Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fond Memories of Childhood Summers

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, for no particular reason.  We pulled an old kiddie wading pool down from the eaves of our garage to give to the family up the block for their one year old little girl, and maybe that opened the floodgates to memories from my summers so long ago.

My husband/lover/best friend and I sat and reminisced, and here are some of our happy and precious memories :

1.  Playing hopscotch with my neighborhood girlfriends with a real shoe heel for a marker.  

2.  Playing outside till after dark.

3.  Playing jacks on the porch with the girls.  We each had our own set.  
4.  Skimming a bicycle rim down the street and watching the sparks fly.

5.  Making miniature cliff dwellings in the side of a bank of dirt.

6.  Spending all afternoon at the community pool with friends.  (And then setting my watch back so I wouldn't get in trouble for being late to dinner.)

7.  Digging dirt out of the creek to make "pottery."

8.  Arts and crafts at the local playground.

9.  Bible School at the END of the summer, NOT right after public school ended.  The snacks were the best part.

10.  Draping a blanket over the picnic table, and camping out in our "tent" overnight.

11.  Swinging so high the whole swing set would "jump."

12.  Catching fireflies and putting them in jars.  Later smearing them on our earlobes to have lit-up earrings.

13.  Neighborhood "double dutch"  rope jumping.
14.  Selling Girl Scout cookies, without a grownup along.

15.  Cool-aid stands for 5 cents a cup.

16.  Rollerskating with the key on a necklace.

17.  Weaving plastic lanyards.

18.  Taking our collection of nets and buckets down to the creek to catch and bring home wildlife.

19.  Decorating the bicycle with red, white, and blue crepe paper for the 4th of July parade.

20.  The almost annual family vacation to the New Jersey beach.

21.  Going along with mom to the market on Friday and buying meats AND CANDY.

22.  "Painting" the sidewalk with a bucket of water and a paint brush.

23.  Walking a half mile to a tiny neighborhood store to buy 25 cents worth of penny candy, and eating most of it on the way home.

24.  Watching Jackie Gleason every Saturday night after bath time.

25.  Saturday afternoon at the matinee movies with Dad - Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, and the Three Stooges.  Giggling.  A lot.

Those summers were long days full of fun, friends, and never ending adventures.  What fond memories do you have of your summers?  Please write and let us enjoy some of yours!  


  1. I forgot about painting the sidewalk with water down at grandma and happys!! I remember catching creyfish with bruce in the creek, climbing the big tree in the backyard with maura panell to "escape" our younger sisters, the lewisburg pool of course, camping in the tent in the backyard which then moved into the screened in porch half way thru the night. And strangely, I vividly remember a specific night gown that had little purple elephants on it. I would wear it during the summer and my bed would be right by the window and I remember having a total sense of satisfaction and happiness waking up in the summer hearing the birds chirp in the morning and knowing...I DID'NT HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL!! Oh yea, and I remember walking down on the river path with maura panell to the little dam with our fishing poles made of string and sticks. (never caught anything though) Rachel

  2. Sad how times have changed though. I would not let my kids walk on the river path alone now for fear of a creepoid taking them. Also sleeping in the yard without an adult would not happen. But, I just may let them have a lemonade stand this week. They would love that :)

  3. Spending entire days on the beach at the NJ Shore (Cape May Courthouse). No sunscreen--in those days, we thought you had to get one good burn out of the way and then you were set for the summer. Lunch was a soft pretzel OR an ice cream cone (NOT both) from a nearby shop, which we kids could walk to by ourselves as long as we didn't go alone. Floating on a blow-up raft in the ocean just beyond the breakers so you bobbed but didn't get crashed on. Body surfing waves into the shore 'til your belly hit the sand. Digging huge holes in the sand then burying each other in them (this may account for my claustrophobia!) At the campground, playing tetherball for hours, taking on whatever kids came by. Riding our bike--with high handlebars and banana seat behind the bug truck so we would be bug-free for the rest of the night. Going "crabbing" in the bay with our crab traps. Being able to leave the house in the morning for a day's adventures with the only instructions being "behave yourself" and "dinner's at 5." Let the record show that all of this took place in 1960s New Jersey!

  4. Yes, I remember some of those things. My memories include sitting on a hand crank ice cream freezer while my father turned the handle to make wonderful homemade ice cream. Then there were doodle bugs under my tree swing. When I went out to play each morning I would catch me a horned toad to play with until noon when mother made me come in the house to stay until after 4 p.m. The next day I'd catch another one. You seldom see horned toads anymore. Those days were in Texas.

  5. You just named about all of my favorite summer time activities. I can't believe you wrote #5 - about the cliff dwellings. I had a Fisher Price Circus Train with plastic animals - an elephant, lion, monkey and giraffe and I would dig and plan and put sticks, rocks and leaves to make them their own jungle in the vacant lot down the street.

    When we moved into our neighborhood [40 years ago] it was BRAND NEW and we were number 21 of what was one day going to be 1,000 homes and townhomes. Our neighborhood was under a constant state of construction for a few years and we used to go to the construction dumpsters and take scrap wood and nails and make forts in the woods surrounding our neighborhood. Plus we had an actual "crick" [creek].

    We never went on a summer vacation that cost money. We would go to upstate NY to visit my cousins [twice the fun as Disney Land] and while the parents drank and relaxed the 7 of us would get into all kinds of "trouble" - very mild hi jinx I can assure you.

    My Mom got me swimming lessons when I was 5 years old so I could pass the test to go to the community pool by myself. I did and I spent everyday from 11 -6 at the pool, every summer for years. I was on the swim team from 5 years old all the way through college. Such nice memories. :)