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Today I have been reflecting on fun experiences in summertime when I was a child. The memories are presented in no special order and they cover a variety of ages, as early as five. My fifth birthday was a few months after my family moved to the countryside in 1954. All I am sharing today happened at home and were mostly free of charge.
* Falling asleep to the song of the whippoorwill.
* Wearing a sleeveless cotton print nightgown and sleeping beneath a sheet blanket.
* Feeling the grass, the ground, even twigs and dirt against the soles of my bare feet.
* Watching butterfly ballet performances on the “summer lilac” buddleia bush.
* Lying on my back in the grass of our front yard while watching clouds. And hearing the slow creaking of very tall pine trees swaying and the caw-caw-cawing of crows.
* Practicing cartwheels.
* Running through the cool spray of a sprinkler on a hot and humid afternoon.
* Hosting doll picnics in the yard. My sister and I would gather up all of our dolls, even the tiniest 2-inch ones + teddy bears and other such critters, and give them rides in our red wagon. After whatever we “fed” them, we read them stories as they napped in the shade of oak and ironwood trees.
* Reading Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, and the Hardy Boys mystery series.
* Celebrating with our visiting cousins by having “fizzies” parties. My favorite fizzy flavor was grape.
* Appreciating rainbows, the ones in the sky and the ones that showed up when looking at the sprinkler mist from just the right angle.
* Cherishing fireflies. Aren’t they so magical, regardless of how old we are? Whether I was gazing at their twinkling light show, chasing them, or thrilling to the feel and sight of one walking on my hand, fireflies always brightened my heart. They still do.
As I look over this list, I can say I would still enjoy all of these activities, and do enjoy the ones that are possible. Two come to mind as currently not available. It has been many years since I’ve heard the call of a whippoorwill, even living in the country again. And, even though there is a younger part of me who thinks she would like to do it, I have not been brave enough to attempt a cartwheel.
What were some of your joyful childhood moments in summer?