It's Week 31 of our Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Please join us each Sunday as we share our memories of childhood. Your descendants will be thankful that you did! Write here as a comment, or on your own blog, or in a private journal, but please write!
It's almost time for my two oldest grandchildren to come for their annual summer week-long visit. Every year the dates have to change due to conflicting scheduling and their 7 day visit usually ends up being 3 or 4. That's because they are booked every summer in Dance Camp, Drama Camp, Archaeology Camp, Science Camp, Computer Camp, and on and on it goes. They are never bored, always busy and they love it. But that got me thinking about my own summers away from school.
We didn't have camps or activities of any kind. No one babysat us. I had a key on a piece of string which I wore around my neck from the time I was 10. I knew that I better not ever take that string off my neck! My mom and dad both worked and I never had a babysitter in my life. Was there such a thing?
Summer came, school was closed from mid June until early September. And we did our own thing. I read books, I sunned in the yard (no sunscreen and no knowledge of the damage sun could do), I played with my friends, I went to the creek to catch minnows, I sat in my bedroom with one or two of my girlfriends for hours, talking about us, our parents, our siblings and boys.
We explored. We used to pack a picnic lunch, I'd grab my dad's old army canteen and fill it with water and off we'd go, hiking in the countryside that surrounded our town. Sometimes we'd try to get to the Provincial Park which was over 10 miles away. We never made it though. Frequently we'd head for the abandoned house on the outskirts of town - the one our parents warned us to never go near as the hobos and tramps used it as a resting point on their journeys. And the house was dangerous as many of the floorboards had rotted away. But that just made it even more of an adventure so off we'd go.
One of our favourite but forbidden excursions was to hike out to the old abandoned house and beyond, along the railroad tracks and across the railroad trestle to the woods. We were so stupid. I don't think we had any understanding of the danger in crossing that railroad trestle. We stopped when we got a good scare one day. We were amost at the half way point of the trestle when we felt it shaking. We knew what that meant - a train was coming! We had nowhere to go except turn around and race back as fast as we could. The trestle was too high to jump from. Boy were we scared. I remember lying on the grass panting for breath as the train whooshed by. We never crossed the trestle again.
We didn't have cell phones or video games and we didn't watch television during those summer days. No one called to check up on us. Now I shake my head at what we got up to and the freedom we had. But it sure was fun.