First, an apology to those who commented on my Jujitsu post. Something got corrupted and…WordPress ate it. So we are going to switch topics. Hey, gotta love technology.
Ah, summer vacation. I miss it. I remember how the last three weeks leading up to school getting out were sheer torture. The poor teachers probably felt like prison guards trying to keep the inmates calm…only they didn’t have stun guns and a high-pressure hose (those were for the inner city elementary schools :D). Though, now that I think about it, slap a sprinkler on the end of that high-pressure hose and we would have likely loved that.
Did you guys end your year with Field Day? Sorry. I hated Field Day. I think Field Day was invented by the same sadists who thought up Dodge Ball. Every year I spent my last two days of school getting my butt kicked in every sport imaginable. Good thing I was too focused on summer vacation to care. All I had left to do is clean out the 900 pounds of crap I had somehow fit into my desk and locker.
Oh, there’s that protractor thingie that was on the school supply list. What DOES that thing do, anyway?
That final bell would ring and it was over. I would spend the next two and a half months loaded with sugar and wrinkled from water. My grandparents had a swimming pool and when we weren’t there, we were wearing a hole in my parent’s lawn with a Slip and Slide. Remember those things? Good thing I grew up in the days before everyone went lawsuit happy.
Really? You dove head-first off the station wagon onto a piece of plastic and sprained both your wrists??? Well, you won’t do that again, will ya? Stop crying before I give you something to cry about.
Yeah, NOTHING was childproof. All the playground equipment was heavy-duty industrial steel. And back then little girls actually wore dresses, so the first sucker kid down the slide usually suffered second degree burns down the backs of her thighs. So we would put the water hose on the slide and make our own water park. Between that, the dancing in the sprinkler and the Slip and Slide, I have no idea how my parents didn’t have a $600 water bill. Maybe they did, but it was well worth the money to keep the screaming hoard of wild Indians locked beyond the sliding glass door….which, by the way, was actually LOCKED. When cartoons were over at 8:30? Out the door we went.
Need water? Go lap some off the Slip and Slide. See, like the dog. Just drink upstream from him. Go! Before I put you to work cleaning bathrooms.
Gotta pee? Man used bushes for thousands of years. Just don’t let the Robinsons see you.
The neighbors want to take you to Jewish Camp? Okay, but this time, don’t convert. You cannot have a Bat-mitsvah, and you’re going to Baptist Camp next week. The Lutherans have dibs on you after that.
My brother and I had the COOLEST gym set out back. Nowadays it would be considered an Al Qaeda training facility. It was 20 feet tall, had uneven bars, parallel bars, climbing bars, a rope to climb, and iron rings. It was the glorious centerpiece of the neighborhood. ALL the kids wanted to be at my house playing Red Dawn, also known as Kill the Russians.
Oh, we were politically incorrect back then, too.
Those Russians were always taking Cabbage Patch Kids hostage. We knew they had a plan to brainwash them then reinsert them as Cabbage Patch Sleeper Cells that would kill us in our sleep…
…IF we ever slept. No we stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG. It was SUMMER!
Last night I stayed up until TWO THIRTY! Tonight I’m gonna stay up until FOUR. One day, when I’m bigger, I’m gonna stay up TWENTY ELEVEN HOURS! And when I grow up, I’m gonna have a Trans-Am and NEVER SLEEP EVER!!!!
Okay, yeah. We only stayed up that late when we went to my cousin’s house. They were…teenagers. We did all kinds of things we weren’t supposed to. We put on makeup, watched MTV (back when it actually had music) and watched scary movies and played Bloody Mary.
Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…
Eh, she never did show, but that didn’t stop us from nagging her every Friday night.
My cousins are responsible for my current aquaphobia. If it ain’t chlorinated, I ain’t swimming in it. Jaws ruined me for salt water and Friday the 13th pretty much ruined fresh water. But it was okay, they had a pool too….and a DIVING BOARD.
Are those things even still legal to have now? We would spend all day long inventing new dives.
Oh, yeah, well I will raise your Cannon Ball a Bazooka Loaded with Banned Nuclear Warheads. TOP THAT, SUCKAH!
