With school children being released from class for the summer I cannot help but remember my own summer vacations. Back in my grade school days we actually got out of school on Memorial Day and did not return until the day after Labor Day, which meant we got a full three months of freedom. It was glorious!
I can remember that we slept with the windows open as air conditioning was unheard of. Some nights would get damp and dew would seep in making our blankets soggy, adding a chill to the air. Singing birds were our alarm clock. I had no clue what time it was, nor did I care. Time did not matter.
My siblings and I would jump out of bed eager to start the day and throw on our clothes. We converged on the kitchen where mom had breakfast going. Sometimes it was oatmeal or pancakes or simply eggs and toast. After quickly eating our food, out the door we would go to the great outdoors.
The grass would still be slick with dew, which to me always felt good on my bare feet. We were off to our own adventures. The boys would take off for the barn and my sister and I would stick close to the house and the yard. I remember many games of jacks, hopscotch, jumping rope or simply laying in the grass looking up at the clouds identifying shapes and animals. The least of our worries were the bugs crawling on us or grass stains.
Before we knew it, mom was calling us to the porch for a quick lunch. It was usually a sandwich of some kind and she told us if we were still hungry to help ourselves to the garden. Many times, we were found eating a warm tomato fresh off the vine with juice running to our elbows or we would pull a carrot and wipe it off on our pants and eat it right down to the green top.
Usually we were asked to help with some chores, like hanging a basket of clothes on the clothesline or sweeping the porches off.
By afternoon the sun was too hot on the garden side of the house so we would go to the far side under the shade trees. The tire swing was there and we would amuse ourselves with yard games if we could convince the boys to join us. Mother May I, Red Rover, tag, or running races were a few that we loved to play.
We would venture to the creek and wade. Most times we caught tadpoles and we would roll over rocks looking for crawdads. Sometimes we saw snakes but if you left them alone they left you alone as well.
Dinner time arrived so quickly. After a quick scrub, we would eat and help with cleanup. Out the door we went again to catch lightening bugs or play hide and seek. When the mosquitoes got too bad we went inside and mom insisted we wash the day’s grime away, pajamas were donned and off to bed we went to sleep the sleep of the exhausted. Again, time did not matter. It was dark, so it was bedtime. No TV, telephone or electronics for us.
Oh, how I wish for the stamina of youth.