Mary Grace Garis
Updated Aug 14, 2015 @ 11:45 am

As the season winds down and sandy beaches turn to piles of leaves before our eyes (um, metaphorically), I’m getting reflective about past summer loves. It’s bittersweet to reflect on those warm nights of my youth when I’d be floating with joy, mouth preoccupied, heart full. I am, of course, talking about myriad of ice cream flavors I’ve adored but had to leave behind. Whether it was a vacation fling or a hometown treat, all of them have made a significant impact on my life.

So in honor of another summer’s passing, here’s a tribute to all the ice cream flavors that really made the season worthwhile.

Bubblegum Sugar Cone, Hazlet, New Jersey, 2005

I was young. I didn’t know what the world had to offer me. I just saw little bubblegum bits and thought, “Oh, I like this, I’m having fun now!” And it WAS fun, for a while. But once September came, high school got in the way of us, pretty much by way of my friend’s ex-boyfriend. I wonder if he still works at that Dairy Queen. I’ll never be certain for sure.

Soft Serve Cotton Candy, Seaside Park, New Jersey, 2008

For two weeks three summers in a row, I would return to you happily. You were my first real introduction to the world of fancy ice cream. Vanilla with a syrupy cerulean trim? Whoa. It was a little much for a suburban girl like me, but we made it work. Then, tragedy befell the Jersey shore… in the very literal form of the Jersey Shore. I can no longer bring myself to return, I just hope that you’re out there making some girl very happy.

Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 2011

It’s weird that in the perpetual Summer Land that is Florida I would’ve picked up on Vermont’s finest flavor. I did, though, and I fell hard. While some think of the state as a bastion of beaches, Disney characters and Harry Potter world, I was stuck spending day after day watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians at my Aunt Ida’s house. You were the perfect companion for that. We carried on our affair way after I got back home, but I don’t know. A buy one, get one half off encounter with you and Phish Food got way too weird, and I’m just not ready to go back to that life.

Ooey Gooey Oreo, Matawan, New Jersey, 2015

Those who claim women can’t have it all have never tried Ooey Gooey Oreo. Honestly, when we met two summers ago I wasn’t emotionally prepared. Caramel in a cookies and cream base? You were just perfect for me, sheer heaven in a waffle cone. I really thought we could’ve had a future together. But the timing was just off, you were solidly staying in central Jersey, and I had to move out of my parent’s house before my mid twenties turned into my late twenties. It’s nobody’s fault. Maybe someday we could revisit the situation. I’d really like that.

Spongebob Popsicle, Everywhere, 2010 – 2015

You were supposed to be my forever. Whenever I’d look into those black gumball eyes and smile at those two misshapen teeth, I could feel nothing but pure love. Who would’ve guessed July 4th would’ve been our last rendezvous? So it goes…when you move, things change. And I’ll never stop loving you, but the reality is, $4 is WAY too much when I have to make rent. Way too much, dude. I will think of you fondly whenever an ice cream truck goes by…which is five times a day, because I live next to an elementary school.

Organic Sea Salt Caramel, Brooklyn, New York, 2015

Actually, I’d go for you again. Maybe I can get someone to take me on a date here or something.

[Image via iStock]