The Memorial Day holiday is traditionally seen as the opening of summer, when backyard barbecues are endless, and so are the mosquitoes. Schools let out, neighborhood pools open and crowds fill up the shores of beaches on every coast.
To get you in the mood of the season, here are five less-known facts about summer:
- Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day, when the graves of fallen soliders would be decorated with flowers. The holiday didn’t officially become known as Memorial Day until the 1880s.
- Summer vacations weren’t always a given for American school children. Educational reformer Horace Mann started the move in the 1840s to provide students a months-long break from the classroom, and a much needed respite for their teachers.
- The Eiffel Tower in Paris grows about six inches every summer because of the heat. It retracts as the weather cools down.
- In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month, mainly because that’s when the most of the cold stuff is sold. The third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day.
- Speaking of ice cream, the Mister Softee jingle actually has lyrics that were written by an advertising firm in 1960. The lyrics and the sheet music for the frozen treat truck's signature jingle can be found on the company’s website. Here's a snippet to get you started singing: "Here comes Mister Softee, the soft ice cream man. The creamiest, dreamiest soft ice cream you get from Mister Softee, for a refreshing delight supreme, look for Mister Softee, my milkshakes and my sundaes and my cones are such a treat."