Summer Memories Series-Part 6 with Granny Beth

5 Aug

Part 6 of our Summer Memories Series is brought to us by

Granny Beth of A Warm Hearth.

summer memories

Summer.  My childhood summers seem so different from those of my grandchildren.  I don’t know if the world was safer then (I mean we did have that pesky dinosaur problem) or not but it seemed safer.  Moms all around the neighborhood kicked us out of the house after breakfast and we didn’t come home to stay until we each heard our Mother’s unique call for dinner.  My golden summer memories are all of wonderful times wandering, independent of adults: no teachers and no parent’s googly eye’s reminding me of homework.  So here are some snapshots of a time that seems so long ago and far away.

fishing girl

Age: 5

Time: morning

People: Brian (6) and David (5)

What happened:  The “old” guy across the street had a kitchen garden.  After playing G.I. Joe (they wouldn’t let me be a soldier too until I beat them up – in that 5 year old, 1950’s way) Brian, David and I planned our secret mission to get across the street and get some of the “old” guy’s carrots.  Stealthily we crept.  Stealthily we found the carrots.   Stealthily we each pulled one, brushed of the dirt and tasted our prize.  Holy smoke , fresh pulled carrots tasted good.  We forgot about stealth, sat down in the garden, and feasted…until the “old” guy caught us. While memory gets blurry after that, I still remember the thrill and the taste.  No carrot has ever tasted as good as those.

Age:  7 – 9

Time: Lunches

Who:  Myself and Jan (my BFF)

What:  Jan had finished roaming the neighborhood, exploring the woods,  and it was lunch time.  In the fashion of the time, no one locked their doors, so we just would wander in and out of houses.  If someone was home, they fed us.  If they weren’t we checked out what was there and took what we wanted.  Of course, we tried to leave the kitchens we visited neat and tidy…but we were kids.  Sometimes I’d be home sitting on the back porch watching the summer morning pass and in would walk  Suzie B, Jodi, Susan P, or Lisa from up the street.  I’d hear Mom welcome the kids and offer a PB&J, soup or a summer fruit.  After lunch, she’d shoo the kids (and me) back out into the sun.  It was no trouble and the neighborhood Mom’s all shared the responsibility for feeding the kids.  Every one’s house was a haven. By the way, my favorite lunch stop, The Heyn’s.  They had soups my mom never bought and Campbell’s doesn’t make any more like stockpot, which was really tripe and it still one of my favorites.


Age 10

Time:  early mornings.

Who: The new guy around the corner.

What:  Mr. and Mrs. Hatton, across the street, a different street from the days of the carrot-stealing caper, had a large pond filled with catfish.  I was a tomboy (betcha couldn’t guess by the way I tackled my friends during the carrot-stealing caper).  The new guy had fishing skills.  No one fished in my family, so I told the new guy that I show him where to catch catfish if he showed me how to fish.

The air was so warm.  The sky, a crisp, cloudless blue.  The new guy would sit on our front porch with two poles, and a can of worms and old bread.  He just sat waiting for me to come outside.  My dog, Willy, let me know when he arrived.  Dad was already at work, but it was early enough for Mom to be still asleep.  With jellied toast in hand, Willy and I set off with the “new guy”.  Everything was so quiet, except for the morning birds.  Our rural roads weren’t yet buzzing with bikes and bands of roaming kids.  My world narrowed down to where and what I could see and it was huge.   Alex, the Hatton’s Saint-Bernard ran down to the pond to meet us.  We hooked our worms, tossed our lines, and sat.  It was so still.  We didn’t talk.  We just sat and fished until it got too warm. When it was time to go home, after the sun had risen high enough to light up the pond, Willy and I waved  good-bye , crossed the street  back to home, kissed Mom good morning, and plopped myself in front of the TV….at least until, Mom told me to go back out again.

Finally, summer meant reading.  I could read whatever I wanted.  My favorite reading place was up a pine tree.  When there was nothing else to do and the afternoon was too, too hot, I’d shimmy up the tree.  Each year I went a little higher and my books a little tougher.  Harriet the Spy, low branches.  Nancy Drew, higher.  Finally, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the climb was way up there.  Each summer, after trial and error, I’d claim my branch.  It had to be strong, wide, with crannies for crackers and Kool-Aid.  Breezes caught my hair and kept me cool.  The solitude offset brothers, sisters, and friends.  Without TV, each book transported me to worlds of adventure, mystery and romance.

I know that every day wasn’t ideal but those adventures, real and imagined, along with the independence of summers long gone are never far behind.  I’ve lived a life of both.  While I recognize that times have changed, I work hard at giving my grandkids the best of my summers.  Granddaughter and I are reading Harriet the Spy and getting in a world of trouble.  Yea, summer.

granny beth smiling
Granny Beth runs A Warm Hearth, a place to bring women together to create a life of health, joy, and love in our hearts and homes.  Follow her on FaceBook and “the Twitter“!

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