The first six weeks of summer were magic. We’d swim and play and go to Six Flags and stay up late so we could walk to that small wooden
health hazard shack that served as a snow cone stand for five months out of the year. We’d play in the streets until the street lamps flickered on and beckoned us home. Then we’d beg our parents to let us at least play in the front yard so we could catch frogs and fireflies.
Ah, but then that six weeks would be over, and we’d have the Seventh Week Itch. In Texas it is so hot by July that everything, including the kids, start to wilt. We were rested and ready for a new school year. Our parents started having to play warden and make us go to bed by nine so we could get our body clocks reset for school.
BED????? But it’s still LIGHT outside!!!!
As adults, what would we give to have three months to just play? Maybe that’s the secret to world peace. Maybe all of us are just stressed out and we need to have time to scream and yell and ride bikes up a ramp made out of a door someone threw away.
Maybe if the U.N. would just get all the world leaders together for the LONGEST SLIP AND SLIDE EVER!!!!! (Just tape all of Dad’s lawn bags to the end until you run out of space on the White House lawn). Maybe if everyone got a chance to play together and run off all the excess energy, maybe then we’d be too tired and happy to be stressed.
I miss summer vacation. How about you? What do you remember? What summer rituals did you have?
Our door was locked too, Kristen! We practically lived at the local park. We would ride our bikes (no helmet) down “Suicide Hill” and swim at the local toilet, I mean, pool. The pool even had a HIGH diving board, off which I did a somersault. If we weren’t at the park, we were bouncing around the neighborhood playing in sprinklers. If we got thirsty, there was always the water hose. I know I’m supposed to appreciate all that quality child programming on TV, but sometimes I wish the cartoons would be over at 11:00 a.m., and my kids would go outside to toast a little and slap mosquitos for a few hours. We did it, and we’re still alive!
One of the things I miss the most would probably get me arrested – or at least a visit from the police inquiring as to what, exactly, I was doing. Every summer, my parents would trim the Florida holly tree in the front yard. (Now we know that there’s no such thing as a Florida holly – it’s actually an invasive and we should have been ashamed of ourselves.) BUT, they’d pile the branches in the swale area down by the street. It was huge. Five or six feet tall at least and often fifteen feet long. We’d take flashlights and old sheets and crawl inside where we’d sit telling ghost stories and itching from the bugs until the frantic cries of parents forced us to leave. Boy, that was fun!
Thanks for the hilarious walk down memory lane, Kristen!
I miss playing outside until the sun went down, which in the summer was almost 9:00. I miss the sound a clothes-pinned card made against my bicycle spokes. I miss the magic of fireflies. I remember writing C.V. (Cootie vaccination) on my palm, thinking that would keep me safe from boys, but secretly hoping they’d come after me anyway. I miss hearing my dad whistle for us to come home. Now, it seems all parents have to do is say, “Time to turn off the computer and go to bed.”
Good grief. I might have to do my own blog on missing summer vacation. 🙂 Thanks, Kristen!
Ha! We were locked outside to … even when it was 120 in the shade! We went barefoot EVERYWHERE in that heat and had calluses thicker than elephant hide. The Bottle Cap Matinees at the local theater were always a favorite. Admission was two bottle caps, and for that you got to see the latest installment of a serial adventure, a cartoons and a double feature. We were gone ALL afternoon. What our parents didn’t realize was that the movies were often violent with pirates torturing people and stuff. My mom was horrified when I told her about that years later!
Ah, memories of a simpler time. Nice reminder of happy days in the sun as children. I don’t remember ever being inside on a summer day. There were the ‘woods’ (a one block area full of trees) where we played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, card games and board games. Or we’d play games of kick the stick (like kick the can) for hours in the street and only moved when a car came–which wasn’t very often. I remember the summer nights outside, after dinner, gazing at the stars and dreaming of worlds unknown. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
Oh wow! I was raised here in the UK and my parents owned a caravan on the Welsh coast literally s stones throw from the ocean. On the Friday school broke up we all five of us – mother, dad, two brothers and me – piled into the car and drove the 40 odd miles, and we didn’t return – well Dad did because he had to work, but the rest of us spent 6 glorious weeks doing nothing but swim, sunbathe, walk, climb, play and… Well, basically everything including my first kiss and… No, enough! Bliss. Complete and utter bliss. And, unlike many other things from childhood seen through the rose tinted glasses of middle age, I realised it was bliss even then!
