Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summertime, summertime

My post yesterday got me thinking of the summers of my childhood. Add that to a recent comment on a local newspaper blog about what it was like when my generation were kids and Kristi Gold's aforementioned memory on her website, and today's topic was born.

The world has changed since we Baby Boomers were kids. We had pretty much the run of the neighborhood, my childhood friends and I. That neighborhood encompassed our block, including both sides of the street. As we grew a little older, it included the block behind, but we used that mostly for riding bicycles, because the street there ended in a circular deadend. We spent a lot of time on our bikes, racing, riding with no hands, sometimes pretending they were our loyal steeds.

I became proficient at hopscotch and could beat everybody on the block. It took me some time, but I mastered jacks and the multiple ways to play them. I had a pair of stilts and could walk up and down the porch steps on them. And I loved my roller skates! My favorite make-believe with them was to be a girl who lived in the frozen north, and they were my skis. I even had sticks, at times, for my ski poles and raced down the long driveway that sloped to the street. We played with cars and trucks in the dirt around a huge old tree and carved out towns and roads. And we learned to hang from our knees like circus performers, from the top bar of our swingless swingsets.

As long as our parents knew who we were with, they were happy. As long as we kept within the boundaries of the neighborhood, everything was okay. As long as we came home before dark, they weren't concerned. Our world was safe. We were happy. And at night, we fell into our beds, exhausted but smiling.

There were no Nintendos or X-Boxes. We'd never heard of a computer. We had board games, like Monopoly, Go To the Head of the Class, and Life, but they were saved for rainy, indoor days or winter. We watched old Shirley Temple movies on our black and white TVs when the afternoons were too hot to bear in our non-air conditioned homes. A few times each summer, we'd walk to the neighborhood pool, but it was crowded and noisy and filled with kids we didn't know. We read books and I wrote plays.

I hope some of my memories bring back happy memories for you.

No comments: