Sick of Winter? Let's do some kid summer memories!!!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by nvts, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I'm sick to death of cold weather, snow, sick kids, dirty piles of snow at the end of the driveway, people being rude because of cabin fever, etc.

    Here in the Great City of New York, they're predicting 60 and sunny on Friday...quite a coup for February. I can't wait! So, to mentally prepare ourselves for the up and coming summer, I propose that we share our summer memories from when WE were kids.

    I posted this on my Facebook page and I've gotten some responses, likes and messages about it.

    Remember when you had to be home when the street lights came on, you could ride your bike "across the boulevard" to go to a friends, you could run around in the woods, pop "tar bubbles" with your toes, and most of all - smokin' the toes on your sneakers at the beginning of the summer by dragging them on the ground to stop your bike?


    Anybody have some cool stuff to add?

  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Riding bike everywhere!!!! Garage sales were our best friends because they gave us a location to ride to.

    Summers in a tourist trap!

    Car hopping at A&W drive in!

    Laying in a hammock reading!

    Fishing 1/4 mile down the road at the other end of our property and carrying an ugly catfish back home still on the hook for Dad to take off! (Our Dad was wonderful - just kept letting us fish whenever we wanted knowing an ugly catfish would bring us home)
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Kid summer memories - we have this plant we called "plum pudding", it has a tiny magenta star flower and grows in the lawn. The young seed pods of this plant are sweet to chew. I remember one Friday sports afternoon a few weeks before Christmas (the last weeks of our school year, before summer) I was sitting in the outfield of our softball game (like baseball) knowing the batters were useless and I didn't have to do any fielding. I was harvesting and eating plum puddings, and stuffing the pockets of my sports tunic with them. It was hot, I was thirsty, and these juicy pods (about the size of my little-girl fingernail at biggest) were the only way I had to quench my thirst. There was no carrying of water bottles back then; just a push and shove for the school bubblers, most of which did not work properly and you had to suck the water out, ignoring that all the other kids did the same thing and you were all sharing germs. And the water was always warm and tasted of ants...

    Later that afternoon at choir practice, the church was blessedly cool inside. I was nibbling the plum puddings in my pocket when the choir mistress saw me. She sent me outside to throw them away; but I went to my bag and put them in my lunchbox. I felt guilty when I came back in and she asked me if I had thrown them away and I said, "Yes". I told a lie - in the church!

    In summer - we made daisy chains. From what I know now, the daisy we use is an African daisy, it's a weed here. A pretty yellow and black weed, though. I used to go fishing for tadpoles, climbing the old willow trees on our property, walking with friends, and trying to find ways to keep cool. Also in summer - the Sydney southerly buster would arrive every afternoon at 3.20 pm. After a searingly hot, humid day where the sweat from our arms pooled on the desk under us and our bottoms stuck to the seats and grabbed the skin painfully - we had the choice of running home fast, in the heat - or waiting a little under shelter until the southerly buster hit, burst its furl on the buildings and turned the street into a white mist of spray for a short while. Or we could walk home in it and get saturated. If the day had been really hot, we would often choose to walk home. Often after the storm passed (they lasted about ten minutes and afterwards the air was fresher and more comfortable) I would walk home with the rainwater gushing in the gutters beside the path. I would carry a few pop sticks to float down the gutter, playing my own version of "poohsticks".

    Summer on the weekend and in the holidays - for a special treat we would go to the beach. Where we lived at the time, the beach was up to three hours' drive away. Such a long drive was not to be wasted, we would pack a picnic and the whole large family would shoehorn into the car (before seat belt laws) and rattle our way to the beach. We'd spend the entire day there burning to a crisp. Sometimes we'd hear a shark alarm which meant everyone had to get out of the water and wait until they sounded the all-clear. We'd come home with blistered skin covered in salt. I remember being unable to sleep with the pain of it, but I fared better than my fair-skinned sisters. At school we were warned of the dangers of bad sunburn but my parents always assured me that ours was not bad sunburn. From hat I know now - it certainly was. I am amazed I've had no skin cancers! But we did what everybody did back then. There was only one effective sunscreen - "Pinke Zinke". It was greasy and smeared everywhere including over your towel, I hated to use it.
    When I was 11 and about to go to high school, I spent three weeks of the summer with my best friend, at a beach shack. No amenities - an outdoor pit toilet, an outdoor cold-only shower fed from the rainwater tank, one tap in the kitchen fed from the rainwater tank into a sink which emptied over the lawn. My friend's mother accidentally washed her contact lens down the kitchen sink - it emptied onto a lawn covered in fish scales, form all the fish my friend's father had cleaned! Amazingly, we did find the contact lens.

