Shades of Summer

Shades of Summer

Welcome to The Monthly’s annual summer essay issue. This spring, we invited readers to start with “31 Flavors” as the jumping-off point for a personal essay—“ice cream references not mandatory”—and see where the idea took them. As you might expect in the diverse East Bay, we received quite a smorgasbord of responses, encompassing a variety of sensual summer memories, as well as pregnant brides, doomed relationships, jumbo packs of crayons—and, yes, ice cream. Here are some of our favorites; hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did. —The editors.

A Wedding Sampler | by Judy Bebelaar

A Different Light | by Cynthia Overbeck Bix

Taste Summer | by Joyce Thompson

The Water’s Fine | by Rachel Trachten

Finer Than Frog Hair | by Wichita Sims

Coloring in the Details | by Joanne Catz Hartman

Flavor of the Moment | by Nancy McKay

Faces of the East Bay

In the Philanthropic Swim

In the Philanthropic Swim

Rockridge residents John Bliss and Kim Thompson may live far removed the gritty flats of East and West Oakland. But this philanthropic couple see themselves as one with the citizens of Oakland, particularly those who are struggling financially, and they’re leading a campaign to get their “financially blessed” peers to invest in the community like they have by funding city programs to teach kids how to swim.