Were the good old days really good?
In the 1960s, growing up in New York City meant enjoying summer during a simpler time. Simpler by virtue of less technology, but also simpler because we didn’t have much in the way of money or possessions.
The heat and humidity were miserable because we didn’t own an air conditioner. No pool. And a black-and-white television with so few channels that I could count them on the fingers of one hand.
Summer relief meant connecting the lawn sprinkler to the hose. We would spend the afternoon running through the sprinkler as we listened for the music that signaled the afternoon arrival of the ice cream truck.
Summer nights without an air conditioner were even worse. But sometimes those nights became a family adventure. When it was really bad, the whole family would sleep in the backyard, hoping to catch the slightest breeze. We slept on lounge chairs, cots – whatever was available. A camping adventure without a tent!
Forget television. We only had a few channels, and mom had strict rules limiting the programming we watched. Instead, I spent summer days catching butterflies, reading books, roller-skating, bicycle-riding, and playing stoop ball. Family outings to the shore were a special treat.
Sounds like I led a deprived childhood, doesn’t it? But I didn’t. My childhood summers were spent enjoying the outdoors, playing with friends, and using my imagination.
Those old-fashioned summers weren’t perfect. The older I get, the more I prefer the comfort of an air conditioned home. And more television channels bring more choices (although the multiplied channels seem to multiply visual trash, but that’s a whole other blog post!) Bicycling, roller skating, and stoop ball were low-tech activities, but they helped us stay fit and healthy.
As we move through the 2018 summer season, consider introducing your children to some old-fashioned activities that remind you of the good old days. Because, in many ways, those good old days really were good.
And someday, this summer will be their “good old days.”
What’s your favorite summer memory?
What’s your child’s favorite summer memory? You might be surprised by the answer!