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Win a Labor Day Bag of Gotta Haves

UPDATE: Congratulations to Birdie in Southern California for being comment #1838, which was randomly selected to win the Labor Day Gotta Haves. Thanks to everyone for sharing the great memories. We hope every has a memorable Labor Day this year!

What's on your "Gotta Have" list for Labor Day festivities? Here's ours:

To celebrate the end of summer, we're giving away a bag filled with all of the ingredients needed for these "gotta haves" - enough for a Labor Day party for 8 to 10. Fun! We're also throwing in a $50 gift card so you can load up on your favorite condiments — think ketchup, mayo, mustard, pickles, relish — and any other gotta haves for a perfect end-of-summer party. To enter, simply share a little about your most memorable summer. Maybe it was the summer you learned to drive, or the year you took that sightseeing road trip with the family. Maybe it was a summer spent as an exchange student or the summer consumed with learning about young love. Share the year if you dare date yourself! Whatever it was, let us know in the comments below by August 31st and we'll choose one lucky commenter at random to receive a blowout Labor Day Gotta Haves package. One catch: since many of these items are perishable (like awesome grass-fed ground beef!), to be eligible for the prize you must be able to pick up your winnings from one of our stores. We'll notify the winner by email on September 1st, and you can pick up your prize from September 2nd through the 5th at your local Whole Foods Market store. So, let's hear it! What was your most memorable summer?

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2470 comments

Comments

Raquel Moreno says …

The summer I learned how to swim was the most memorable. I was 8 years old, the year was 1991. My Mom noticed that I was spending too much time indoors watching HBO and my baby round belly was only getting rounder. So she decided that I should learn how to swim before going back to school that fall. Yikes! Swimming! I protested all the way to the pool. On day one, I was embarrassed to stand on the concrete edge of the pool looking at all the significantly shorter little girls at my sides. To encourage me, my Mom bought me a black BodySuit one piece bathing suit with silver metallic sides that zipped up the front. She figured that a stylish sporty suit might sooth my shame of being taller and rounder than most of the other girls in my swim class. She was partially right. After four weeks, of scorching temperatures at the unshaded concrete pool, I learned how to swim freestyle, but the frog-like breast stroke was my favorite. On graduation day, we jumped in the 12 foot deep end to show our parents how much we had learned. I had learned to swim but looking down at the dark blue shade of the 12 foot deep water still made me nervous. When the instructor said go, I dove in head first and imitated a frog as fast as I could across the pool. I won! I made it to the other side faster than all the other girls. Victory was mine! My Mom was so proud of me. I felt like a new kid. I could swim, my little belly had gone down and I was ready to go back to school and tell my friends all about it.

Jeanne Bowman says …

First let me say this prize would be wonderful since I have been unemployed for 21 months and my unemployment and insurance has run out so this food & gift card would be a blessing. My memories of summers as a child were so memorable. My paren't took my sister and I on vacation to my mothers sister's home in Dayton, OH. We really could not afford trips to the beach when my parent's were young so we spent the time in OH. Each day my mom & aunt dragged 6 of us to the pool. Each night fed us and we always had a dish of ice cream before bed. They had to have cots lined up for us to sleep on. Times with my cousin's were unforgetable. Later in life we were able to go to the beach when my uncle bought a cottage at VA Beach. My mother has passed on and my father is 81 now. I miss those summers as a young girl with no stress, no worries and no bills, haha. Enjoy the remainder of your summer and savor the memories. Have a fun Labor Day weekend. Jeanne K Bowman

Tonia Collins says …

My most memorable summer was in 1999 (uh huh) when I was a camp nurse at Camp Noar in New Hampshire- it was one of my first experiences dealing with kids and my first time in New England. I took care of some famous people's kids...totally new stuff for me! I can't say I enjoyed it truthfully, but I sure remember it- and I learned a lot!

Annabel says …

My most memorable summer as a child was when we picked fresh blackberries and raspberries from a bush in the woods while walking on a wooded to the pool! we shoved handfuls in our mouth and had berry stains all over us...i wish life could still be so simple for my child (:

Molly says …

1977- Road trip with my Grandparents from Upstate, NY to Tucson, Az. What an incredible, wonderful, bonding time I had with them. We stopped in so many states, I can't remember them all! Visited relatives I didn't even know I had, and laughed our way across the country.