    We bathed in a bucket, played cards, sunbathed, swam - but because we had a bolthole, we were able to get out of the sun if we'd had enough. That was the summer of my first real, lasting tan.

    It was a wild beach - still is, last time I dropped in. I felt like a character from a book - "The Age of Consent" by Aussie author Norman Lindsay. A classic, but it also describes the wild beaches and the lifestyle of the NSW South Coast. A bit racy (a bit? A lot!) and not a book I should have known about at age 11...

    That was also the summer I discovered the joy of sand-modelling. While we waited for my friend's parents to come back from their often all-day fishing trip, my friend & I would work on whales, mermaids and other shapes in the sand. One day we visited a beach a little way up the coast - the sand there was fine and full of mica dust, so the detail we were able to put in the sculpture was amazing. You could walk on that beach and not leave a footprint except in the softest, driest sand near the carpark.

    So there you have it - some Aussie summer childhood memories. The sounds - the throb of cicadas, pounding a rhythm. Finding cicada shells and sticking them onto our clothing. Swatting mosquitoes, burning mosquito coils every night. The smell of the soft wet earth as we watered the garden in the evening. Picking peaches off the trees in the orchard. My mother staking props under the peach tree branches to stop them from braking under the weight. Peeling mountains of peaches in the back veranda, peach fuzz filling the air, shafts of sunlight visible in the motes. The itch of peach fuzz inside the shirt that not even a shower could wash away. The taste of fresh peach sandwiches (with a sprinkle of sugar). Bliss!


  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hiking in the woods just because the shade of the trees kept it 30 degrees cooler than anywhere else. Searching for tadpoles in the creek, catfish fishing.......

    Rolling down the park hill in a medal drum they used as trash cans. (we cleaned out the trash of course lol) Seeing who could swing so high to wrap the swing around the swingset top bar first.

    Red Cross Swimming lessons at the public pool. Made it cheap enough we could actually go there to swim......cuz after the lessons you got the afternoon to swim for free.

    Waiting until sunset to catch lightening bugs. Staying up until midnight to catch huge nightcrawlers to go fishing with...........
  5. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I also grew up in the Great City of NY --- I am so not a country girl. My summer memories involve hiding under my bed at the summer camp my parents forced me to go to so that I wouldn't have to walk barefoot in the grass... scratching my arms raw every day so I would be allowed to stay out of the lake, hitting myself in the face with a baseball I tossed up in to the air so I wouldn't have to play sports anymore and my personal favorite, throwing all of my shoes and underwear out of the apartment window so I wouldn't have to go to camp. Unfortunately, we lived on the first floor and my mom saw it all and made me go out and get it... The same trick had worked for my friend - however, both of her parents were blind! One year, I saw a commercial for the Fresh Air Fund (a charity that sends poor kids to summer camps) and a little boy was saying "I've never been to a farm? Will you take me there?" The camp I went to was a charity camp so I asked my parents if they had a camp in Manhattan where I could live with another family and they would take me to see plays and museums!

    I loved running around in the sprinkler in the playground with the cement floor, going in the public pool when I got a bit older, sitting outside in the shade on a bench reading a book - I ALWAYS wore my shoes and never walked in the grass.

