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.
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?