Wow, your summers sound like so much fun. Here in the UK, kids only get 6 weeks, from reception year (kindergarten to you, I think), right up until the end of secondary school. Of course, when you’ve got exams you get study leave, so you finish earlier – I finish on the 20th June this year, which is the day of my last exam – but even so, six weeks is what it is, really. Last summer I was so busy doing various camps, orchestra tours, and staying with a French penfriend that when school started again I was already shattered!
Of course, in England we wouldn’t be able to do that much water sliding. I do remember doing that when I was much younger, but only once or twice a summer. It rains too much the rest of the time.
I thought I’d just typed all this up once, so apologies if it’s posted twice!
Sometimes you wonder if these memories of childhood are a construct of middle age, but I know I’ve always felt this way.
I grew up in the UK and my parents owned a caravan on the Welsh coast literally a stone’s throw from the ocean. Come the summer vacation (holiday over here) my entire family would pile into our car and drive the 2 hours, stopping for food on the way. My dad wiuld return for work and the rest of us spent 6 blissful, glorious weeks with the sound of waves lulling us to sleep, endless days, first romances and permanent friendships forged. Those summer vacations continue to resonate in my soul even 45 years later.
When my mother was alive she had me outside from after breakfast until supper. Lunch was KoolAid and baloney sandwiches. Later my dad gave me a set of old golf clubs and I had a two mile schlep to the course, play eighteen holes, crawl home and maybe we’d go out for hot dogs. What was once called child rearing is today looked upon as abuse. Catholic school loomed at the end of the summer, so I appreciated the time.
I’ve received Two Kristen Lamb blogs just today. I know that Successful Blogging 101 encourages writers to blog often, but your typically thoughtful postings are starting to feel disposable. It’s as if you’re sending out your every waking thought. Could you be a bit more judicious?
Today there was a terrible code error and WP ate my original post and mangled it. I spent a lot of time writing it, but was unable to save the post and received complaints that it was unreadable. This was apparently not the case for subscribers and those on a cell phone. The more I tried to repair the content, the worse it got until I took it down. I posted this in its place. I have blogged three days a week for the past three years, so I apologize if that is too much. But, I have blogged M, W, F, for a very long time and I put a lot of thought into my posts.
Swimming at the community pool. More of that. More of that. More of that. Throw in a trip to the beach and by the end of the summer I was two inches shorter.
It’s so sad to not see as many kids playing in the park or riding their bicycles through the neighborhood like most of us got to when we were kids. I don’t let my son sit around watching tv or playing on the computer all day. We live a block from a very nice park, and I send him out to play. But the other mothers don’t like the fact I do this because they have apparently forgotten that child rearing involves free play. People are so worried about how dangerous it is, but it’s no dangerous than it was when I was a child, and the ones suffering from parental paranoia are the kids. Being outside and playing with other kids is so much more fun than watching re-runs of your favorite cartoons.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I remember playing “Bloody Mary”, and the field days at the end of school were a highlight for me. I was soooooo not popular, but very athletic and I won most of the races. So for a day I was “somebody.” LOL
Nooo, you mentioned Field Day! I’ve spent years repressing those memories!
I’m happy to report that the kids in the subdivision behind our yard play outside every second it isn’t raining or pitch black dark. I’m not sure if their parents actually lock them out, but it would explain a lot.
Love your summer memories, Kristen. I’m a teacher so I still get those summer months off. Play golf now instead of staying up late playing hide and seek and collecting fireflies.
This post brings back a lot of great childhood memories! Sure, by the time I was five, the Russians were no longer our enemies, but I still remember slip ‘n’ slides, spending more time outside than in, and never locking our doors. Ever.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who hated field day! We used to go bike riding up and down the road. I also loved catching fireflies on a warm summer night. One year we put up a tent in the yard and pretended we were out in the forest. I think that a lot of the reason I have such a good imagination now is because of those lazy summer days when I played outside with my family and neighbor kids.Where are the kids of today getting their imaginations?
Oh gracious. Someone else who hated field day…called Track and Field for us here in NS. Hated it with a passion! Your post made me laugh multiple times and made me remember how much I wanted a slip n slide….ah. never got one.