Kristine Hopkins says …

Most memorable summer - a family trip to Cape Cod - playing on the beach, lobster dinner and clam bake.....it was the first time I had seafood!

Jennifer ST pierre says …

My most memorable Labor day was last year. We were in Orlando, Florida with our 3 youngest, oldest couldn't go because she was in college. I had recently lost 75 pounds and was able to ride rides, walk for hours, and feel great despite the 95 degree heat.

wen says …

One of my most memorable summer was 2008, the year me and my husband got engaged. The last night of our summer vacation in Finland...we went on a boat ride, on a small island in the middle of nowhere...we got engaged...

Patricia Garcia says …

It was many years ago when I was 18 and graduated from high school in 1974 and had no plans at all for the summer. However, my sister who was planning a trip to South Africa extended an invitation to join her when her husband was not able to make the trip with her. They paid for all my expenses and we travelled for more then a month to locations like Paris, Germany, Austria and of course South Africa. We took a 14 day tour of South Africa, travelling from Cape Town and through the coast to Durbin - it was amazing! An educational, exciting, and most enjoyable trip I've ever taken. It was a summer I'll never forget!!

Donna Neary says …

It had to be the summer of '77. My parents sent me to Israel, for the experience, all by myself! I whined and cried across the country. I hated being away from home and I hated the work that I was supposed to do, to learn a work ethic. But the worst was the food. They certainly could have used a Whole Foods! I was glad when the summer ended.

Paula Stotts says …

My most memorable summer would be every summer from childhood days especially this time of year. They are of haying and harvesting!The awesome smells of fall coming and the cool evenings that allowed us to snuggle up in front of a camp fire and enjoy the evening sounds of nature before a roaring fire.And the sad thoughts of soon school would once again begin and being outdoors all day would end.

Lee says …

My most memorable summer was in 2007. We went on a Make A Wish trip to Disney World, Sea World, and Discovery Cove. My daughter had a thing for dolphins. It was the best. She and her brother were so happy. It was our last summer with her.

Nanette Grys says …

MY MOST MEMORABLE SUMMER WAS IN 1982 WHEN MY HUSBAND AND I GOT MARRIED OUTSIDE IN THE PINE TREES IN THE BLACK FOREST. IT HAD RAINED AND RIGHT BEFORE WE GOT MARRIED, THE RAIN STOPPED!

Heather Hicks says …

Definitely the summer I traveled all through Germany and got engaged on the Rhine River in Cologne! Then getting back home and spending the rest of the summer planning my wedding.

Jennifer Riggs says …

This summer was actually my most memorable summer. I have a wonderful husband and four beautiful kids. We have a trailer at a seasonal campground on a lake which proved to be a really great place for friends and family to be together this summer. The summer started off with my youngest son having his third surgery but this time it was to repair two epigastric hernias. In July, my husband, at the very young age of 40, had to have replacement hip surgery. While all this was going on I was in school taking classes towards my nursing degree. In April 2009 I lost my job which was devastating. It took a while for me to emotionally deal with this but I knew I had to move on in order to take care of my family. As time has gone on, we have learned to do more with less and I now realize that it was probably the best thing to happen to me. I am now pursuing a nursing degree and working hard but enjoying it. I look forward to having a job that I truly enjoy, one that can allow me to give back on a daily basis, and have a more flexible schedule for my family. This summer at the lake it was all about family and being together. We were able to spend time with family that also have trailers on the lake which include my parents, my brother and his family, and my grandparents who I treasure every moment with (they are almost 90 years old, still drive, and have a beautiful trailer on the lake). We were also blessed to have visits from two of my other brothers and their families we have not seen in over a year. The seventeen cousins had so much fun this summer! This summer is special because I finally feel a sense of peace.

Teresa Cabrera says …

My most memorable summer was the carefree summer of 1992 when I didn't have a job (and didn't care!) and my best friend and I lived together as two crazy young girls who lived by the seat of our pants!

Carol W. says …

My most memorable summer was when I spent a month in France with the man who is now my husband.

Dawn Berger says …

My most memorable summer was last this summer when we surprised our kids with a trip to the nick hotel in florida..and when we opened the door to the hotel and my 4 yr old started screaming when he realized he was sleeping in a spongebob room..And he told us we were the best parents in teh world...i should have got that on tape..lol

Jennifer says …

The summer between high school and college. The excitement of new beginnings...

