Didn’t Travel on Summer Vacations

By Jeff Salter 

We’re blogging about summer vacations this week.

When I was a kid, my family didn’t take vacations during the summer.  But we surely did travel a lot during the late Spring, when school was still in session.

Here’s my column from last August, in which I discuss the first of those late Spring travels — family vacations carved out of my dad’s business trips.


Typical Summers

But let me tell y’all a bit about what typical summers were like for me, as a kid.

We got to stay up “late” — meaning past 8:30 p.m.

We could rise (mornings) anytime we wanted to — though we were probably up and around fairly early anyhow.

We hardly eever watched TV during the daytime (except for Saturday morning cartoons), so we spent most of our summer days outside.  [Our house had no A/C back then and the Louisiana summers were quite hot and humid.  Outside, you could find shade and occasional breezes.]

During those hot muggy days, we’d interact with the neighborhood kids, whom we saw much less frequently during school semesters.

Like as not, we’d continuously explore the woods on all sides of our house, except for the house (& large grounds) occupying the several lots directly behind us.


One particular summer that stands out – though I don’t recall which year – was the time I built a skate scooter.  I’d seen the notion in an issue of Boy’s Life magazine.

I took one of my mom’s old roller skates (from HER childhood), detached the toe from the heel portion, and nailed them to the ends of a bedrail half.  Then I took the other half of that same rail and made the vertical piece.  A scrap of 1 X 2 served as my handlebars.

I cruised around the neighborhood and quickly was the envy of most of the nearly dozen kids in that area of several blocks.

By the second day of my skate-scooter experiment, one of the neighbor boys also had one.  I guess his dad made it.  By the end of that week, where were a dozen homemade skate-scooters in our neighborhood.

There were two hills in our area:  a long one way over on 8th Street, not far from the new hospital … and a much shorter one coming down ?Jackson? Street, which intersected a very busy 11th Street.  Naturally we chose the latter.

Of course, we also scooted along the flat streets in that area.  Worked pretty well until you hit a rock and the skate wheels would bind.  We had a lot of crashes!

As a kid, what did YOU do during your summer vacations from school?


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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12 Responses to Didn’t Travel on Summer Vacations

  1. Sounds like nice fun Jeff.We only traveled once in the Summer, but that was to go from the DC area to PA to take care of my grandmother….yet , it was a nice,lazy,Kid Summer, for the most part.(We had a lot of people crammed into a Small apartment that was apart of a converted, big house.I’ll tell that story one day.)
    The lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer will be up tomorrow.


  2. I remember reading a lot (as I mentioned on Iris’ post on Monday) because we could walk the six blocks to the local library and sign out as many books as we could carry home, and we all wanted to win the special prize for the person who read the most. When it was really hot, we’d run through the sprinklers on the lawn. Mom taught me to sew and Grandma taught me to knit, so my dolls had a great wardrobe. Later on, when dad could afford bikes for us, we rode around to our friends’ houses.


    • jeff7salter says:

      I also read a lot, Patty. But by the time I was in 2nd grade, we were about 2 miles from the public library. So I read my own books and my brother’s … and, of course, comic books.


  3. jeff7salter says:

    By the way, for any youngsters reading this: if you’re think of roller skates with wide nylon wheels and sophisticated “trucks” (the mechanism on which the wheel axle rotates) … think again. These were hardly 3/4 inch wide, steel wheels. The tiniest pebble would ‘catch’ between the wheel and pavement and freeze … usually sending the driver/rider into the ditch. Or worse.


  4. Iris B says:

    I like the idea that you just took the things you needed and made it yourself. Not sure whether the kids today have that much imagination, let alone would be allowed to take a hammer into their hand (apologies for the cynicism)
    Like you I loved the late nights and PJ days 🙂 …. and in good ol’ tradition I’ve instilled in my girls the importance of having them nowadays as well 😉
    Oh, look at that, only one more week til term break – PJ DAYS !!!!


    • jeff7salter says:

      I agree, Iris. Even though my scooter was the least well constructed — since I had little carpentry skill and fewer tools — it was still the FIRST in that neighborhood. and the one which inspired the other kids to get their dads to make one for them.
      I’ve often thought of this episode and wondered if present day kids, incl. my own grandkids, could ever be as pleased with anything … as I was with that ugly collection of scrap boards, bent nails and rusty skates.
      I guess if it came new, in a box, with a $100 price tag and flashy paint … maybe.


  5. Pingback: Routines in the Summer | fourfoxesonehound

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