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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summertime Memories

This week Mama Kat asked us to make a list of the top ten things we loved about summer when we were growing up. This one was easy for me because I have always loved summer.  I'm forever trying to talk my boys into getting off their electronics and going outside more in the summer and usually I get, "It's too hot! And besides, there's nothing to do out there!"  Ugh.  

"It was just as hot when I was a kid in the South!" I remind them.  And then I go into this long, old lady lecture about how we didn't have five hundred and seventy nine channels on the t.v., cell phones, XBoxes, iPods, computers and the worldwide web at our fingertips 24-7.  No sirree.  We had to make our own fun.  Outside! And by gosh, we loved it!  

And it never works. Though they do occasionally wander outside on their own before coming back inside to complain about the heat and the boredom. 

It's just that, looking back, my most memorable, fond moments of Summertime are all about simple things and times had outside in the open air, sunshine and undeniable southern humidity and I sometimes feel that they are missing out on those things.

Oh sure, we spent our fair share of time inside on the Atari playing Pac-Man, in the floor playing Monopoly and Life, and on the phone telling Mr. So and So to go and catch his running refrigerator before it got away (Caller ID...what a buzz kill) and even watching The Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, Looney Tunes and old reruns of I Love Lucy, Bewitched and Gilligan's Island on our televisions but the very best times were always had outside.  

And you can bet that if I was engaging in one of the following activities, I was happy, from the inside out...

1. Playing with the water hose, slip n' slide or in the kiddie pool in the backyard.  Getting the opportunity to actually go swimming in a pool, lake, creek or ocean was a rare treat and one that was never, ever turned down. But that old faithful water hose was better than nothing and it was always there to get us through the hottest of summer days.     
2. Catching lightning bugs aka fireflies at dusk. Although we poked holes in the jar lid before setting them in our rooms at night, they always died and I always felt such deep guilt so eventually, I stopped putting them in jars...just caught them and let them go.  
That's me, the little one in the dress, with my cousin, older brother and grandmother, Ollie Mae
3. Swinging on the swings or monkey bars, riding my Big Wheel down the driveway or bike around the neighborhood.  I only recall ever having two bikes in my childhood.  The first was a little red bike with training wheels that were eventually removed and then one year for Christmas I received my big yellow bike with the white seat and basket on the front that I sometimes rode our little dog, Charmagne, around in.  There was no better feeling in the world than riding that yellow bike down the big hill with my hair in the wind and my best friend by my side on her bike with her,  Yes, I said duck. A boy duck named Lily.  
4. Watching the fireworks down by the river levee on the Fourth of July. It just doesn't get any more American than that.  
Posing with the Pinto...Gotta love it!
5. Going to Six Flags. I grew up about 70 miles from Atlanta and no summer was ever complete without at least one trip to Six Flags Over Georgia.  The Scream Machine and The Mindbender were my all-time favorite roller coasters.  
That's me, front and center, sportin' the dork uniform and bad perm at Six Flags Over Georgia circa 1980 something.  But never mind me, check out Clark Griswold in the background, stylin' and profilin'  in those hawt short shorts and tube socks. How did I never notice him before now and where the hell were Stacy and Clinton back then? Because clearly, we were all in need of their services.
6. Eating watermelon on the picnic table. There was no better treat in summertime than biting into a juicy red slice of fresh watermelon and just getting all sticky with it as the juice ran down your arms. But swallowing a seed would fill me with overwhelming worry every time, until I got old enough to realize that swallowing a seed was not going to grow a watermelon vine out of my rear end or belly button!  

7. Playing neighborhood softball, Red Rover, Truth or Dare, and Ghost in the Graveyard, which I broke my collarbone playing when I was fourteen.  That was my last summer in Georgia and though I've never given it much thought, my last summer of childhood (late bloomer). That was also my first and so far, only, (knock-knock-knock on wood) time being treated in the ER.  Wish I could say the same for my youngest child!
8. Camping out under the stars in the backyard. You couldn't pay me to sleep out there with no shelter now but I was all about it as a kid.  I think we once slept on lounge chairs and carried every stuffed animal I owned out there with us. We were girly girl tomboys, I guess. 
9. Eating Popsicles, of any kind, but especially homemade ones or as we called them at my babysitter Mrs. White's house, Pop ups, which is what we also called Pop-Tarts.  I have no idea why. I mean the Pop-Tarts made since because they "popped up" out of the toaster but I never knew why we called the Popsicles that too.  Hmm...

10. Going barefoot.  I'm still barefoot in the house pretty much year round but when I was a kid I went around barefoot all the time in the summer, even outside. Unless shoes were required I wasn't going to put them on. Which is kinda funny since I am now a major shoe addict.  
Myrtle Beach, 1979. That's me rockin' the kickass Wonder Woman suit

So what about you? What did you love most about summer when you were growing up?

