I've always loved summer. When I was a kid, I'd be outside all day, only going in the house to eat. I'm pretty sure my mother enjoyed the peace and quiet. I grew up in the city, and our only instruction was to come home "when the street lights came on," something suburban kids miss out on.
Most of the time, all the neighborhood kids ended up in our yard. We'd play games like Mother May I, Red Rover, and Red Light--Green Light--Stop. Sometimes we'd take our Barbie dolls outside. We also had paper dolls, which we called Cut Outs. I'll really show my age here: I had Lennon Sisters and Jane Fonda paper dolls. And does anyone remember Betsy McCall paper dolls that used to be in the back of McCall's magazine? I had those, too. If it rained, we either played inside or read books.
I never had a bike, because Mom thought they were too dangerous. I had a scooter instead. It was a good thing Mom never saw me flying down the alley without using the brake. I had roller skates, too--Chicago metal ones that clamped onto the bottom of my shoes. (I still have my skate key.) We used to play roller derby while racing down the same alley. I'm surprised I have any skin left on my knees or elbows.
On sweltering evenings the whole family gathered on the front porch, unless there was something good on TV. One year, when the show Medical Center was popular, there was a neighborhood power failure every Wednesday night at nine o'clock just when we were gearing up to watch it. I have no idea why--maybe everyone turned their sets on at the same time!
I was 16 before I went on my first vacation. We went all the way up to Northeast, PA, on Lake Erie. We rented a musty old cottage where the water in the shower was barely a trickle. I hated it. (My oldest sister and her family still go to the same cottages every year. I think they've been remodeled since then. At least I hope they've been.)
I realize now that we were poor (my mother was a widow on Social Security), but I never knew it growing up. We always had plenty to eat, clothes on our backs, and everything we needed. We just didn't get everything we wanted. But I think that's a good thing. It taught us to we had to work for the extras. If I wanted the latest 45 single, I had to save my ten-cent per week allowance to get it. Nowadays, it's too easy to just whip out one of several plastic cards. (The only card my mother had was a Gimbels "charge-o-plate" and she only shopped in Gimbels' bargain basement.)
Well, that's enough rambling from me for one day. What do you remember about your childhood summers? What kind of neighborhood did you live in? Did you take vacations? Tell us one of your favorite memories!