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Old 06-14-2013, 03:03 PM   #1
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Summer as a child

With summer upon us (sorry Kylie, but you can play along too) I was wondering what you all did as kids during your summer vacations.

Did you do something to earn some cash for a treat or did you go on a trip somewhere or did you hang around the house?

What was your summer like?
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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Well, there was the neighborhood baseball games... and kick the can until the streetlights came on. And I hung out a lot in the fruit trees of one neighbor kid. I remember being able to climb directly from an apple to a plum tree. The elementary school also had some kind of summer thing going where the neighborhood kids would walk to or get dropped off and we'd do stuff. I guess it was pretty much ran like a camp where you didn't sleep over. Games, crafts, that sort of stuff. And dirt bomb fights. A couple brothers' father had a huge garden so we would hide behind the furrows and throw dirt clods at each other. Fun stuff
And several weeks out of the summer I was at a camp, but not "in" camp. My aunt ran the kitchen at a camp, so I stayed with her in her cabin, but hung out with the campers during the day and also the dishwashers, who were quite a bit older (teenagers I guess). Canoeing, fishing, the beach, that kind of stuff.
I didn't have any summer jobs when I was that young. When I was 12-13 or so was when I started working almost every day in my father's shop. It wasn't until I was 14 that I started getting paid though
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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I grew up in the residential areas of cities close in to Boston. We lived in rented apartments in two-family homes. Once school was out for the summer, you were on your own. Mom worked at home. After breakfast, we kids would gather for various activities. We played baseball, street hockey, kick the can, rode our bikes everywhere, and just hung out. We occasionally got to take a couple of buses to get to the muni pool and splash around for an afternoon. We had TV (cool 9" black and white TVs) but rarely watched during the day.

There was a brief pause for lunch at someone's house then off to play again. We lived for the ice cream trucks to come around. Hearing that bell and music would send us running. It didn't cost much to get a popsicle, 'chocolate covered' or creamsicle. My only responsibility was to be home at dinnertime, or else. In the summer I was allowed out until it got dark. If I screwed up Dad had big hands that hurt my butt. I was good for a while after.

On the weekends Mom and Dad would pile us into the car and drive us to the beach. My Dad would sit on the blanket and play backgammon with his buddies. I'd hook up with a cousin and we'd be in the ocean or at the amusement park doing our thing. If I was lucky, Mom would let me go to Carl's Stand for a hot dog. That was a real treat. Carl's hot dogs were the best.

Dad died when I was 16 and we had to move in with relatives closer to the city. My activities changed. Hanging out with my buddies was harder but one had the use of a family car so we got together regularly. I worked part-time jobs in convenience stores, drug stores and where ever to make a buck.
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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The minute we got out of school, Dad hitched up the boat and trailer, and we made the long drive to Lake of the Woods in Canada, where we would rent a cabin on an island. I took swimming lessons, starting around age 4 I think, and later, starting at age 13, also taught swimming and did lifeguarding. Dad would commute, coming up on weekends, as he had his own business back in the states, and had to work. We would go fishing and have lots of parties and barbeques. Most activities were water-based. I had my "lake" friends and my "home" friends. Would come back home with great tans in August.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:25 PM   #5
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I spent my summers at the beach. We always brought our pails with us and dug for clams during low tide to bring home for supper. Since we live so close to the beach it was expected of all of us kids in the neighborhood to do this. If high tide was early in the day, I went roller skating with my best girlfriend. And we also during the war kept our eyes to the ground and collected the foil wrap in cigarettes for the war effort. If a storm came in, we would go down to the beach and collect the lobsters that had been washed up on the sand. And there were plenty. Sometimes I would have to interrupt my play and go help my mother. She would yell out the window for me. If I didn't hear her, there was always a mother that did and the word spread that my mother needed me. Worked better than the telephone. She had polio and it was difficult for her to do the stairs. I would run the errands for her. She used to wear a brace and one day it broke. She discoverd she could walk a lot better without it than with.

