Playmates weren’t a shortage when
Big families were the norm back then.
Baseball games in big backyards,
We played all day and we played hard.
Friends and I would race our bikes
Name picture clouds and go on hikes;
We swam in a quarry without getting sick,
At times drank water from country cricks.
In summer, shoes just seemed all wrong--
We jumped our ropes to jump-rope songs;
We climbed trees to where they swayed,
“Keep them safe,” our mothers prayed.
Days were fueled with imaginations
That surpassed most expectations;
Blanket tents draped mom’s clothesline
Fresh picked berries, mmmmm, divine.
We rode the jeep that sprayed bug fumes
So hungry mosquitoes would meet their dooms,
Smaller kids piled on sibling’s knees,
We were crammed or rather tightly squeezed.
The days we had to spend inside
Were due to rain (most mothers cried).
They knew too soon we’d all be bored
‘Cause outside is where spirits soared.
Fresh wetted sand meant easy molding,
But sand stained pants earned a scolding.
We’d squish our toes in gooey cool mud,
Then splash in puddles as it dried to crud.
The playhouse an uncle helped dad build
Served as cabin in summer--we were thrilled.
Flashlights and popcorn, sleepover delights--
We laughed and told stories into the night.
We rode our old bikes to a farm ‘cross the way
Eggs--25 cents/dozen--mom’s ledger would say.
At dusk we’d play hide ‘n seek in the corn
“Careful not to break stalks,” dad would warn.
We each took our turns at mowing the grass,
An acre of lawn made this a task.
I loved that smell, a sweet summer scent
Dad loved it too, he’d often comment.
We had swing sets, see-saws and bird poles to climb,
One summer dad made jeep skates sublime;
Roller skate wheels screwed to wood scraps--
Kinda like skateboards, but on these we sat.
Our hands were the power providing the speed,
Any smooth surface worked well indeed.
Cross-legged we sat zooming our wheels,
That summer we laughed through dare-devil squeals.
Summers were fun with special events--
Picnics and fireworks and big circus tents.
Relatives came, we’d go to the zoo,
Then we’d go visit a weekend or two.
You didn’t need money to have a great time,
But sometimes we’d go to the old Five and Dime.
Trading cards came in neat little packs,
And amusement came with a ball and some jacks.
I could go on ‘bout summers of fun
But don’t want to get windy and bore anyone,
The point is that when summer was here
Back in the 50’s, that was the best time of year.
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