    To this day, I love the heat of summer on my skin. I adore sitting outside reading a book. I love buying my kids an ice cream treat at the truck once in awhile. I remember my childhood summers, other than those horrible weeks in the country, with fondness. I still hate the country so much that I can't believe we send our kids to camp and they like it!
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Going to Nana's in the South Valley was always relaxing. She had the best sycamore trees, huge old things that kept the back yard amazingly cool. We would sit on the porch and snap beans, or eat watermelon and spit the seeds on the lawn. Nana liked to color, so she would clear the dining room table and we pulled out our color books and crayons and would color or play card games inside during the afternoon. Did a lot of reading, too. Nana had been a second grade teacher, and had lots of cool things leftover from her classroom days for us to play with.

    It was different when we went up to Granny's (dad's mom). My grandparents owned a Ben Franklin (back before they were craft stores) in a tiny town outside of Redding. My brother and I pretty had the run of the place, office and stockroom included, but we were never to go behind the registers so as not to bother the ladies who worked them. After examining everything in the store, playing with the adding machine (where you pushed the buttons you wanted, then pulled the lever to make it print), and double checking to see if any new books had come in, we made our evening selection of penny candies, writing everything down so they could reorder, and head home for dinner. After dinner, we brought out either Yahtzee of Scrabble, spread out the candy, and played for hours. My dad's parents were both devout insomniacs, as was/am I and my dad, so Mom and Bro crashed early while the rest of us continued playing and listening to late night TV...HEEEEEEEERE"S JOHNNY!

    At home, we swam mornings and evenings, staying in during the afternoon to prevent horrendous sunburn and either reading, doing puzzles, or playing Scrabble or Yahtzee mostly. My mom also had ideas for projects; one year we collected rocks and then glued them together and painted them to look like animals. Another year we made salt dough Christmas ornaments. I usually went to summer school; it was more fun and less on the academic scale at the time.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    From a very early age we were allowed to ride our bikes to the local swimming pool that was over a mile away and ride our bikes up to the grocery store and drug store to get soda pops. Obviously crime wasnt a problem even though we lived right outside the city of I remember playing doctor with the neighborhood kids and spin the My dad put up this amazing rope swing that everyone loved. We did the normal catching lightning bugs. The ice cream truck made regular runs through our neighborhood. I know we went on a vacation every year either to Florida or MA. One year when I was 8 we went to CA.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    What are lightning bugs? I remember in the summer, the boys at school would catch cicadas and trade the different varieties with their mates. All alive, of course - one cicada yelling full volume in the classroom can be ear-splitting! There was an urban myth that the Black Prince cicadas were worth a lot of money, the drug companies would pay big bucks for them, dead or alive because there was some naturally occurring compound in their bodies that the drug companies wanted samples of. The Black Princes were the most beautiful, but also the rarest. I actually didn't see a Black Prince cicada until I was an adult and there was a brief plague of them. They were about half the size of the others, black with silver wings and three red diamond spots between the eyes, like rubies in a crown. But they could yell as loudly as the big ones!

    Cicada varieties - Cherry Nose, Floury Baker, Yellow Monday, Green Grocer (the most common, the ones I'm listening to now). Many more. All these names came from Aussie children, names now accepted by scientists as the common names for the different species.

    It's wonderful comparing childhood summer memories.

  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Taking your roller skates apart and putting the wheels on a 3" x 1" piece of wood and calling it "sidewalk surfing" a la Jan and Dean.
    Stop and go dancing on the front lawn.
    Getting everyone to go in a circle in one direction in the wading pool so that you could create a whirlpool and hurry to catch all the bits of grass with mom's kitchen strainer that everyone dragged in.
    Of course, hide and seek after the streetlights came on. I won't even tell you how young I was, but they would have called CPS if this were today.
  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Marg! Lightning bugs are also known as fireflys. Here's a link:

    They're very nice and friendly bugs that (when we were kids) you'd catch and put in a mayonaise jar. All the neighborhood kids would try and get as many as possible and then pretend we were explorers with our "natural flashlights". Of course you couldn't see anything because they really don't glow all that much. At the end of the night, you'd let them go.

    I needed this...a trip down memory lane with a more simple time in life.

  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My parents both worked, so I didn't get to do a LOT when I was really young - I was at day care (until I was 14 - UGH! - but knowing what I know now - I needed it!)

