Lazy Days of Summer?

What happened to Summer Vacation for schoolkids? When I was in elementary school, (1st-6th grades), we felt free when school was out. And we were out until the first business day after Labor Day, (which, before the Monday Holiday Bill, was always September 3rd), so we had nearly three months of…usually nothing much.

Most nights we stayed up late; most mornings we slept in late. Kids met with friends. The boys played games such as  touch football, rag-tag baseball, sometimes marbles. They made collections of bugs, leaves, cards or anything that caught their fancy. They rode bikes, or skateboards when they became popular. They walked to the local stores and bought comic books and ice cream, as did the girls, who joined in to some of their activities. The girls made clubs, listened to more music than the boys and tried their hand at sewing and needlework, but  usually dropped it; (we were already becoming impatient). Both sexes dug holes looking for treasure that was never there or even made the occasional attempt to dig to China.(Even if we had been successful, we’d have probably ended up in Australia anyway.) Some of us went to the bookmobile when it arrived every three weeks, and occasionally took in a movie, but since there was no theater in walking distance, most of us just watched TV, but it was hot and humid, so being parked inside was not comfortable.  On the other hand, we girls played   ‘House’ a great deal and made up our stories as we went along; sometimes we could pull a boy or two into that world, but that didn’t often last,(especially if we played ‘School’).The boys usually made up exploring games in the small patch of woods nearby or down the local creek; these became Sherwood Forest and the  Amazon, or other far-off places that had their fancy at the time.
We had no public pool, but we sometimes had over-sized wading pools in our yards or we had sprinklers to run though. We didn’t have a recreation center and no nearby playground, so we put up rickety volleyball and badminton nets,( which kept our attention for about a week). We set up croquet fields on lumpy grounds and everyone argued about the rules, which no one fully knew. And we girls loved to swing! My father made one out of logs attached to the “shed”. Even my teenage sister would sometimes swing well into the night with her transistor radio held up to her ear.
We camped-out in our yards in tents, or sometimes in my case, in our “shed”. We had an uninsulated storage room attached to our house. My brother and I took turns staking claim to it, I usually got it because I would clean most of it to make room. When one of my cousins would come down, we’d make it ‘our house’. With that kind of time off with little on our schedule, we had time for friends and relatives to travel across states to visit…and leisurely decide what day they wanted to go see the historical and government sites around Washington, DC. Families sometimes took trips but they had time to still let the kids kick-back and use their imaginations and recharge their batteries. I think that is missing in children’s lives today.
The local schoolchildren will have seven weeks off of school this year. It sounds like a lot of time but most of the kids will be in childcare, some in classes, camps and ball ‘camps’. It is good to keep children occupied and  active, but they have no quiet time to themselves, no time to just relax and be a kid. If they do have any ‘alone’ time, more than likely they will have their heads in a video game of some sort, with more pressure on their minds. Seldom are they found kicking back, doing nothing…nothing but being themselves, thinking for themselves. I hope that generation will find mental peace somehow. I hope they will find themselves in, well, in doing nothing.

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About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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8 Responses to Lazy Days of Summer?

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Yes, I fear the current generation would go bonkers if suddenly all the electronic devices stopped working.
    Glad you mentioned swings. We had a rope swing in our front yard and I spent many hours performing complicated maneuvers, swinging from one side of the tree all the way out to its farthest arc and then back to the other side. I could do ‘loops’ during that arc, sometimes one and sometimes more. As I strove to do more than two loops, I often crashed into the tree. But I kept on working at it.
    You couldn’t pay a kid to do that these days.

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    • i am happy to say that I have swings and all the kids love them,(yes, even Jonny) .They like to sing in groups, though.There is never one kid on the swing.They fight over the one that goes the highest, though.
      Loops?I am impressed,Jeff~!

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      • jeff7salter says:

        Yeah, loops. Just swinging back and forth lost its challenge. Making that huge arc had plenty of challenge — you had to have just the right thrust, just the proper speed, and (hopefully) have completed the loop before you hit the other side of the tree.
        Our tree had a twin trunk at one time. The one at the rear had been sawn off to keep from interfering with power lines (I think). So that stump made a terrific platform for my acrobatics.

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      • Oh, I wish we had a video of that…or at least an 8mm film!

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  2. jeff7salter says:

    Ha. Me, too.

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  3. Iris B says:

    Amen to that, Tonette! Well said.
    I won’t comment more, because I feel I might step on too many toes if I do 😉

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    • I think I stepped on toes.I think I know where you want to go and I did, too.And no matter how I try to phrase it, it comes out like I am looking for a fight.I am not unsympathetic to a lot of the situations.I think things should be thought out better, though.
      Oh, yeah, we’d better not go there! You are a prudent woman, Iris.

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