Sunday, August 10, 2008

Summer Days

When I first typed the title I actually typed "Simmer Days", but my teacher misspelling radar kicked in and I fixed it. But, "Simmer" has been pretty accurate the past couple of weeks. Yesterday and today were nice, at least, temperature wise, but it rained most of this afternoon. No problem, because we needed it.

Summer sure is different from when I was a kid. We lived out on the north side of Little River and we didn't go to town much after school was out. Looking back from the perspective of a 54 (almost 55)-year old father of four and grandfather of three with two more on the way, I totally understand that now. There were six of us, and we were pretty rambunctious, to put it kindly. Fights were not uncommon. In fact, Cay won a pretty good many for a number of years. We had a Volkswagen van with a school bus seat in it. We filled the seat, sat on the engine compartment in the back, or sat on the floor. Seat belts? Not even for the driver and passenger seats. When we went to Daddy's Master's graduation from Northeast he put a kitchen chair in it for Grandma McClure. The floor was metal and driving down a road covered in pea gravel would make your head vibrate. Needless to say, no AC either. That's what windows were for. At one time we also had a big Buick Wildcat, but 6 kids fill up one of those pretty quick, too.

Since we didn't go to town much (once or twice a month to see Grandma and Grandad Godwin), we amused ourselves on the riverbank, in the woods, playing (or fighting) with neighbor kids, reading, playing under the house, etc, etc. I didn't like to go barefoot much, but the others did. Of course, even tennis shoes won't stop a big old thorn, so every now and then Mama would have to operate to get one out. The victim would never stay still because digging around with a needle to get that thorn out hurt like the devil! There was usually an appreciative crowd, too.

No AC in the house, either, but there was a big attic fan that would pull air in all the windows. Not necessarily cool air, but air. Many's the night we lay there with sweat trickling, covered with a sheet. Had to have the sheet to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Mike and I had a bunk bed with me on the top bunk and him on the bottom. It was positioned right by the window, with the top part of the window lowered and the bottom part raised so we could get some air. Whew! The bunk prompted a few fights, too. I guess it offends someone if the person on the top bunk steps on them when they get down. Who knew? Anyway, we survived.

The Bookmobile was always a highlight during the summer. For the unanointed, a Bookmobile is a big van (they'd be called an RV now) with bookshelves crammed with books from the town library that covered a route down all the country roads and lanes so the people out in the country could get library books. It was heaven to us, because we all read voraciously. The Bookmobile ladies had to be some of the most patient in the world, to put up with all us country kids. At our house, each one of us would get all the books allowed. By the time they came back in two weeks we'd have read all our books and all the books our brothers and sisters had checked out. Great stuff!

There's lots more, but it will have to wait for another time.


thecaillouets said...

we're waiting patiently for more. we love to hear about when you guys were growing up

jessica & co. said...

your childhood summers sound just about perfect. maybe we should move to a river and call it quits.

thecaillouets said...

i'm all about living on the river. maybe not to no ac part. i do wish a bookmobile drove through my neighborhoob