I remember when childhood was a time of simple pleasures that actually satisfied and the seasons were anticipated with excitement for what they represented. Change! Change brought the transferring of joys from the departing season to the evolving one, the environment due to summers spent at Grandma’s, and the games we played, but most of all the sounds and scents that became etched in my mind which trigger so many of my childhood memories.
Spring came with its promise of new life, ushered in on March winds so anticipated by young kite fliers. The pungent scent of April showers and the chill of winter gave way to warmer days with the realization that school would soon be out, caused young minds to dream of the joys of summer. The scent of fresh turned soil as gardens were prepared for planting caused visions of eating warm tomatoes straight from the garden, the taste of a variety of fruit plucked right from the trees, and corn picked fresh and cooked for that evening’s supper.
Soon spring ushered in the hot days of summer that stretched out welcoming arms to children at play with the sound of little girl giggles as they race around each other in games of tag and hide-and-go-seek; and of course playing house and making mud pies. We actually took time to smell the flowers, hear the drone of bees and watch spiders weave their webs, all with fear and delight. Bike riding, with a playing card attached to the spokes with a clothes pin, caused young minds to feel the thrill of racing motorcycles. Dinner and dishes done was the time for neighborhood children to gather in the street to play “kick the can” “red rover” and “hopscotch.” No need to worry about traffic since so few people owned “machines”. The dreaded street lights heralded the end of another day of play.
Relief from the heat on muggy summer nights came by sleeping in front of the open living room door. And I must not forget to mention that churches in the summer would have been unbearable if it were not for the cardboard fans furnished by the local funeral parlor to remind us we would probably all die of the heat if it were not for their generous gift. Then there were the little fans that sat on the dashboards of “machines” to cool the driver. I always thought they were used only by the wealthy, as everyone I knew used the “440” version of air conditioning, four windows down and driving 40 miles an hour
Once again, summer gave way to crisp cool days and the pageant of fall, as our Creator extended forth His hands, and with a flit of His fingers, rained down an array of colors that caused awe-inspired wonder from all. The scent of fall apples and burning leaves are all an interregnal part of the season. Hauling mounds of coal from the curb or drive to coal bins was a necessary chore done with something less than enthusiasm. Raking leaves into piles, then bounding across the lawn to leap directly into the center, scattering hours of work back across the yard, was more fun than the need to rake it all again.
All too soon, fall faded into the frosty days of winter. Fresh fallen snow covered with a fine dusting of coal was perfect for making snow angels and snow cones. Siblings racing in from hours of play created the daily fight for the few hot registers that brought toasty warmth to their nearly frozen bodies.
Twilight brought skies painted with hues of pink, purple and orange on a canvas of pending darkness. The earth seemed asleep in frozen stillness, with quietness closing in upon itself. Drawing the last breath of daylight, night descended like a curtain on the last act of a play. Stars and moon shown so brightly upon the fresh fallen snow, one reveled in the light of night, its beauty to behold.
Holiday preparations and the anticipated visits from hordes of relatives and friends was a time of breathless excitement. Christmas morning came early, with a flurry of children racing to the tree to see what Santa brought. Breakfast over brought a day of play with new toys, games, and arguments as what belonged to whom. Some things never change.
Then, once again, the howling winter winds gave way to gentle spring breezes and the cycle of life began again.