On rainy days I was in my room reading. Anything I could get at the library. Sometimes we even played out in the rain. A summer's afternoon shower. The only time we left the beach during a shower is if there was thunder. Then we would just go across the street and sit on someones steps until it passed.

Of course being a redhead, the first jaunt to the beach always ended with a sunburn. After that I would tan. Only one summer I ended up in the hospital. Blisters from head to toe and a lot of pain. I took more caution after that. Still do.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:55 PM   #6
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When I was young we still lived on my Grandmother's farm.

We were either exploring or helping with the house and garden.

My Grandmother cured boredom by putting us to work, we were seldom bored! We were mostly free to roam over the property, play in the barn, sheds, pond and stream. We were taught from a young age what to watch out for and we had the sense to take care of ourselves or at least keep our stupid moves quiet!

Many nights we would cook out, never barbeque, just cook supper outside on the stone fireplace and eat under the large maple trees on the lawn. When it got dark we chased fire flies, watched the stars, toasted marshmallows on a pointed stick or had ice cream in a cone. Then it was time for a bath and bed. I still miss the smell of sheets dried on the line in the sunshine and fresh air.

It was a time and place before helmets and stranger danger, a nice place to be a kid!
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:29 PM   #7
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“The days are not long enough” -- Calvin and Hobbes

My childhood was divided into different phases. We were packed off to the grandparents all summer when I was 8 9 10. Complete with our bikes and a swim suit. I suppose we had other clothes, besides a t shirt and pj’s. These summers were spent traveling in packs with neighborhood kids, to the pool, sand lot softball, playing hide and seek or cowboys and Indians and plenty of throwing neighbor’s apples from their trees at each other. Grandma was a gardener, so we helped her in the early mornings before it got hot out , do morning chores, like vacuum, hang laundry out, etc while she set her bread sponge to rise and often made cinnamon rolls and always, home made bread. In the late afternoon it was time to spring out from behind bushes and our forts hidden behind the lilacs and hollyhocks and greet Grampa when he got home from work. A daily surprise for him, like it was a new game everyday. I don’t recall much direct supervision. Grandma sat on the porch and knitted (aka napped) and there must have been some secret telegraphy between neighbors as she almost always knew where we were and what we were up to. Surprisingly we didn’t get into too much trouble. I recall the corner store limiting all us kids to two customers at a time and if we took too much time deciding on penny candy, the other kids would start harassing us to hurry up for their turn to buy.

Then as we were older kids, we helped around our parent’s farm. Gardening and weeding, doing chores, and as soon as my feet could reach the pedals, I learned to drive tractor. We had plenty of time to swim in our lake, go fishing, pelt our brothers/ each other with crab apples, accuracy learned at the grandparents, but with more muscle behind direct hits as we were older. Our dad took time out from farm stuff, and we did a lot of family fishing/ afternoons at the lake. We also had bonfires and cooked out almost every night. Summer suppers were often very late, so we sat around the fires and toasted marshmallows after dark. Since we had a farm, we seldom did travel vacations, so all the cousins came to see us on their vacations. It was a like a parade of visitors all summer. When I was in early HS, I was in band, so there were plenty of small town weekend parades and festivals to go to as well as evening practices. Plus we still rode our bikes to visit friends at farms nearby. I am surprised to think how all the crops got put in and harvested and all the stuff inbetween. I think my favorite farm work, if you will, was bailing hay. Cutting and raking alfalfa was one of the first things I learned to do driving tractor, and new mowed hay had a sweet fresh smell to it. When I was 16 we moved to the city.
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:35 PM   #8
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What a wonderful idea for a thread, Mrs. and thank you. What wonderful happy stories to read from all of the above.

