By Tammy J. Trail
As a child growing up, summer was our favorite time of the year. I’m sure you can guess the most popular reason. Yep, no school.
I grew up on the south side of Toledo, Ohio, during the 60’s. Our home didn’t have air conditioning, so we lived outside as much as possible. Back in those days, television didn’t have much on for kids during the day–just boring stuff, like soap operas. There were kids all up and down our block; we rode bikes, played tag and jumped in the sprinklers together.
I recall thinking that this must be the only place on earth worth living. We spent long , sunshine-filled days chasing after the ice cream man to get our “Push Up” fix. And the stoop of our duplex was the perfect place to sit and enjoy it.
My brothers and I spent evenings chasing lightening bugs, and afterwards we would put them in jars. Later we would take them to bed with us and watch them light up our rooms until we fell asleep.
One memory is of movie night on Fridays at a Lutheran church down the street from us. The Pastor there had kids of his own, so he tended to offer activities that kids would like. Between the church and the parsonage was a wide cement walkway that led to the education wing. That’s where he would hang a bedsheet-type cloth on the doors and show movies after dark.
The kids in the neighborhood thought this was amazing. We would take our popcorn in big brown grocery bags along with a blanket. The show would start the same as any drive-in with cartoons first. The main event was usually an old black-and-white movie with Abbot and Castello. It didn’t matter what it was—kids loved sitting under the stars and walking home with flashlights.
We eventually moved from the city to a smaller community an hour away. We didn’t get to do cool stuff like going to the movie under the stars, but we were a bit older by then, too. My brother and I would take turns spending a week or two at a time with a grandparent.
My Mom’s parents still lived in our old neighborhood, so we were able to see our old friends. Grandma let us stay up late at night to watch old movies on television. When it was too hot to play outside, she would teach us how to play Rummy. There was also a drawer in her buffet were she kept blank paper, crayons, and coloring books to keep us busy.
My paternal grandmother was a bit different, and we didn’t spend a lot of time at her house. Instead, she liked to take us to visit other family members during the day. At night, we watched television or played with her dog, and she let us sleep as long as we liked.
When I got a little older, Grandma Milem taught me how to embroider. Since I liked Raggedy Ann and Andy, Grandma found a baby blanket with those characters. Although I did most of the embroidering myself, I soon lost interest and put it in a box. But when I was pregnant with my daughter, I found that box and sent the blanket to Grandma, who stitched and bound the edges for me. Thanks to her, my daughter now has a nice keepsake.
I prefer the summer season for making memories without having to worry about a routine. Who could argue with that?
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Writing Prompt: Sadie took a quilt off her bed and ran outside to hang it over the clothesline.” Emma is going to be so surprised! As long as those Douglas boys down the street don’t find out because the last time they………..”