    I spent quite a bit of time with my Mom's parents, since they were only an hour away, and Grandma stayed at home while Grandpa worked for the city. I'd play in Grandpa's wood bin (he was a very accomplished carpenter - and had a box of sanded scraps just for me), or in the yard. Or I'd make crafts, write, read, and sing. A couple of years, we went on vacation - Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm one year, Disneyworld, Epcot, Universal Studios one year... For about 5 years there was always a summer trip to San Antonio, where my Mom was in college, and Dad and I would go the Riverwalk, the Alamo... One really memorable year my grandparents went to visit a friend in Santa Barbara and took me to Hearst Castle. WOW.

    After we moved to the Midwest and I was in high school, I'd run around with my friends, hanging out in the parks or their houses playing Dungeons & Dragons, swimming occasionally at the lake. Going to Kings Island because we had season passes.

    I do remember playing in the sprinkler (but I still do that occasionally). My favorite summer was the year mother in law bought season passes to "The Beach" (a waterpark) and I would go with husband & the kids, or just husband - before we were married.

    Funny thing... I still can't swim.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Freedom! That was the perk of summer. Riding my bike almost everywhere...often with playing cards attached to the spoke to make plenty of noise. Roller skating almost everywhere else with the wonderful soft thump noise of my pigtails bouncing off my back and the steady thump of the skate key on my chest securely attached to a sturdy chain. Happiness never matched once I grew up! DDD
  13. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Catching lightening bugs in a jar.:playingball:

    :swimming:Spending the day at the pool with friends.

    Playing out in the heat and then coming inside and going to the basement to lie on the file floor where it was nice and cool.:hot:

    :bbq:Neighborhood plays and BBQs.

    Spending a couple weeks at the beach.:beach:

    :picnic: Picnics at Cabin John Park

    Running through the sprinkler with my sibs :water_happy:
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Sledding down the snow covered hills.......

    Sharpening our skates in the little concrete block building by the fire to ice skate in the reservoir.....

    Building a snow man and then spray painting them with food coloring.....

    :difficult child:
    Hey it's like 110 here in the Summer - I PRAY for snow.
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Starbie, I will trade you. I love hot.
  16. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I'll always remember how it felt on that first day out of school when I was in the elementary grades! The weekends just weren't the same. I remember going outside barefooted on the first day that we didn't have to go to school, very early in the morning when the dew was still on the grass! It just seemed magical! The sun seemed a little brighter, the air smelled a little sweeter, the colors of the flowers seemed even more vivid. And as a little kid, those days of summer vacation and complete freedom seemed to stretch out endlessly in front of me.

    And I remember spending so much time at my grandparents house! My dad was the oldest of six and for as long as I could remember the whole clan would gather at my grandparents big old fashioned 2-story house every Friday night. There were so many cousins, there was always someone to hang out with. They did it all year long but in the summer we'd play outside in the dark till we were ready to drop! We'd catch lightning bugs in jars too, and tadpoles from my grandpa's fish pond, and my older brother and cousin would dug up night crawlers to use as fish bait the next day. Most of my cousins and I now have grandkids of our own now, but get us together and we still talk about those Friday nights at our grandparents house! And in the summer they also got together for barbeques sometimes on Saturday afternoons or Sundays after church. I remember playing in the yard while one of my uncles would be barbequing ribs. We'd be so hungry and it smelled soooo good! And I remember big old wash tubs full of ice, with bottles of beer for the adults and soft drinks for the kids - we'd all get all the orange and grape drinks first! My kids have their own happy childhood memories but it's always made me sad that they never had anything even close to what we had as kids.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    ....Star thinks Donna should write a book about her childhood! That was LOVELY and I enjoyed reading what you wrote. I could visualize and hear it all! VERY NICE! Thanks!
  18. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    We caught lightening bugs, too. Had the barbeques at Grandma and Pop's. Fourth of July was the best!

    My sister and I also had our own little "business" selling nitecrawlers. We would put the sprinkler on, go out later, and snatch them up. I was in charge of the flaslight, and she was the "catcher". Dad built us a worm box in the crawlspace. We sold them for $1.00 per dozen.