Back in my eighties childhood in northeastern Ohio, my summer consisted of bike rides to our neighborhood pool with my towel draped around my neck. I’d drink orange pop through a bitten-off Twizzler, the original biodegradable, environmentally-friendly straw, and eat sugary Jell-o packets straight out of the box. My friends and I would practice our flips off the side of the pool over and over, then cock our heads and hop up and down to shake the water out of our ears.
Sometimes to mix it up I’d pack a bag with Band-Aids, pretzel rods, and Chapstick, all the essential survival tools, and head out into the woods to play on the railroad tracks and slip and slide through the creek. At night I’d catch fireflies then race home in time to watch the Mission Impossible TV show because there was no DVR and you had to catch it when it aired or beg your friends to give you a blow by blow of what happened.
There were no cell phones so if I needed to reach Mom I’d borrow the landline in the pool office or when I was in the woods, Mom would ring a bell for dinner time and we’d come tromping home, muddy and covered in mosquito bites. As I got older and wanted to push curfew, I twisted my wristwatch back ten minutes to account for being late, which worked about once because my mom is a smart woman.
Summer felt forever, with ice cream on the back deck and reading Nancy Drews in the tree house that Dad and Granddaddy built between the maple trees. We wore jams for shorts and jellies on our feet and rode dirt bikes through the gullies next to our house.
People talk a lot about how times have changed but in some ways they haven’t. READ MORE