part of the summer odor. Even today when passing road work or driveway refinishing I am reminded of those days.
My skin tone reflects my Greek/Sicilian heritage. As a child I tanned to a deep golden brown without help of oils, creams, or lotions. This color of mine was achieved by the early part of May. I recall my father telling me to smile so he could locate me on the flat roof. There was no artificial light up on that roof, and if I was any distance from where they sat he declared he needed the white of my teeth to find me. He was very proud of my coloring as it was exactly like his. He always looked like he just returned from a Greek Island. Nothing could be further from the truth.
That roof on 425 East 116th Street was my back yard, my patio, and my picnic area. I played with my friend Joanie when she was allowed up there, and gossiped with my friend Louise about boys as we hit our teen years. That roof was the top of my world. It was also the meeting place for the women who lived from the fourth floor up. Anyone who lived beneath the fourth floor met by the front stoop on hot summer nights.
I’m a long way from East Harlem in miles, years, and circumstance. My home with my husband is comfortable, we have a small pool in the back yard, a porch, and patio. My skin still tans without any help aside from being outdoors to check on the progress of the tomatoes and flowers, or walking on the black top driveway to get to the car. Its been the cause of much speculation by strangers who ask me if I’ve just returned from the islands. It makes me smile.
When its a hot, sizzling day like today and the temperature is flirting with 90 degrees, I’m transported back more than fifty years to that roof top life. I loved life then and I’m loving it now.
Have a happy summer day!