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  1. This pic pretty much sums it up I think :)

    Honestly, this general subject is one of the few things that makes me think I was born too early (instead of too late).

    I'd have killed to have the entertainment options that the youth of today have, evidenced by many of my fondest memories of summer being full days spent in my room surrounded by my baseball cards and the games I conjured around them, with TV providing the background noise/soundtrack.

  2. We spent countless summers on the cape. My great aunt and uncle owned a hotel chain and we'd spend summers hoping from unrented cottage to cottage from week to week with all my cousins. Looking back, we had no idea how lucky we were. My mom tried to recreate this vacation experience for two weeks last year and had to be put on a wait list for the cottages. Not to mention, it would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of 15K.

    OH.... and barefoot, all summer. Through the woods, swimming in the pond, to the corner store for ice cream. Nothing better. :)

    I still hate shoes.

  3. Just found your blog and I loved this entry. You totally hit on what I loved about summer as a child. I actually think I had that wonder woman bathing suit. I loved all the pics!!

  4. Talk about flooding my mind with warm memories! Love seeing those old pictures! We sure had it made back in "those dsys", didn't we? Kids have no idea how great life was then. I remember telling my mom goodbye and hopping on my bicycle and riding for HOURS! Lord only knows how far away from home I traveled, but I was just going wherever my imagination took me. I don't recall her telling me to be wary of strangers or anything of the such. Just seems that the threat of being harmed wasn't a real issue like it is today. Oh, what I'd give to go back to those days! I miss them!

  5. I loved how mornings felt in summer. The minute school started, it changed to something else.

  6. I love to catch lighting bugs and loved being outside all day long. I hardly ever see any kids out in my neighborhood these days. Its sad.

  7. Reading your list makes me wish I'd done this prompt!

    The Duck! OMG The Duck! That is hysterical!

    We used to go out on our boat on the river for the fireworks. We'd drop anchor and tie up with friends and hop from boat to boat. When we watch them on land now, I always feel like my kids are missing out.

    And homemade popsicles! My mom has the Tupperware popsicle tubs and always made Pudding Pops!

  8. Summer - just loved it. Reading all summer long, or swimming, up late, fireflies, breezes, camp fires, picnics under trees. Awww... Out in the open and free.

  9. I loved this post! It brought back a lot of fond summer memories of my own. Popsicles, lightning bugs (even though I was terrified of them as a child), Six Flags... I grew up in Chicago, so we had a Six Flags up there. I live in Chattanooga, TN now so we've been to Six Flags Over Georgia several times!

    Stopped by from Mama Kat's - thanks for the comment on my post :)

  10. Amen!! What a great list. I feel the same way about my kids and I'm constantly kicking them out of the house despite the heat. There is nothing better than the freedom of the outdoors as a kid! You brought be back to a lot of great memories of my own childhood.

  11. This was so much fun to read!
    How cool that you have so many pictures of your childhood! As you noticed, most of mine were from my "infancy"!!
    BTW, do you usually link up to Mama Kat's? She hasn't posted the linky yet... hope everything's okay with her.

  12. We grew up without AC so outside was usually the best place to be.

    My time was spent with my best bud in the woods by the creek catching crawdads and minnows. I also spent alot of time in the mountains with my cousin. It was so much cooler there. But prolly the best time was fishing on Lake Lure with my grandma.

    Loved the pics. Yea Kids are missing out.

  13. Number 7 reminds me of playing kick the can. We never lived in a neighborhood with kids, but all the kids at church would rush out to the field next to the parking lot right after church on Sunday and Wednesday nights and hope that our parents wouldn't be ready to go home for a while!

    Fun list!

  14. Hey you stole my swimsuit!And seriously, kids are totally missing out when it comes to those big wheels. I have fond memories of them as well.

  15. Love your list, and love your pictures! Coming form a country that doesn't have fireflies, I'm especially intrigues and can't wait to go somewhere that has them so I can finally see them.

  16. Wish I had so many great pics for mine. I was lucky to hunt up one on-line. Nice job

  17. We clearly lived the same childhood! I wish kids today could know childhood like we did, Diane!!!

    I also played kick the can,freeze tag, and Spud out in the yard after dinner. We had so many kids in my neighborhood. It was the best!

  18. I grew up (and still live) in Georgia, too. I love the smell of summer and playing outside until the sky turned dark. I love the heat lightning and riding bikes with all the neighborhood kids in the cul-de-sac. And I'm with you on the lightning bugs, and I'm sad to say, for some strange reason, I don't see that many at night anymore.

  19. I know this is an old post, but I just saw it and I have to tell you that your posts almost always make me truly laugh out loud. Love the Clark Griswald picture. My husband and I ended up at Six Flags over Georgia while we were on our Honeymoon almost 20 years ago (crazy).I remember a red "ninja" like roller coaster. And I think it is a shame that my kids don't like to catch lightning bugs. : )