Friday, May 28, 2010

Flashback Friday - In the Good Ol' Summertime

What were summers like when you were a kid? Did your family have any particular traditions? Did you sleep 'til noon or get up early? Did you attend camps? Spend lots of time at the pool? Was it a neighborhood pool or in your backyard? Did you take swimming lessons? Did you live near a beach? (And do you call it the beach or the coast?!) Did you attend VBS (Vacation Bible School)? Did your library have a reading program that you participated in? What types of prizes were available? Did you get to buy treats from the ice cream truck? Did your family go on vacations? If so, what is a memorable one? Do you associate any particular songs with summer?

Summers seemed to last forever when I was growing up! Life wasn't the frantic pace we live now, and the days were long. I'm one of the few who likes Daylight Saving Time -- I've always loved that the sun doesn't go down until 9:00!

Most of our time was spent at home just doing ordinary things. I was a huge bookworm (surprise, surprise!) and I L-O-V-E-D going to the library; I usually finished the summer reading program by the end of June or early July. I remember checking out 14 books - the maximum the library allowed - and reading them all in a week! I don't remember much about prizes other than being so excited to get a coupon for a FREE McDonald's hamburger! I think they cost 30 cents back then! Fast food was a relatively new thing, and we rarely went out to eat, so it was a huge treat! (I think their hamburgers were better then than they are now!)

We went on very few vacations. By the time I was old enough to remember any, my brother and then my sisters were turning 16 and working in the summers. My parents were homebodies and we didn't have a lot of money, so we just stayed home. I do remember that when I was 4 or 5 we went for a day or two to Turner Falls in Oklahoma. All I remember about it were the stairs to the rock castle. I don't even remember the castle! In fact, I hardly remember anything about the trip other than swimming near the falls and those stairs. As a little girl, it seemed like there were a million!

Then when I was in junior high, we took what I always thought of as my first "real" vacation, and we went to Colorado. We drove all through the state - Durango, Silverton & Ouray, Estes Park, Glenwood Springs (I loved swimming in the hot water!), Colorado Springs, and finally Denver. Just my parents, one sister, and I went on this vacation. My brother was already married and my other sister was a summer missionary that year. (But that's not the sister who is a missionary now!)

And when I was in high school, my parents & my best friend & I went on a short trip to Lubbock & Amarillo, including Palo Duro Canyon. We had been once when I was really little and I had been captivated by the play TEXAS!, which is a live musical performance in the outdoor amphitheatre. The first performance was in 1966, and it's been a fixture at the canyon since then. The play is performed by college theater/music majors, and it is phenomenal. Here's the opening scene; I always wanted to sing the songs! And these kids aren't lip-syncing! Wish I had such stamina to dance and sing! And look quickly at the top of the picture at the very beginning to see the man on a horse carrying the Texas flag. As the play progresses, the sun sets, and the finale concludes with fireworks. We Invite You All to Come to Texas!

A major part of summer was VBS. When I was still pretty little, VBS lasted two weeks! Then they dropped it down to M-F plus M-W of the next week, and finally just one week. We always did neat projects. I finally got rid of my decoupage of the Tyndale printing press a few years ago. I don't know if anyone remembers that old style of decoupaging: hammering "dings" into about an 8 x 10 piece of wood, then burning the edges of the picture, affixing it to the wood and then shellacking the whole thing. We also did LOTS of stuff with (uncooked) macaroni!

I took swim lessons for several years in elementary school, and I always loved it when we went to the pool. It wasn't in our neighborhood, so we had to drive there. We had an old quilt we put on the seat of the car for the trip home when we were wet. There was another pool that was bigger but farther away than the one we usually went to that my mom would take us to once or twice a summer. I eventually hated that pool because one day when we came home from that pool, we discovered our house had been broken into. I went into hysterics - we had been burglarized about 4 months earlier and it scared me to death.

Even though we lived less than an hour from Galveston, I only went once or twice until I was in high school and went with the church youth group. My parents were just not beach psople.

We did go to Astroworld a few times - it wasn't part of Six Flags back then. I was 7 when it opened, and when I found out we were going, I was beside myself with excitement! Sadly, it closed in 2005 - it was an icon of growing up in Houston, and now it's just a big grassy field.

But to wrap up summer. Two of my favorite summers were the two summers between 8th and 10th grade when I was a candystriper at our local hospital. That was a blast, and the nurses were so nice and taught me how to take a pulse and other things. Getting a taste of nursing just whetted my appetite for more.

The song that always makes me think of summer is the Carpenters' Yesterday Once More. I associate it with my last sister heading to college, making me an "only child." She spent lots of time with me that summer. We both loved the Carpenters, and this was one of our favorites. And it's oh so appropriate for this Flashback as it brings back the memories it of which it speaks. It also saddens me as I remember Karen Carpenter and her early death in 1983 from anorexia.

All my best memories
Come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry
Just like before
It's yesterday once more

Wow - I should have divided this into two Flashback Fridays. Sorry to be so long-winded. The summers of my childhood may have lasted forever, but this post doesn't need to! I'm looking forward to reading all about your summer memories - be sure to link up here!


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quilly said...

Great Summer memories, Linda! My house was burglarized when I was an adult and it traumatized me. I can only imagine what it would do to a kid to her their security shattered like that.

I rarely ever got to go to a pool and thought such occasions were major treats, like when I stayed with my Aunt in Portland -- which is funny since I grew up swimming in lakes and rivers and creeks!

tilden talks... said...

Int the Summertime by Mungo Jerry is my favorite summer song!

Dawn said...

Loved your summer memories Linda!! I was fish (as my family called me) if there was a pool insight and I knew the people, Cae would find a way to swim in it ;)


Diana Ferguson said...

Oh my goodness!! This flashback tugged at my little heart. My husband and I have seen "Texas" several times. And....we always saw it on the way to or from Colorado. We have been so many times I can't count them. We have stomped all around the places you mentioned!!

Barbara H. said...

How could I have lived in TX for 22 years and not have heard of that musical?

And I didn't know Astroworld had closed!

You reminded me if several VBS crafts I had forgotten -- a "jewelry" box covered in macaroni and painted gold (ugh!) and a nice flower in a glass thing that I gave to my grandmother.

Our family never took vacations, either. Maybe that just wasn't the thing back then as much as it is now.

Maude Lynn said...

I remember those VBS crafts!

bp said...

Great summer memories! Yes, maybe this should be continued another week! I'm glad you're hosting these Flashbacks.

Have a wonderful weekend.

riTa Koch said...

I enjoyed reading your memories of summers gone by.
Fun to watch the TEXAS intro. Never heard of it.
Love the Carpenter's music and also always reminded of her untimely and unnecessary death.

So, are you a nurse, then?

Teresa Dawn said...

Great memories.

Sorry I'm late, was not feeling well Friday.