Hated field day. HATED IT! Can’t express how much I HATED IT! Thanks for letting me get that out of my gym shorts after all these years. HATED IT!
Camping, that was my summer highlight. Stuff five kids and two parents into the station wagon, strap more stuff into the roof carrier, sling the important stuff (food and sleeping bags) in the tent trailer and away we went. We lived in our bathing suits. One summer I got such a dark tan (it was healthy back then) that my best friend didn’t recognize me when I got back. I hated Field Day because I was so small I was always last. Except, oddly enough, in high jump. How weird is that?
You had to mention the pool shark…I still can’t swim alone, whether in salt or chlorinated water, because of that stupid great pointy-toothed fish…
Lovely post, but I think I must have been more of an indoor kid, I don’t remember doing anything like that during summer. Sounds like fun, though.
I grew up in the middle of Brooklyn, New York. We played stickball in the street. I grew up on a dead end street and we painted in home plate, first base, second base was the manhole cover, third base the fire hydrant. This was fine until I was fourteen. My mother looked at me with a stern eye and said, “You are NOT sitting home all summer.” She volunteered me for UNICEF. The next year,she volunteered me for a job with New York City.
Trips to Six Flags! Swimming in the pool and trying to surf on those floating devices. LOL. That reminds me of summer. And water balloon fights!
P.S. I hate slip n’slides. I was totally that kid that biffed it, skinning my arms and legs.
I think your Field Day hypothesis is absolutely right! 😛
As for summers of my youth: I pretty much read every single day since my parents couldn’t afford to send us to camps. Not a bad ritual, really.
Hey, Kristen – Your posts go to my mailbox, so I got to read your jujitsu post even though it was eaten by WordPress. I loved it so much I just have to respond. Falling is a huge theme with me. Every time I make a leap with the greatest potential to take a horrendous fall – I cross a mystical barrier which brings me closer to fulfillment and success. Yes to risks. Yes to falls and any bruises earned in the process. You simply have to take a risk to grow. I think WordPress ate your article because it was deliciously written and full of sustenance. Thank you for sharing such a valuable insight!
Ahhh, your post really brought back memories! We had pretty similar summers, except no pool after the age of 10, although we did have a large pond, until it became to yucky to swim in. Our parents must have been alike too, because once we were out, we stayed out. None of this running in and out like my kids do. Probably why I let them do it…I remember how sucky it was. Yeah, I think adults need a summer vacation. Might cure some stress and uptight issues. LOL! Of course, some summer vacations aren’t what they used to be. My poor kids just got out the end of last week and they go back on August 1. Not much of a vacation really. I remember we usually got out by early June and didn’t go back until after Labor Day. Those were the days!
Ahhh…childhood! I remember our summer trips. My Mom and I would travel around the States by car to visit family and friends. One year, when she was in her 50’s we drove to Alaska and back. I recall being disappointed there were no igloos…it didn’t occur to me they would melt in the summer!
Kristen, I loved school, but not enough to give up summer. We had sunburns, beestings, mosquito bites, scabby knees, and total disregard for time or authority. These days, our parents would be reported to Child Protective Services for letting us run amok for 12-hour days. Then we would hold a circus – the underlying reason was to sell watery kool-aid and cold popcorn to the neighborhood kids silly enough to pay 5 cents for it. My son recently sent me a picture of my grandson (6) flying along on his new zipline upside down with one hand – the bloodline continues!
Field day ranks right up there with being chosen last for teams in gym class!
Loved your summer memories, Kristen. My standout remembrances include being dropped off at the town pool for the day and wishing I hadn’t eaten through an entire days allotment of money for the snack bar before 10:00 AM. Playing flashlight tag every evening and dreading the moment when mom sounded the death knell by calling us in for a bath. Being so excited to camp out in the back yard to try out the sleeping bags we’d acquired by saving books and books of S&H Green Stamps, but then still ending up creeping inside to our beds long before dawn. Reading through the ginormous box of Harlequin romances that belonged to my friend Tina’s mother. Drive-in movies. (I didn’t go to see a movie in an indoor theater until I was in my teens!) Riding our bikes to the ends of the earth and back in the space of an endless summer afternoon…
Lovely post. Brings back many memories. I was fortunate to be a school teacher before I retired as a homemaker. So I have always had my summers off my entire life!!! Lucky, me. :))) Sam
It’s funny you should mention field day. My granddaughter had hers today (they call it play day now). I applied several coats of sunscreen before she left the house, she was probably slipping and sliding all during the bus ride. The storms rolled in early afternoon and the she gleefully told me that her class missed the relay races. Due to the tornado warnings, the school went into lockdown and she didn’t get home until 4:45.
