Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's a Different World

It’s been a rainy June in Saratoga Springs, and we’ve only had one day this month that’s reached 80 degrees. Days like this find me longing for the warm, long, lazy summer days of my childhood, when blue skies and sunshine were the only formula necessary for a good time.

When I was a little kid on MacArthur Drive, summer seemed so much longer than it does now. Then there was time to be bored, time to lie on the grass, contemplate the clouds, and watch the world go by. I often hear “it’s a different world now” usually in regard to politics, personal finances, or raising kids. It’s also a different world for the way kids experience life. During our 1950s and 60s summers, we’d run out the door after breakfast and wouldn’t return until lunch time. It was the same for the hours between lunch and “supper” as we called dinner then. Our mothers knew we were outside playing, but didn’t have to know exactly where. Play wasn’t structured or organized or considered a “date.” It didn’t cost a thing. It was spontaneous and creative. Most mothers were home then, not burdened by the worries of parents today. We didn’t take snacks with us everywhere we went. We ate when we were home. We didn’t lug water bottles or vitamin-infused drinks with us. We drank from water fountains or garden hoses. We rode our bikes or walked, and family dogs tagged along. We were participants, more than mere observers, of the world around us. We didn’t have to pay fees to be part of a team. We just signed on and anyone who wanted to, played ball. When the sun went down, our parents would gather on lawn chairs in a neighbor’s driveway and watch as the kids played Red Light Green Light , Red Rover, or Freeze Tag. On the Fourth of July, we’d gather together and swirl sparklers in glimmering spirals, with minimal caution from our parents to be careful. My mother, her world passing by more quickly than ours, would sigh, “After the Fourth of July, summer’s over…” and we’d protest, “Mom, don’t say that!” Our summer was just beginning.

Summer hasn’t yet officially started. The Fourth of July is approaching, and I can’t wait. There’s so much summer to enjoy after that!

Tomorrow's blog: Bolton Landing!

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