Ah, summer. It is June, after all. How the heck that happened, I’ll never know. I could swear that only yesterday it was January. Anyway, Kristen Lamb shared summertime memories of her youth in a post this afternoon and it made me smile. I remembered some of the same years she described, but I remembered them through the eyes of a child instead of the eyes of a young woman. After all, 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.
My mom’s good friend, Bonnie, had two kids roughly the same ages as my sister and me. They had a pool, a trampoline, and a treehouse all crammed into their landmine-laden backyard (they had a lot of dogs). The four of us spent countless hours out there playing and between the pool, the trampoline, and the treehouse, it’s a miracle we didn’t kill ourselves. The treehouse had a slide which we frequently used to climb onto the deck overlooking the pool, which was only a few feet away from the trampoline. I’d be lying if I’d said it had never occurred to us to jump from the trampoline into the pool, but as far as I know, no one ever tried it. We jumped from the deck all the time, though, instead of climbing in from the ladder like we were supposed to because, let’s face it – cannonballs are much more fun! And forget safety netting around trampolines; we were old-school. We had no netting. We played things like Don’t Crack the Egg next to a fence full of climbing roses and flower beds bordered with wooden beams. We may or may not have jumped people into said fencing and flower beds…head first (my sister turned out fine, despite the head injuries, I swear). We had fun, we lived to jump another day, and no one got sued.
We rode bikes without helmets. We played on playground equipment made of metal and wood. If you were lucky, there was a smattering of pea gravel on the ground beneath the equipment. If you were really lucky, there was an element of fear to the equipment, like the tower that swayed in the wind or the rocket that was really tall in my six-year-old eyes. We climbed trees till we were even with the second-story windows of our house, which scared the pants off our mother. We never locked our doors. Ever. The only time we wore seatbelts was when we left town. It was a different time then, and I miss those days an awful lot.
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