Summer vacation – sigh. What wonderful times. I miss them too. The first few days we’d run across the burning hot street to “toughen” up the feet. A bike, a rope, and a skateboard provided hours of suicidal fun. After dark we’d play spotlight (name changed from a very politically incorrect one) where we’d have to get around the court hiding behind cars and bushes without getting nailed by guy holding the flashlight. After, we’d spend the night in a fort we made with blankets draped over the trampoline and tell ghost stories until we fell asleep.
We had about ten sets of “parents” in the neighborhood, all that we tried to avoid. As long as we didn’t come to their attention, they kind of forgot about us. They’d gather in our backyard until late drinking beer and telling stories, ones that we weren’t suppose to hear, but heck, we were spies and knew every hiding place in the neighborhood. And the block parties! Good times!
Thanks for this post today. Gave me a laugh and brought back some wonderful memories!
I’m so on that slip & slide. I must confess to trying it again not too long ago with my grandkids. Bruises took the rest of the summer to heal and I’m not sure I’ve walked the same since. I might have peed my pants too but who knew with all the water? Had a blast though. What a fun walk down memory lane. Maybe I should get the adults in the neighborhood together for a special “senior kick the can” event?
I love this post! Makes me nostalgiac for summers of the past before political correctness and before our swings and slides were replaced by horribly tame, plastic things.
Thank you for the stroll down memory lane! I miss summer vacations back before the world went sue-happy, too! How ever did we survive childhood?? 🙂
What a great post – I remember my summers well. My mom was a teacher which meant she had summers off too and although we were in the city we were never spared of activities to do. My favorite memories are when she would put giant poster paper across the garage and on the driveway and just let us get messy with paint – do whatever we wanted as long as it ended up on the pavement. And every night we’d trek to the ice cream store because he usually had an ice cream cake someone forgot or he couldn’t sell any more and we’d get it for free. I agree with your vision of world peace – we need balance, what better way to get that then play?
My summers were wonderful and I think it’s partially because my parents were big believers in experiences over material goods. My mom also had the summer off and is a hugely generous person so neighborhood kids would come over and just hand out.
My favorite memories include when my mom stretched canvas across the garage and down the driveway and gave us paint. As long as no one ate it an it ended up on the canvas we could do what we liked. It was a neighborhood mural of sorts
I loved summer vacation and mine as a lot like yours, just in NJ. There was NO playing inside, we lived at the pool with the occasional day trip to the beach, ate ice cream and BBQ chicken. In the early years wentcamping in a trailer, rode in the way back of the station wagon without seatbelt, and at the age of about 6 I would restart the campfire in morning with dry pine needles so we could cook biscuits on sticks for breakfast. It was glorious and just might be the solution for achieving world peace. Excellent post!
I miss spending two weeks every summer at the beach. I miss staying up late reading good books. I miss ice cream for dinner and bbqs and smores. Now I work all summer at a day camp. This has the potential to be fun, but it’s Vegas, so it’s too hot to be outside.
Summer is one of the many reasons I became a teacher. Now that I’m a mom, though, I kind of dread it. My kids just got out yesterday. They did end with field day, but they play fun games more than competitive sports. They enjoy it.
Are pool sharks real? I’m scared.
It drives me mad the way health and safety and politically correctness has gone mad over the lat decade. Ugh!
Over here in Australia it’s perhaps less severe – people haven’t quite cottoned on to the idea of suing anybody for anything at a moment’s notice.
But still, it is a pain in the arse!
There’s a new TV show just started, called ‘The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show’ – and it’s awesome! Exactly the same stuff you mention, like how high the slack-wire-with-handrail-chains used to be… and now they’re a foot off the ground, in case the children fall and hurt themselves on the sharp bark chips on the ground…
It’s a popular show already, and is advocating wilful endangerment of children – by doing things like letting them play outside! And do – wait for it – cartwheels! On HARD SURFACES??! Wow. Now there’s a law suit waiting to happen.