Elizabeth says …

My most memorable summer wat when I met my husband. We had fun summer and then he took me to Bermuda!

Pushpa S. Vij says …

My most memorable summer was this year. I started volunteering for MEALS ON WHEELS. Oh I can not began to tell me how happy and useful I feel after distributing hot meals and cold package to the needy. Olderly americans and some with limited capacity are so happy to get these meals.

Amy B says …

My parents, older sister, and I went to Nevada and Arizona on a "working vacation" for my Dad. My sister and I went on an 8 hour horseback trail ride in the Arizona sun. The scenery was beyond compare, as was the dip in a spring-fed pool in the Verde Valley, an oasis from the desert sun! Almost 20 years later my sister and I still have the gauzy shirts we wore that day as cover-ups to protect our fair skin from the sun...and we also have memories that will last a lifetime!

Daphne says …

Summer, my the most memorable one, was way back in 1981. My classroom view was the library; which had great stuff, from what I could see. I wandered over right after school to check out something really cool. And I must confess, I gotta' say— I haven't returned it, to this day! It was the librarian who caught my eye, (such a handsome and friendly guy) I checked him out—forever— So my dears: that's who I've been married to these past 29 years!

nancy bave says …

Each year...whether the summer was cold,hot, summer or rainy, my sister in law took the "kids"( my husband & I had three as did several of the other relatives) to the sister/aunt who lived down the road from the Woodstock fair in Ct over the labor day weekend. My husband and I were ALONE at home (at least until Sunday nite)! Sometimes we had romantic interludes, sometimes bbq's with our friends,later we "babysat" with his mother. It was always a notable end to a summer be it a long,a short,a slow or fast one....and left us refreshed for NEXT!

Ron Arnett says …

My most memorable summer was back in 1998. I got laid off of my job and drove to Panama City Beach to stay for a week with a friend who lived on the beach. Another friend came down when I was about to leave and they gave me $40 - I stretched that $40 into a another 3 days at the beach!

Jennifer Kilgore says …

My most memorable summer was last summer. It was the first year I was introduced to mountaineering. I almost climbed to the top of Mt. Adams. Sleeping in a tent on a glacier and feeling like your on the top of the world. The best part is finding new thrills even when your over 30.

Heather says …

My most memorable summer to date was last summer. It was the in the summer that we brought our new baby home. We traveled across the country to get him and brought him home on my birthday. The trip was wonderful, emotional and it made us a family. I will never forget how exciting that summer was.

Aejin H says …

My most memorable summer was when I graduated high school!

Joann Dworak says …

My most memorable summer was the summer our daughter was old enough to travel without diapers, bottles, play pens, etc. I kept going over the checklist over & over feeling like I was missing something, but I wasn't! We had a carefree trip to California, and enjoyed ourselves in Disney and just watching her being such a grown up girl!

cj says …

Although the toughest summer, 2004 is certainly the most memorable summer in my lifetime. At 2 pm, forecasters pointed to landfall at the mouth of tampa bay...oops! Hurricane Charley turned at 3 pm, barreling down on Charlotte harbor. Too late for evacuation, we dragged lots of stuff inside and monitored the storm's approach with mounting dread. A narrow landfall, only 12 miles wide, and we sat in the eye of the storm. After 45 minutes of sheer terror, neighbors gathered in the road. Everyone ok...yippee! We toasted our good fortune with a bottle of Moet Then the hard work began, clearing the lost trees and mangled pool cages. The first night's food was a potluck of everything spoilable, lobster tails,fettucine alfredo, steak and lots of ice cream. Each day forward was a challenge, with a huge thank you to Home Depot, delivering thousands of generators and chainsaws before dawn. FEMA came thru with bottled water and bags of food. Neighbors tackled each yard until most of the mess landed curbside. Creativity sparked some memorable recipes like rice pudding with dates and almonds yup...FEMA food. Friday the thirteenth, a day and a summer I won't forget

Caroline says …

Oddly enough it was this summer and more specifically earlier this month. After not having been on a proper holiday/vacation with my kids since the untimely death of my partner exactly two years ago to this month, I splurged and took my boys on a short visit to Niagara Falls, ON. We had a blast walking, sightseeing, doing Maid of the Mist, etc... It was just the three of us and our first holiday proper since over four years ago. I just hope my boys (11 and 13) will remember it as adults.

