Friday, May 22, 2009

Remember your favorite summer?

Back in my day...

Memorial day came at the very end of May. It marked the end of another school term, which would not resume until after Labor Day. Three glorious months free. Those were fabulous days.

Remember your very best summer?

My mom had a very laisse faire attitude about child rearing in the summer. Her attitude was sleep as long as you want, do your chores, dinner was at 5:30. I have no idea what happened if you were late for dinner. It must have been awful, since no one ever did it.

When I think back on summer two stand out. First was that between 3 and 4 grade. We lived near Mrs. Blandings neighborhood. Absolute best was the summer between 8th grade and freshman year of high school.

The world was our oyster that summer. Right after school let out two friends and I pooled our grass cutting money and paid $25 cash to buy our first car. If memory serves it was an 1957 Peugeot. A most purposefully contrary car. Remember we were maybe 13.

We had to be very quiet about it. No way we could get it licensed, and the car needed everything repaired. I did learn to drive a stick shift in it though. Over chocolate colas at the bowling alley a bit of sense hit us and we arranged to trade it.

Some older guy had a boat we was willing to trade for our Pug. Sight unseen on all our parts. He put the boat on a trailer, which happened to be a wooden hydrofoil looking thing. It is probably worth a fortune now, if it still lives. New boy dropped it off, and took the Pug home with him.

So imagine, maybe we're 13/14, just sold our transportation, now we had a boat, in the middle of the city, 20 + miles from water. The boat seemed like a good idea at the time, because one of us thought they knew someone with a trolling motor we could use. Turns out we didn't.

The boat was a pleasant diversion for a few days, until friends mom began making noise about the boat killing her grass, and half a dozen boys eating her out of house and home all afternoon. The boat had to go.

So if you were among 3 barely high school boys with a boat to be rid of what would you do?

You're exactly right.

We traded it. This time for a case of beer and and a carton of cigs.

Took our stash to our hideout, divied up the cigs and began work on the beer. I had my first and last cig that day. Gave the rest to my mom, who never told my dad.

Spent the rest of the summer playing baseball in the school yard.



Martha said...

I remember summers as a kid -- and when we lived in the city (not far from Mrs. B's neighborhood) we didn't get out until the first week of June -- but we did have 3 months off and it was wonderful . . . for a kid. The neighborhood was full of kids and we played and played and played. It was a great time to be a kid.

Kathy said...

My most care-free summers were my elementary years. Out the door in the morning, dinner was 6, and anything could happen in-between. Musical productions on the picnic table in the backyard, a can of paint for the clubhouse (under the kitchen door landing), maybe even a thrilling, dark, damp exploration of the sewers between my street and the neighborhood park, emerging on the creek where we turned rocks over looking for crawdads.

preppyplayer said...

Honestly, that should be a movie, I can picture it.
Having a twelve, almost thirteen year old boy as my youngest child- I thank you for reminding me what they are capable of... I will be on guard.

Have a glorious Memorial Day weekend, start to summer!

ADG said...

Toad, that was a great story. My childhood summer memories are rich with similar stories. One thing that sparked a memory was your reference to grass mowing money. I had quite the lawn biz going as a kid. I remember talking to my mom and dad about going up from three bucks to four bucks on my largest lawns. I remember being scared to tell my clients. I then remember my ten years younger brother, getting twenty bucks for the same lawns ten years later.

Ahh...local market forces at work.

Katy McIntyre said...

That story makes me smile.

Summer is a Verb said...

I still pretend schools out every year this time. And, I still dread September.

Mrs. Blandings said...


Anonymous said...

What wonderful memories you've brought forth. For the last few years I began to like autumn and winter more than summers and pondered whether it had to do with maturity . . . summer is for the young? But alas, this year we're under major construction, yard & house are a mess, so my 4 year old twins and I spent the morning building sand castles/mud pies in their sand box and now it will be on to washing the car and spraying the hoses on one another. Our Corgi may get a bath as well . . . let the summer fun begin - what an instant rejuvenator. Thanks for the memories!- KBN

Kathleen said...

Very cleaver and enterprising.

Free Kansas said...

With the Toad gone on holiday let us no longer dwell on the past. Let us speak of how we all kick off this glorious summer. Mine starts with 24 Hot Dogs, 20 Hamburgers, 4 slabs of Pork Ribs, and the new Horseshoe pits in the backyard. Also, there might be 1 wife that is a little upset about the number of guests that I have invited. What all do you have planned for your bonus weekend day?