Summertime Back in the Day
And why it was so incredibly awesome.
We know, we know…when it comes to older people yapping about their childhood experiences, we have heard it all, “When I was a youngster, we didn’t have seat belts and shoes cost $. 25 at the corner drug store and we wore those shoes all year ‘round where we walked through 18 inches of snow… and that was in July!”
Every generation has their stories about how life was when they were younger; sometimes remembered fondly and sometimes remembered with a bit of sassiness, but always with a side of bittersweet nostalgia, because the folks who came up before you always had it tougher than you, and they loved it. Period.
If you’re a tech-savvy whippersnapper like the millennials today, you’re probably sick of hearing middle-aged peeps talk about how they had to drink from the hose in the summer and the water was always 125 degrees and tasted like rubber. And how they played Ghost in the Graveyard until 9 pm every night and didn’t care if they came home with 30 mosquito bites as a result. And that they rode their bikes everywhere, even if it took 45 minutes in the rain to get to their friend’s house. Life was good and we were free. Yes, we know it’s cliche and may result in champion level eye-rolling, but darn it…it’s our turn to tell our story. And so here we go.
When we were kids, we had it made. We would wake in the morning, eat our Frankenberry or Cocoa Puffs cereal while we watched morning cartoons and promptly head outside, where we would spend the next 10-15 hours playing with friends and creating, what we didn’t know at the time, would be some of the fondest memories of our lives.
The typical day for many of us consisted of riding our bikes to the neighbor's or friend’s houses and either heading to the local park or to someone’s backyard where we would play games and laugh, run, explore, jump, get scraped up and talk about the boy/girl we had a crush on. We would build forts out of sticks, play tag, Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, Hide and Seek, Dodge Ball, Red Rover, Baseball and of course, Ghost in the Graveyard, and sometimes camped out in the backyard.
We went swimming at the local public pool or at the lake for 8 hours a day. And our transportation was either our feet or our bikes. We rode everywhere. On streets, paths, grass, side-walks…whatever we needed to do to get to our destination of awesomeness.
Lunch was a bologna or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that we smashed together and stuck in our backpack before we left the house, and a thermos filled with kool-aid or Tang. If you were really on top of it, you squished some potato chips in your sandwich. Cheetos were a special treat.
Our parents knew we were having fun and didn’t worry about us getting into trouble, because we really didn’t. We respected our parents and especially our grandparents. We said ‘Yes, ma’am.” and “No, sir.” and remembered to say please and thank you, especially when we got a Popsicle or ice cream sandwich from a friend’s mom or dad.
Let’s just say if we had Fitbits back then, they would have exploded from exhaustion because we probably got in about a zillion and a half steps a day. We didn’t pay attention to all of that because we were too busy being busy - playing and being active.
It was a simple existence where life happened and we didn’t even realize each day when we woke up we were getting ready to create another magical experience.
Whether you grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, the desert in California, or the countryside of Louisiana, life was good, fun was simple, and we were truly free.