I've bloomed where I was planted so many years ago, and would never want to live anywhere else, although I live ten miles inland now. In those days it was a sleepy little California beach town and we lived walking distance to the beach where we spent nearly every day in the summer body surfing near our pier. On a dare I swam around it when I was about 10 yrs old, and it was the longest wooden pier on the coast then. I felt like an instant celebrity (think Florence Chadwick) for those who remember her, with my friends cheering me on from the top of the pier.
My parents would rent a beach cabin between Ventura and Santa Barbara for part of the summer and my Dad would drive out from his business every night and on the weekends to spend with Mom and I. I had many happy slumber parties out there with my friends, since I was raised as an only child. Those stunning sunsets over the Pacific are imbedded in my memories of summer forever.
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:35 PM   #9
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I don't remember much about summer until I was about 6 or 7. At that point we lived in a very rural, poor farming community. My father, a physician, had been sent to the region as a condition of his payment for medical school.

One would expect that since we were the doctor's family we would be quite "comfortable." Perhaps, but not in today's standards. Many, quite a large portion, of Daddy's patients paid him in goods. Fresh eggs, fruit jams, country ham, beef, fresh fruits and vegetables in season, etc. In that way, we were richer than any king could want.

In view of this, Daddy was always on call, which meant that we didn't tarry far from home for what could be called a vacation. That certainly didn't prevent me or my siblings from entertaining ourselves. From the time we finished breakfast until the hour we crawled into bed we were busy playing in the yard, out in the woods, at the homes of our friends who lived withing walking distance of our house. There were no "mom's taxi" in those days, so we had to utilize the marrow bone express, our feet.

We created ink out of poke berries, followed creeks and creek beds to discover our own "new worlds." A peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a canteen of water was all we needed to survive an afternoon filled with adventures only our imaginations could conjure up.

I still cherish the memories of building complete towns within the heavy gnarly roots of the aged oaks in the property across from my house. I can still see those huge regal trees even though they've been long cut down.

Our "big" summer event was the two-day drive to visit my maternal grandparents who lived in northern Minnesota. Now, THAT was a different world. All pines, lakes, wild blueberries along fence rows, and the crude cabin on one of the 10,000 lakes.

You haven't learned, um, coexistence until you've traveled in an unair-conditioned car with 4 siblings and your parents for over 800 miles. There are no words to describe that experience. Yet, we always made it both ways without killing someone.

Our times at the lake were fun and all too short each time, even though most of those visits were at least 3 weeks long. My father didn't stay the full 3 weeks because he had to be around to care for his patients. He would deposit his family, stay a couple of days and return to retrieve us some while later. Those visits were such a blast and I still recall the "rush" I got when we topped a hill just at the entry to my grandparents' town and saw the lake that signaled the "we're almost there" point.

Summers remained pretty much as I just described through my elementary and high school years. The area continued to be depressed economically, still is, and our entertainment was home-grown in necessity. I never felt deprived and reflect on those times as some of the best in my life. They were, to me, the things childhood should be made of. We played until we were exhausted, used our imaginations, interacted with our family and friends and worked through whatever conflicts we encountered. No interventions were necessary, except the occasional parental one when things got a bit out of hand because of immaturity.

Loved it, wouldn't change it and would love for today's youth to experience this sort of freedom of fun.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
What a wonderful idea for a thread, Mrs. and thank you. What wonderful happy stories to read from all of the above.

I've bloomed where I was planted so many years ago, and would never want to live anywhere else, although I live ten miles inland now. In those days it was a sleepy little California beach town and we lived walking distance to the beach where we spent nearly every day in the summer body surfing near our pier. On a dare I swam around it when I was about 10 yrs old, and it was the longest wooden pier on the coast then. I felt like an instant celebrity (think Florence Chadwick) for those who remember her, with my friends cheering me on from the top of the pier.
My parents would rent a beach cabin between Ventura and Santa Barbara for part of the summer and my Dad would drive out from his business every night and on the weekends to spend with Mom and I. I had many happy slumber parties out there with my friends, since I was raised as an only child. Those stunning sunsets over the Pacific are imbedded in my memories of summer forever.
Here's a picture of our pier, although it was longer when I was a kid before storms tore off much of the length.

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