It’s the best thing on telly! :0)
As a child, my family and I used to go to places such as Pontins, where we had fun. As an adult my mum and I used to go to the seaside for a day. I miss those days.
Thank you for the post, and to everyone who shared memories of summer fun. It brought back memories! We would spend the day in my parent’s pool with all of our friends until our eyes blurred and our hands wrinkled. I miss cranking the ice cream maker. We’d walk to the library (the long way by the river). We’d camp in backyards and watch for falling stars and talk all night. I remember seeing who had the toughest feet from walking barefoot! And my sister was always catching King snakes that seemed like they were 10 feet long and scaring the daylights out of the males in the neighborhood!
I always begged my folks to let me lay out of school on field day. It never worked. I think it’s just Kid Torture Day to make the teachers happy before vacation. I grew up way out in the country, though, so summer was all working in the garden and building and fixing stuff around the farm. And about 8,000 books. Seemed horrible at the time, but I do miss it.
I remember hours and hours of bike riding, playing cowboys and robbers. Spending afternoons on “The Trails” a 2-acre wooded area just off the edge of our neighborhood. (These days I’d never let my kids play that far away – especially in the woods.) It truly was a glorious time…one that kids deserve after 9 months of sitting in a desk:)
Dang, I missed the jujitsu post and I love martial arts. I know it was a good one. What a bummer WP ate it. I’m sorry that happened. I LOVE this post. Thanks for bringing back all those wonderful summertime memories. I lived in my skates half the time, rode bikes, climbed trees, caught crawdads, played baseball in the street, kick the can, hide’n’go seek, swam in our Doughboy pool or the neighbor’s built-in. Made prank phone calls when we played inside! I was a bad kid for doing that. We never called those last days of school Field Day. Aha, so now I know where that term originated. Makes sense now. I’m glad I learned that before my last dying breath. Where have I been all these years?
I loved summer vacations, but goody goody that I was, I always looked forward to school starting again – until I became a mother. Then I lived for summers and no homework projects, no hectic school mornings dropping kids off at three different places. I remember my sister and I set up a Slip’N’Slide on my front lawn and got all our kids and all took turns (my sis and I, too!) sliding on it. And when my grandkids get old enough, you can bet I’ll do it again, only not quite as daring as back in the old days.
Thanks for all the chuckles. Your posts always make me laugh out loud.
I didn’t like field day either. I wrote a post about it last week when my boys came home from their field day looking like sad little puppies. As I teacher, it did feel “like prison guards trying to keep the inmates calm” for the last couple of weeks. Love that comparison! I am happy it is finally summer!
You nailed my summer memories to a “T,” Kristen! The only thing I would add is a week spent with my grandparents playing cards, usually campling at the beach! Oh yeah, and picking wild blackberries at the end of summer to make pies and jam- yes, barefoot and in shorts in the berry briars! Until we jumped in the pool afterwards, we could never tell which scratches were cuts from the thorns and which were berry juice smeared all over us from snacking along the way!
We used to ride our bikes all over town back then, and the small community theater played kid movies like “Benji” and “Herbie” that would bring all the kids together during film time. Parent and babysitters would drop us all off for those four hours (double feature) of a theater filled with nothing but kids. And of course, already mentioned, there was all the sprinkler hopping and school pool play. I lived on one hell of a hill so it was a great one for bikes and skateboards! Oh yeah. 😉 Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
Great post. We stayed out until it got dark and we couldn’t see each other in the dark (we lived in the countryside. Those were the days. 🙂
I can finally leave a comment. Summer vacation has arrived. Driving a school bus does have some advantages. I still get summers off to enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air. I get to go to the beach with my friends and sometimes sit by a fire in my back yard.
I am glad I grew up when I did and not in today’s totally paranoid society. We were outside from breakfast until supper, then back out again until after dark. Hunting for frogs by day searching for fireflies by night. When I got older a perfect day was having a friend over to swim in the pool and see what shapes the clouds would form into. Our imaginations were always hard at work.
I also miss summer vacation, but summer is coming soon and I can’t wait for it. island croatia