I remember how the approaching summer was once so exciting. As a child I had many things to look forward to. I took swimming lessons every summer. We would take a family vacation as well. In July was the county fair. Around a week before school was out we would stop doing school work and just do fun things. The last day of school was always a half day.
Summers were spent outside. On a typical day we would play with friends in the morning and go to the pool in the afternoon. After the pool we would play outside until dark. In our neighborhood we had three kids that lived next door. Two girls and a boy. We always played with the girls. I don’t remember the brother being around much. He was younger. I do remember teasing him once by digging holes in the yard and telling him we were going to China.
Sometimes I would go and ride my bike over to a friend’s house. They had lots of kids in their neighborhood. They would play games as a group. Chalk the corner was one of my favorites.
Family vacation were always taken by car. After years of my sister and I fighting in the back seat, my dad made a little bench to put where our feet went and put a mattress in the back and we had a bed. (I’m sure he was hoping we would sleep the whole trip.) I don’t think they had Benadryl back then. If I was my kid I would have dosed me. (Did I mention I was a brat? Pretty sure I had ADHD.) We would go to visit relatives most of the time. We went to Michigan, Minnesota, Wyoming and New Mexico.
We also went places where we had no relatives, such as, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Colorado, and South Carolina. When we went on vacations we would see cool things like, Mt Rushmore, Pikes Peak, the Ocean, Myrtle Beach, Kitty Hawk, and the world’s largest ball of twine. We went to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico at the time that the game show of the same name was on. I was hoping to see Bob Barker.
There was something always memorable about each trip. Colorado – being bucked by a horse. I also bought the coolest choker (necklace) that I still have. It is very 70’s. Michigan – being bucked by a horse. New Mexico – I saw my first Venus Fly Trap. My dad and I also had the flu while we were there. South Carolina – Dad broke his tailbone showing off in the ocean. My sister and I were eaten alive by mosquitos while camping. Texas – Six Flags, my sister and I were stuck on the top of a ride. As usual she cried, which caused me to cry. Arkansas – Dogpatch USA-We rode on a rollercoaster. Dad said it was it swayed the whole time we were on it. We weren’t allowed to ride it a second time.
One summer my Grandma Alice, my sister and I, flew to Michigan to stay with our cousins. My first time on a plane. Grandma and my sister sat by each other. I sat by a man that I didn’t know. I talked to him the whole flight. I am sure at sometime he contemplated opening the cabinet door and jumping. The most memorable thing about our visit was going to their County Fair. It was huge. They had three times the rides we did.
Our county fair was always fun. That is a story in it self so I will leave it for another time.
I had a wonderful childhood. I miss the carefree life of the 70’s. When everything was much simpler. Growing up in a small town may not offer as much as a big city but we always found things to do. We always felt safe. We knew all of our neighbors. My parents were and still are the greatest. My sister and I fought like crazy as kids but we could always count on each other. We have grown to be good friends.