Sunday, April 1, 2012

When I Was Your Age...We Played Outside!

What do you do in the Summertime?
"Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you fish in a stream
Or lazily dream
On the banks as the clouds go by?
Is that what you do?  So do I."

The lyrics are from a Primary song we sang as children. The song mentions other peaceful activities, like swimming and swinging...outdoor activities that filled those endless summer days.  I miss seeing children play outside the way we did when the world was a little safer.  Kids today seem to have their schedules filled with team sports and organized play dates...or they spend a lot of time indoors.  I found some pictures on Google to illustrate some of the ways I played as a child.

Playing Outside...
Flying Kites...

A sure sign that spring was in the air was when Burgess Mercantile would put out a selection of kites.  Such a simple...inexpensive way to have fun!  I used to feel breathless and giddy, craning my neck to look up at my kite in the was almost as if I could fly! 

Yesterday was a very windy day!  My sister and I took a little walk in her new neighborhood to the playground.  Some children were having a wonderful time flying homemade kites...made from string tied to Walmart bags!  They actually flew...not very high, but I was so impressed!  They used their imaginations and what they had on hand.  That's how we used to play! 

Mud Pies...

Toys were simpler back then...just add imagination!  Or in our case...just add water!  Making mud pies was one of our favorite activities.  We gathered up our tools...bottle lids, doll dishes, mom's good spoons.  Then we scoured the yard for flowers and pretty rocks to decorate our little mud cakes.  Even the neighborhood boys would join in.  Their job was to secure the "currency" used to  purchase the finished products.  We used the leaves of Chinese Elm trees...they were the only "legal tender" we would accept.  Fortunately...the trees grew like weeds along the ditches and fence lines.

"Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you march in parades,
Or drink lemonades,
Or count all the stars in the sky?
Is that what you do?  So do I."

Kool Aid Stands...

When a kid needed some pocket money...for the movies or for when the carnival came to was so easy to set up a Kool Aid stand.   Picture this...a couple of little kids with a card table and a crayon lettered sign offering liquid refreshment for a mere 5 cents a cup.  Then you notice that the little kid's arm is clean, but red or purple stained up to his elbows...from mixing the Kool Aid "by hand."  You smile and give the well-meaning youngster a nickle and he pours you a taste later, pucker up!  There's no sugar in that punch...Kool Aid only came unsweetened!  He forgot to sneak the sugar from mom's kitchen.

If our moms wouldn't let us have a Kool Aid stand, we would scour the ditchbanks and the weeds on the side of the road for empty pop bottles.  Each one was worth 3 cents at Burgess Merc. and a couple of bottles would net us a small bag of penny candy to it was a very good summer!

...Do you march in parades?
The Flintstones...
My brother, Mike and I as Fred and Wilma.

Every year on the first weekend in August the town of Alpine, Utah celebrates Alpine Days.  When I was a little girl the parade was a big deal...I'll write more about it in another post.  One year my dad made us the best float ever!  It was a Flintstones car built around our old red wagon.  Mike and I were Fred and Wilma.  Our two little sisters, Patti and Sandy fit neatly into the back of the wagon. (If the picture looks a little face was scratched out, so I had to add in a new one!)

...Or count all the stars in the sky?
One summer evening when my dad was working on the Flintstone car, I came outside to watch.  It was a very clear night and the sky was full of stars.  We laid on a blanket looking up at the night sky...that was when my dad showed me all the constellations and told me their names.  Before that night I never realized that the stars made pictures.  Once I learned about the vastness of space, it never ceased to fill me with wonder...just as a blue sky tumbling with whipped cream clouds fills me with dreams.
When I hear that little Primary song I see in my mind vintage illustrations of children at play.  And...invariably...they are playing outside!
It's cold outside today...summertime, please come soon!

Where in Disneyland...?

Wendy of Wendy's Creative Connection got the right answer to the last picture.  It was a detail on Snow White's ride.


Loretta said...

Hi Shirley, what a nice stroll down memory lane! Those were the days, huh? Hugs Loretta

vintage grey said...

Beautiful post! I wish I were a kid for those summer days again! Thanks for sharing!! :) xo Heather

LBP said...

How I loved those innocent, lazy, summer days! I lived on a farm and my neighbor kept us while our parents worked. They had over 200 acres where we would roam and play! Totally different from your "town" childhood, but equally as sweet.



LBP said...

How I loved those innocent, lazy, summer days! I lived on a farm and my neighbor kept us while our parents worked. They had over 200 acres where we would roam and play! Totally different from your "town" childhood, but equally as sweet.



~~Carol~~ said...

Loved this post! I feel like I had a magical childhood, compared to kids nowadays. That makes me sound like a crotchety old lady, doesn't it?! There's a family down the street that has 5 kids, and you never see them play outside. They're always playing video games. Such a shame. I think the most fun a kid can have is using their imagination. Thanks for the sweet memories!

Little Susie Home Maker said...

Shirley, I just enjoy your posts so much! I love remembering summers of my youth, the arms stained to the elbow was mine, but from the Popsicle I got to get from the Popsicle man's truck that came through the neighborhood occasionally! If we could gather enough change when we heard his music and get back to the street when he was passing in front of our house? There seemed to be skill and chance involved here! Then we had to eat the quickly melting sticky treats outdoors as the colored sugar water ran down our hands to our elbows!
Thanks for a sweet post!

grammycarolynn (flickr) said...

Hi Shirley,
Oh, I loved this post! You described my childhood, too. I can remember playing outside in the corn stalks, and string bean teepees after dark in the summertime. Back then, it was safe to play outside alone or with my big sisters. We made mud pies, dug for worms, picked apples and played hide and seek. Oh, those were wonderful days filled with adventure.
I am stitching something pretty up for you and, soon, it will be in the mail...I can't wait til you get it, my friend!
ps. I made my first "official" post with a photo tonight on my new blog...Chenille Cottage"!

Betsy said...

Hi Shirley,

Once again your post took me down memory lane! We lived outside in the summertime and dreaded hearing our moms call us in when it got dark. We didn't even want to go in to go the bathroom or get a drink just in case our mom made us stay in for the night. Cherry popsicles in the wading pool is one of my favorite memories. I really do believe some kids today are missing out. I tell my kids that when they bring grandkids to visit me, they won't be watching tv or playing video games! I'll teach them to make clover chains and hollyhock dolls like we used to. Those were the days!


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