By Dorothy Doremus
As the lazy days of summer begin, I think back to a time when I was young and the world was all about being outside and playing the time away. Yes, folks, there was a time when children used to gather together without a pre-planned ďplay dateĒ. A time when a bat and ball were used to have fun instead of a computer or video games.
This struck me the other night when I was going for a walk in my neighborhood. The neighborhood is large and the complex has three playgrounds, a basketball court and tennis courts. Guess who was playing, not a single kid. Sad isnít it. I mean here we are, it's summer, there is no more school 'til September, so what is wrong with letting the kids out to play until they are so tired they actually beg to go to sleep at bedtime.
Times are much different then when I was a kid. We would wake up early on summer vacation, the first order of business, eating my bowl of Cheerios. The next being the much hated chores. Yes, there was a time when you did stuff around the house because parents told you to or else no playing, and of course you were not compensated for it. You did the household work because you lived under your parents' roof and since they were good enough to feed and clothe you that was enough. After the chores were done, we would scour the neighborhood looking to see who was around, and there was always someone around looking to play baseball, basketball or dodgeball which has now been outlawed at schools - donít ask me why, that was one of my favorite games growing up.
We would play sometimes even through lunch, because we didnít feel like eating. We were having too much fun. Mom would make sure that when we did appear at our house, which was the center of all things fun and exciting, that we had refreshments. Watermelon, which was so juicy it was like you had an entire glass of water out of one bite. Then a nice cool down swim in the pool. We had a pool in our yard, which was the best. Diving and jumping off the highest part of the pool deck was the most fantastic feat. We used to take turns to see who could come up with the most original dive and the one who did got to use the inner tube to float on.
Then, around dinner time, everyone would split for home, eat as fast as they could put the food in their mouths to come back over and play ball again. My parents had enough room that we had enough area to play baseball almost until we were teens. One of the best things about the summer was Lightening Bugs. I am sure you have seen them, they glow when they are flying so you can spot them quite easily. We used to catch them, put them in jars with holes and make a makeshift lantern. One thing you should know is that if you make the holes in the jar too big, the bugs fly away, make them too small and the bugs die from lack of oxygen.
When I reminisce to those summers I am filled with joy. I always had friends and family that loved to have fun, and I still see my sandlot friends from time to time and we always end up talking about who was safe in the game and called out unfairly. Itís just like old times and always will be that way.
My one wish is for all kids to enjoy growing up the way we all did. Play, learn and live. You will not only have the time of your lives but grow up with some of the best friends you will ever have. Summer isnít about sitting idle and playing with electronics, it's about giving you a break from all that and allowing you to have a late setting sun, for more time to play outside. Itís about finding your niche in the neighborhood and making new friends. So get outside and enjoy.