Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where Have All the Summers Gone?

One of the nice things about telecommuting is that you have nearly no distractions. So on a crazy busy week and a crazy busy day, you can realize 6 hours in that you haven't gotten up from your chair at all. And it's only noon. It's good for your productivity, but it's not good for your back! Today was such a day. So 6 hours in I decided to walk to the mailbox so that my joints remembered what moving was like.

It's hot right now. Triple digits for more days in a row than in many previous years. But it's really nice out. Dry, sunny and still. That's how I like it. I'm thinking the drought might have inhibited the cicadas this year, which is fine by me, because as I set off for the mailbox I noticed it was really quiet.

Then I noticed it was really quiet.

Then I got a little freaked out.

What in the world do kids do in the summer now?

When I was little, I hung out every single day, rain or shine, with my friend David from two doors down. We watched Jason and the Argonauts 80 squillion times, we played kickball, we stole our neighbor's vegetables (I think the statute of limitations has expired), we dug a large hole in the yard for an underground cave that we discovered led to grounding, we caught crawdads, we watched tadpoles and fish in the pond down the street, we played hide and seek, we found puppies and kittens we brought home to dismayed parental units.We were outside ALL the time.

There were GINORMOUS football games with all the kids in the hood - twenty or more kids, ranging from 5 years old to 15. I remember establishing the endzones in David's yard EVERY time even though they never changed. Our hide and seek games were just as big, with sort of nebulous endings, as people got called in for the night towards the end of them when it got dark. The mom yell at sundown was heard all up and down our street.

We walked to the 7-Eleven for Slurpees when we could get away with it, even though we were forbidden to cross the street. (Sorry Mom - I know you're reading - but as usual, I was right :) we lived. Plus, it was very hot.).

But now - I see no kids outside anymore. We have tons of kids in our neighborhood but what in the world are they doing in the summers? Why aren't they out catching lightning bugs and stealing my vegetables and playing hide and seek? I've not heard a mom yell yet at sundown. Did we forget to transfer hide and seek and kickball to the next generation?

I sure hope not.

Here's a picture of some of our gang on Easter. 

Notice that I am dressed for church and yet felt the need for a box of animal crackers. Notice that David, who was Catholic and apparently went to a later service than Lutherans, has no shoes, but he does have a pearl-handled gun. Notice I'm all HOLD MY HAND and he's all I HAVE SOMETHING IN MY EYE.

I don't remember everyone, but I do remember that these friends filled my days with play, and imagined worlds, and games and competitions and joy. I remember being outside - all summer long.
Accessories: Corner Rounder, White Gel Pen, Miscellaneous gel pens from Costco, Scalloped Oval Punch, Oval Punch

Go outside tomorrow. Take your kids with you. There's cool stuff out there.


  1. Great post.
    I was just discussing this with a neighbor today. I live in an area where kids should be outside all day...climbing trees, playing in the stream, or just riding bikes in the cul-de-sac. It's sad that the kids are missing out on creating sweet summer memories.

  2. We LIVED outside, through High School. Rode bikes, went to the park, played in kiddie pools, sold lemonade, collected bugs. I feel really sad for kids these days. They don't know how to PLAY! And I'm not talking Wii, I mean unplugged get-your-knees-dirty play. :(

    WV: ametem
    (sing along now) ametem at a party and my heart stood still, a doo run run, yeah, a doo run run ...

  3. Well....clearly you were not a Catholic if you were actually allowed to EAT before church - haha! But thanks for bringing back the memories of childhood and time spent outside! It's sad that the world has come to be such a place that we are nervous even letting our children play in their own back yards alone!
    Hmm maybe someone in his neighborhood needs to arrange a game of Flashlight Tag....

  4. You are right, Lydia, there are no kids running and playing in my area either - day or night. As you, I was outside all the time, riding my bike, playing tag, baseball, hide 'n seek, water guns in the summer, etc. Here, they are all in the air conditioning watching tv or playing video games. They don't know what they are missing.

  5. Oh I miss those summers too! I have such wonderful memories, and I agree...not the same at all for kids these daughter missed out because I had to work every day so she was in camp or whatever....sigh....