Bristol says …

This Summer for sure, I had a combinatiom of good and bad. My brother who was closet to me passed away. My Daughter graduated from High School. My friends were totally amazing. They made me realize what I already knew about friends being there. When I say they showed up.. I mean it, they were my rock. So we celebrated our kids and for sure those awesome burgers with blue cheeese were at all of our cook outs.

Candace Berk says …

My favorite summer (that I can write about) is this current one. My husband got involved in the garden and organic "movement". He spent many hours creating a large garden in our backyard full of delicious vegetables. Over the past few months, we have enjoyed spending time watching my children learn about planting. Our family has been enjoying beautiful fruit. As a result of gardening, they have grown to like many vegetables, especially home grown tomatoes. I am grateful that they are starting to understand healthy eating.

stacy shultz says …

Love..spending the 1st Summer w/ my ONe Yr old...boy.. & 2 other Boys...!! had lots of Staycations at HOme...!!!

Patty Clark says …

My most amazing summer was back in 1973. I spent the summer hitching around Europe, starting in Holland and coming home from Italy. Several people had said that they wanted to go with me, but when push came to shove, they backed out and I went by myself! I had never flown on a plane, spoke only English, and had no idea about how to exchange money...but once I got there I met a nice person to hitch with and had a ball!

Emme says …

This summer was pretty spectacular. Our family went to camp for a week and we all had a blast and I didn't have to cook. We recently went to the Boardwalk and it was amazing to see how brave our little ones have become and how old we are. We had to chaperone the kids on many rides since they aren't tall enough to ride alone and I got sick, how embarrassing! It's been a great summer though.

LOIS JASON says …

I met my husband the summer of 1959. I was sitting on a curb, outside a bar on Fire Island, NY. We talked and promised to meet the next day. That was a Saturday night. We became engaged that Tuesday and were married that December. OUR most memorable summer. We celebrated our 50th anniversary this past December.

helen j hoang says …

we spent the greatest summer time at the highland , surrounded w/ coffee plants, the weather was cool, the morning we spent at beach, ate the special lunch frm highlander included deer meat & duck & special fruits can't find anywhere

Linda Davis says …

My most memorable summer was the year I graduated from high school. My Mother owned a little Mom & Pop Grocery Store. I always worked and helped her in the store and in the living quarters. We also had chickens and a garden. That summer she went on her first trip to Calif. with her sister and brother-inb-law. She turned over the store and garden to me to take care of while she was away. What a lot of work and responsibility for a 17 year old. I did really well. I made dill pickles in gallon jars, froze lots of corn on the cob. Nothing went to waste and I kept the business just the way she wanted. I felt so grown-up. One other thing. They were ready to leave on their trip, their luggage was loaded and the car was running when I picked up the mail. I received my acceptance letter for collage that day. Hooray!

Gina Howren says …

My most memorable summer was the year I was 8 years old & FINALLY was able to take swimming lessons! I have a life-long history of ear trouble and I always had tubes in my ears, which meant I couldn't get my head wet. I grew up in Charleston, SC; my house only about 10 minutes from Folly Beach. I was quite adept at "jumping the waves" to avoid getting my ears wet and I greatly enjoyed the beach (still do!); but nothing compared to that first summer when I could really swim, not just sit on the steps of the pool. A lifetime of enjoying being IN the water began that summer.

Jessi says …

My most memorable summer thus far has been in 2010. I have been blessed to spend time with family in Tampa, FL, celebrate my 7-year anniversary with my wonderful husband in Virginia Wine Country, enjoying the beautiful outdoors, and God willing the end of the summer will be crowned with a trip to San Francisco and Hawaii. Now that's what I call AWESOME!

kelly barr says …

My most memorable summer was spent at my Grandfather's farm. Being a city-bred girl, it was absolutely fascinating to witness everything from the birth of a cow to the laying and collecting of the chicken's eggs. That summer taught me what nature and true happiness is all about. I wish more people could take stock of their lives over a home-grown breakfast, after a good day's work being done even before the rooster crows.

