As I was driving on the interstate going to lunch one day recently, I found myself driving behind a small pickup truck with 3 children in the bed of the truck. Yes, I know this is illegal and I should have run them down and made my best Gomer Pyle "citizen's arrest" address, but they seemed so carefree, just enjoying the sun on their faces and the wind in their hair. Oh how I would have loved to be one of those children, riding down the road, not a care in the world. I began thinking back to my childhood, reflecting on how we spent our summers, and I found myself asking “whatever happened to the good old days?” Now to each person, the “good old days” represent something totally different, but to me, those days represent a life full of happiness, naiveté, anticipation and excitement.
When I was a child we spent our entire summer outdoors. We had no video games to play nor did we have 175 channels to watch on TV. We spent all of our time OUTSIDE – which is almost unheard of this day in time. We played 4-square, hide & seek, hopscotch, and Barbie. We baked pies on the mud table an older gentleman had built at his house across the street. We shucked corn, hulled peas and ate plums and peaches until we thought we would be sick. We had picnic lunches consisting of PB&J sandwiches and potato chips. We would swing on our swing sets and pretend we were touching the sky with our toes. We would roll down large grassy hills until we were itching all over. We endured the ever dreaded “tick search” when we came inside. We rode our bikes over the numerous dirt hills in our neighborhood and picked blackberries. We had lemonade stands…we drank it all of course. We ate muscadines and crab apples right off the tree. The only cleaning they received before we ate them was on our muddy shirts. We went swimming….alot! And on the days we couldn’t go swimming, we ran through the sprinkler. We put towels on our heads and pretended they were our bridal veils. And oh, the mosquito bites….we were covered in them, but we didn’t have to worry about West Nile Virus back then, we just scratched and went on our way. We could walk around the block, several times, with no fear of someone snatching us off the street. We were angry because we had to come inside at dark – we had so much more playing to do and were afraid we were going to miss it! I will never forget standing on the street in front of our house, money in hand, waiting on the Popsicle® man. We couldn’t hear our mothers call us in at dark, but we could hear his special music 3 streets over and knew he would soon be coming with pushups and bomb pops.
One of my fondest memories was anxiously awaiting the Weekly Reader to come in the mail…something addressed to me and me alone. It was a big deal for a child to receive something in the mail! There would be a really cool special edition the week of the 4th of July. I would read each one of those little newsletters cover to cover and pretend I was one of the kids who got to go on all the wild adventures.
On the 4th of July, we would eat all the barbequed ribs we could and didn’t worry about cholesterol, calories or carbohydrates…..just ate until we were full! We also ate watermelon and let the juice run down our arms…it didn’t matter how sticky and messy we were.
Yes, these are some fond memories from my childhood….oh to be a kid again!
I'm just askin', what are your favorite childhood memories?