  6. We weren't allowed to cross the street either :/ We had to 'check in' every 15 minutes....but otherwise, outside all day. Filthy, barefoot, fun.
    My kids & I ride across town on our bikes to day camp every day (about 5 km each way) and everyone is amazed. And the complaining the other kids do about being outside most of the day...totally bizarre. And some of them bring their handheld video games with them - um, doesn't that totally defeat the purpose of camp? Duh.
    One day I'll stop starting half my sentences with 'and'. And I mean that.
    Love that little hopscotch - and the huge grins on those faces :)

  7. I'm back with more....
    flying kites
    neighborhood softball, volleyball etc...
    cowboys and indians and cops and kids aren't allowed to play with guns but they are allowed to "kill" people in video games.
    Mother May I and Simon Says
    Dodge Ball

  8. I think that's the main reason we have a huge childhood obesity problem. Can't burn many calories sitting in front of the television or sitting playing video games. My daughters are in their 30's and when they were little there weren't many kids on our block for them to play with but we (the mothers) made sure they got out and played. When I was a kid we went outside from morning until 5:00 when my dad came home. We were constantly playing. And if it was nasty out, we played in each other's hallways. Too many of us to be in somebody's apartment. I was a City kid (NYC). When we moved from the City to the suburbs when I was 16 (I thought I was going to die!) it was like a culture shock. I was still in the State of NY and things were 100% different. NOBODY outside, not a soul. That, and no noise, was torture. I couldn't sleep for a long time because when you live in the City you hear people till all hours of the day and night, airplanes flying overhead, the trains if you live close enough to the station. All I heard was the crickets! I eventually got used to the suburbs and live there now but I'll always be a "City" girl having grown up in Brooklyn and Rockaway NY before I went to the sticks in Massapequa (Long Island) NY. And, we didn't play with toys when we were outside unless it was a ball. We played kickball, handball, stoopball, hide and seek, ghost, skelly which was a game with a chalked sidewalk and bottle caps, There was a soda factory across the street and much to the dismay of the owners, we (about 20 of us!) climbed the trucks and sometimes emptied some of the seltzer bottles. Damn kids - lol! We were only allowed across the street if somebody "crossed" us and no going off the block unless you got permission and then it was just to go around the corner to get ices at the local bakery. Freshly made ices, none of this garbage they sell today. Oh yeah, when I say block, there were a total of about 50 6 family houses on my block. LOTS of kids and it was great. I had the absolute best childhood. I can't remember where I put things sometimes but I can give you details about my childhood from the time I was 2 - no kidding. The kids today are really missing out and the obesity thing (really a shame), moms, if you don't have garbage in your house they won't eat it while they're home. Just say no and give them a piece of fruit, just saying. Whew, this turned out to be a mini series and believe me, I have more stories but I won't bore you all into a mini coma.

  9. Saw another post here and I forgot alot of other games we played. The post just reminded me.

  10. love this post, and how you can take a stamp set i would never choose in a million years and make it adorable.

    btw, what ever happened to david? you've mentioned him as an integral part of your childhood, but you've never said if you still are friends with him today. just wonderin'. if you know where he lives, i'd send him this card.

  11. You know those posts you read that just have the "it" that makes you go "Ah, I just read the best post & it was all there. Complete & lovely & truthful and all the other things 'it' can be"? You got IT! Thanks for sharing it.

  12. P.s. How could I forget to comment on your amazing card. It has "Mom Yell" written all over it. The primary colours on the kraft ROCK and that chalky hop scotch: Brilliant!

  13. VERY good observations, indeed!

  14. Love this post. Reminds me of my childhood as well. I was going to say the usual, "video games/computers" stuff that kids are addicted to these days. And that is probably SOME of the problem.

    But I also think it's more that both parents work now; or there are more single parent homes so kids aren't hanging out at home all day everyday like I could when I was a kid. They are at "day camps" or child care someplace. Society has changed a lot since I was young.

    But really love your card; and the mention of the "Mom yell"....classic.

  15. Your post brought back great summer memories. Like meeting a neighboring kid for the first time when she was sailing her Barbie in a mud puddle outside her house, hating her backyard cause Pete the duck would appear out of nowhere and nip at your ankles, getting a bee sting near one eye and not rushing home so when my mom saw the eye later she almost jumped out of her skin...ahhh, the memories we keep.

    WV: junce - July is nice, but Junce my favorite summer month.

  16. Wow! I really enjoyed reading your blog and all the comments attached. I also relate as we were outside too. Loved playing kick the can, dodge ball, kickball, riding bikes and skating with a skate key around our necks. The Miller boys, on our block, used to charge us a nickel for wheelbarrow rides in their backyard. My 2 older brothers were always the cowboys, I was the Indian. We all played army men in the dirt. I had a great childhood and it was wonderful to take a little trip down memory lane. Thanks! Loved your card too!

  17. I love the card - I wonder what would happen if you redouske it to a 3x3 format?
    I was hoping you would be willing to share with me how you did two things. I am sure thay are obvious answers but, they are eluding me none the less :). 1. How did you get the white hopscotch to show up so well and 2. what did you used to do the solid coloring on the children (especially the hair)? Thank you so much for your time an talent - I love to learn new things.
    Thank you, Mandi


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