"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Simpler times.....

My sweet diva sista Tina has a GREAT post on her blog right now. Go check it out. It is all about the summers of our youth, simpler times and simple pleasures.

I know I whine and piss and moan about the humidity that comes along with summer, and though summer is not my favorite season, there is still something magical about it. It was even more magical as a kid.

Like Tina, I was content in my own little world most days. I had a very vivid imagination as a child (still do!) and I could entertain myself for hours with the simplest things. Something I constantly had with me were colored pencils or markers and drawing tablets. I could draw for hours...flowers in my parents yard, trees, houses, birds, my dog, the beach, rocks, anything! Even
when I was playing with my friends I was the one that never needed an actual game or anything....
I could happily make up my own (I did love Chinese jumpropes, though...did you all have those?).

Both of my parents had to work full-time when my brother and I were kids. I know some people will say they feel sorry for us that my Mom was not a stay-at-home Mom, but don't. We had a very rich and wonderful childhood. My parents made the most of every second they could with us, and while they were at work we were very fortunate to have our two grandmothers and our grandfather to watch us. We never got placed with some teenage babysitter or at a daycare. Summers were THE best times to have our grandparents around! We spent every day of the week at Salem Willows. In the 70's and 80's this was THE place to spend a summer day. They had everything...beach, coves, boats, a great pier, arcades, amusement rides, all kinds of food, outdoor entertainment, gift shops...it was fabulous.

So, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (when YiaYia Bessie and Papou John worked) our YiaYia Helen (Mom's Mom) would take us to the beach, and we would be there all day. Thursday and Friday (when YiaYia Helen worked) our YiaYia Bessie and Papou John would take us. Then on Sundays we would ALL go: my parents, all 3 grandparents, my uncle, my brother and me, sometimes great-uncles and great-aunts and cousins of my parents. Instead of sitting on the beach we would sit under this huge old willow tree right off the beach. We would have lounge chairs, grills, coolers...and we weren't the only family doing this. On Sundays it was huge family groups everywhere!

But even with all of this activity my imagination never stopped. I still always had my pencils and paper with me. I could wander off and sit on the sea wall and draw picture after picture of the ocean. I could find a little tidepool and stare endlessly for hours in to it finding every little creature I could and making up a story in my mind about what they were doing. When the tide came in and we could dive off the rocks, I was suddenly an Olympic swimmer, going for the gold! Or a famous actress filming a scene in the water. Or a damsel in distress being rescued by, oh, probably someone like Scott Baio or Starbuck from "Battlestar Galactica" or some other cheesy 70's/80's "hunk."

On days when we were home, I could sit in the yard near the flowers or under a tree, or right out in the blazing sun (my brother and I were so lucky...we never burned!). I would draw, of course. I would write silly stories. I would listen to Duran Duran over and over again and plan my inevitable wedding to John Taylor because dontcha know it was only a matter of time before he spotted me in the crowd at one their concerts and he jumped off the stage and swept me away! :-) Oh the stories I spun that involved the members of Duran Duran!!!

There were a lot of kids in our neighborhood and we did play with them, too. The girls could play Chinese jumprope for hours. All the boys and girls used to play this crazy game of hide-and-seek on our bikes. The whole neighborhood was fair game. And we would play till dark. Kids don't do that now, or they can't. That makes me sad. We could literally leave the house in the morning and not come in till dinner time, when parents would stand on the front step and call for us kids to come in. And we would....because we knew as soon as we ate dinner we could go back out and play till the street lights came on. We ran through sprinklers. We played kickball and dodgeball and red rover. No one had video games or computers or 300 channels on TV to distract them. There is only one summer day from my teens that I distinctly remember the TV taking precedence over anything else, just ONE day. That was July 13, 1985, the day the Live-Aid concert took place in the USA and the UK, simultaneously.

Like I said in the beginning of the post...simpler times, simple pleasures.

I would love to hear about the summers of your youth! Please share!

Please note: images used on this post are stock images from Google and are not my own.


Robyn said...

Great post girly! I loved what you shared! I loved when I was a kid the eating watermelon in the those portable pools down in Mississippi! Blistering heat but there we were eating and spitting seeds! Loved it and had a wonderful tan to boot!

Tina ~ Blessings Friends. said...

Love it, girl!! and I LOVED chinese jump ropes. Didn't have a neighbor hood, you'd be amazed at what a country girl with no people could conjure up. I loved hearing about your summer. Thanks for sharing some more "Kristen" with us.
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it great to have those kind of memories???
I was lucky too as a child. We grew up in a development where we just ran aound all day playing all sorts of games. It was just grand.

My kids have memories of that also tho they had just our yard to run around in...no development for them but still wide open spaces to run, play, be a kid.

Great post, Kristen!!

Anonymous said...

I am afraid I spent most of my summers even as a child whining and pissing amnd moaning about the humididty!

Much love from your redneck sister!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Loved Tina's too!

Robyn said...

Hey girly come check out the post I just did...it is a hoot! And I know your have a great sense of humor! Come by!