Whatever Happened to Summer?

The year was 1955, it was just before sunrise, I went outside to play under the Chinese Elm tree my dad had planted for a shade in our front yard. No one else in the house was awake so I decided that playing under the elm tree was just what I should do. The roots were close to the top of the ground so that with a spoon out of mom’s kitchen would work like a miniature shovel to make tunnels and roads for my cars. Television wasn’t popular yet and even if it was, the test pattern was on until 7:00 a.m. so I just spent the morning by myself having a good time. I took twigs and placed them over the holes and then piled a little dirt on top of the twigs and drove my cars over and under the roads I had built. Dad wasn’t upset over the holes or bridges, he and mom raised kids not grass. The time seems far removed today….indeed it is. Today children are kept in because it is too hot outside {is it really hotter now than then?} boy, can I remember laying on the bed in front of a window screen with sweat crawling down my face and neck and then feeling that wonderful breeze cool the sweat! Whoo! boy! what a rush! No I don’t think it is any hotter today, we just can’t take it like we did back then. Well, back to that morning. I stayed outside until the sun was baking me and went inside to watch mom make breakfast. I remember laying on the floor and looking under the Serville refrigerator we had. That pilot light was always lit and then when the fire would come on under the refrigerator I couldn’t believe my eyes! That heat would somehow make the inside of the refrigerator cold! I knew right then I would never understand things like that. Later that morning Lynn, my brother (five years older) and I would go outside with our kites we had made from sticks, newspaper and homemade paste made by adding water to flour. They didn’t fly too good, but it beat nothing all to pieces! I don’t remember all of that particular day’s activities, but a typical day would find us down at Blackie’s {a wooded area that was occupied by a man who rode an old sorrel horse whom everyone called Blackie} where we would shoot our BB Guns and play cowboy and Indian. We had an old Mulberry tree down there where we would climb up into and eat mulberries until the juice ran off of our elbows and onto our stomachs. Someone told us the berries were full of worms, but that didn’t bother us any, they were too good to worry about. The Core kids would sometimes join with us, but that wasn’t necessary.
The Trawick’s lived just two doors down from us. Mr. Trawick drove a truck for a living, and when it was watermelon season, he always had extra melons he would give to the neighborhood kids…..man were they good! I can remember coming home and mom hosing us down before she would let us come in. I don’t believe anyone knew how to get any dirtier and enjoy it any more. Lots of summer days found us across the street on an empty lot playing baseball. Someone would bring a bat, another would bring a ball, and a few lucky ones had a mitt. There were some fights alright, but lots of fun. We didn’t change our clocks back then to get an extra hour in the evening, we just ignored the sun. When the sun went down we gathered to play Blackman where we would have two bases and one person in the middle. We would run back and forth until everyone was tackled and hit on the back…One Two Three…Blackman then it would be down to the toughest kid on the block. He couldn’t continue to make it, then all of us little guys would get to hit him on the back three times! Man that was great! Kick the can was another fun game for the evening where we would play a game of enhanced hide and seek. I really don’t know what time mom and dad made us come in, and I do mean made us come in. I didn’t want the day to end, but every day does eventually come to an end……
These days are much different than those. I am thankful I was born and raised in those simple times. They cannot be recaptured, but should stand as some sort of template for raising children.
Bro. Wayne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *