The beginning of spring is my favorite time of year. I find myself dreaming about the summer days approaching, and reflecting on the summer days of my childhood.
It was the 1970’s when I was a child growing up in New England. As a kid who hated school, summer meant no teachers, no homework, and not being stuck inside all day at a desk. It was a time to play all day with the kids in the neighborhood, being allowed to stay up until nine o’clock because it wasn’t a school night, and getting ice cream at the local Carvel with rainbow sprinkles.
Summer vacation was an outside day- every day. Rain or shine, waking up by seven o’clock was no problem. No alarm clock was needed. My sister and I shared a room, and I was usually the one waking her up. Our responsibility of making our beds was quickly done- although the Holly Hobbie bedspread was usually a bit crooked most of the time. Shorts, t-shirt and hair in two pony tails- I was prepared for the day.
I don’t know how, but my mother was always up before us. A load of laundry would already be hanging from the clothesline, and dad would be getting ready for work. Cereal, toast and juice were the usual during the week. My favorites were Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, and Rice Krispies with lots of sugar. I find it interesting how these cereals bring frowns to many today. Although, I can tell you, I was never once disobedient in school, attempted to be labeled with ADHD, and don’t have any cavities. Maybe it’s because I was allowed to play…and always brushed my teeth twice a day.
Playing never required parental guidance, a scheduled summer camp, or a list of rules. Anyone who wanted to play in the neighborhood joined in. If you didn’t want to play, you found something else to do. There was no crying, no parents complaining why their child wasn’t included, and if you didn’t play fair- you were called out on it by the other kids, and dealt with the consequences.
I remember playing lawn darts (the real lawn darts), kickball, making bike ramps, cops & robbers with cap guns, basketball, and building forts from the television boxes my father would bring home. Every so often, I would appease my sister and play school in the little white playhouse my father built us. Of course, we had the latest technology to play with- the owl calculator!
Rainy days meant more inside than outside, but still plenty of choices. My sister and I had the Donny & Marie dolls, with the stage! The water games- like ring toss, were always mesmerizing. And, let’s not forget shrinky dinks or the view master. I coveted my sticker collection, and always begged my mother to buy me the more expensive, but ever so cool, puffy stickers.
Looking back, most of the games we played never required electricity or sitting in front of a screen. They did require collaboration, imagination, physical activity, and the ability to compromise. It’s interesting how most of these qualities are what parents worry about their children not having today?
I am fortunate enough as an adult to still have a long summer vacation. Yes, the kid who hated school became a school teacher. However, I will still daydream from the first day of spring until the last school bell rings in June, of a summer vacation where there are no requests for teacher meetings, I won’t have any homework, and I don’t have to sit at a desk.
Linda Massucci writes family sagas with a constant theme of the importance of family, faith and values. She also dabbles in short stories, educational literature, travel journalism and photography. Linda has just completed the sequel to her 2015 novel, ‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’. The sequel is called ‘Mama’s Bookends’ and continues the story of Elizabeth Manciano, a young lady who realizes that family & faith are the most important things in life from her wise & charismatic Grandpa Frank. Linda Massucci writes a monthly blog about her dog, Maggie- the smartest dog in the world. She also blogs about her travels across America and the importance of family. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please visit her website at www.lindamassucci.wordpress.com to find her social media links or purchase her writings.