Heather St. Marie says …

The summer after I graduated from high school, my best friend and I spent 3 months at her family's camp in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Each day, we caught our meals - fish, crabs, shrimp - while enjoying the sun, sand, and water. Now, because of land erosion and the recent oil spill, enjoying a summer like that is long past. But I'll always have my memories of "living off the land."

kim says …

One of my most memorable summers would be when my youngest sister was born. My Mom has just remarried and we moved to FL and my sister was born, all within a years time. On weekends, my newly expanded family, including me & my 2 sisters and brother from my Mom's 1st marriage, my youngest sister via my StepDad and then 2 new StepBrothers and an adopted StepSister, would get ready for a 'Day @ The Beach!' We'd pile the stationwagon full of kids and then squeeze in the cooler, the grill, bags of food; and then we'd tie the surfboard to the top of the car and off we'd go! It was an early rise so we'd get to the beach before the crowds came in order to make camp for our huge brood! Dad would scout the shore and dunes for driftwood to make a tent for my baby sister first. Next would be spreading out blankets and setting up the food & beverage area. We'd make at least 2 meals in between the mandatory surf lessons, sunbathing, sandcastle building and reading. A love of books was instilled at an early age and the beach was a great place to do some reading.When the sun would set, we'd make sa'mores and then start the process in revers for the trip home: break down our 'camp', load up the surfboard, pack the grill and ice chest and then us kids would scramble for our fave seat for the ride home. Shared showers were the norm, with the girls usually getting first dibs! And if you had forgotten your sunscreen and managed to get burned, Dad insisted on treating your burn with vinegar: Someone was always getting the vinegar treatment! And so our summer day at the beach, full of odiferous memories of salt air and Coppertone, hot dogs & burgers sizzling on the grill, marshmallows toasting, would end with the pungent aroma of vinegar...which signaled the end of an awesome day of family fun in the sun. A whiff of vinegar still brings back memories of my baby sis at the beach with us for the very first time.

Dee says …

I remember one summer, I was about 6, when I was trying to teach myself to swim in our family pool. I wanted to teach myself as opposed to the old school way my father taught my siblings; by throwing them into the pool. As I tiptoed my way around the edge of the pool hanging on with my fingertips, I didn't realize just how strong the suction was on the filter and felt a strong pull near my belly button. I was being suctioned against the pool! After some screaming, I was pulled out by my older sister, who fell in trying to pull me out. I ended up having a giant circle, the equivalent of a "hickey" on my stomach for a few days. It's a story my family loves to re-tell over and over, especially to prospective suitors when I was in my teens.

Jacqueline McGann says …

My most memorable summer was 1997 the summer my granddaughter was born! I was there to witness her birth, cut the cord and held her while the doctor tended to her mother. What a wonderful experience that was!

stephanie-deliberately creative says …

Oh gosh! The most memorable summer? I was 16 working at a Summer camp having a great time. I went to bed one night just fine and woke the next morning covered in spots! Apparently, one of our campers 2 weeks before came down with chicken pox and they didn't let us know. I was the only one who caught them from him. I got lots of great cards from the current campers to get well soon and was able to finsh out the summer 2 weeks later.

Nikki says …

My most memorable summer was the summer between first and second grade where I spent most of my time in Cape May, down the Jersey Shore, at my grandparents house. I thought Cape May was magical, and staying with my grandparents house with my brother and 2 sisters was always a treat! Now, with children of my own, I look forward to having them recreate memories of "down the shore" summers!

Carolyn White says …

My most memorable summer was the summer my family and I went to Disney World as a trip for our 11 year old daughter and my husband and I drove from Orlando to go to Cape Caniveral to catch a boat going to the Bahamas. Everyone got what they wanted for their vacation and enjoyed it all.

Tamara says …

This has been my most memorable summer. I am approching 40 my kids are getting older, my youngest was at summer camp most of the summer so I had to do something to keep my self busy. I am a personal trainer and fitness instructor, so needless to say nutrition has always been a priority of mine. That being said, in January of this year I was diagnosed with celiac disease...turned my life upside down! Although eating "clean" before hand helped somewhat, all of the whole grains, low calorie, low fat, ect. was out the window and forget about anything with wheat! Which brought me to a new way to shop organic and whole food stores, it was not up to me anymore, or my wallet. That some how dictated my summer plans, with a girlfriend in hand we traveled our nearest coast in search of whole food stores such as Trader Joe's, Whole foods, and fresh market on on way to beaches, of course. At this stage, the best of both worlds with two women with no kids at the moment! Now it is the end of August, wishing I could hope over to Trader Joe's again like it was up the street not two and a half hours away but to my surprise and delight a Fresh market has just opened 15 minutes away.....Thank you!

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