Randy Seaver in his blog www.GeneaMusings.com provides a challenge each Saturday evening. Tonight’s fun is, on the first day of summer 2014, (1) to write about your summertime fun when you were a child and (2) to evaluate how those childhood fun experiences impact your life today.
My family moved a great deal when I was growing up and my memories are very sporadic. There are only three locations for which I have specific summertime memories: Gainesville, Texas when I was six to eight, on Binkley Street in Oklahoma City when I was nine/ten and at Rotary Park in SW Oklahoma City when I was twelve.
From Gainesville, I remember picking up boring gray rocks, breaking them with a hammer and being amazed at their sparkly interior; sitting in a circle with the neighborhood kids at dark-thirty telling ghost stories; on hot afternoons filling a metal tub with water and taking turns sitting in it to cool off; drinking water from a hose; riding my bicycle; playing on the graded side of I-35 construction; and walking to the library to check out books to read (I began reading a series of biographies – Presidents’ wives, pirates, Sir Walter Raleigh, etc.).
From Binkley Street, I played dolls, cut out paper dolls, played with a whole neighborhood full of friends, explored the world of imagination and spent Saturday afternoons at the movies. This is about the time when I most remember loving to play in the run-off water after a summer shower and to be amazed at all the worms that surfaced after the rain. Because of moving so much, this is the first location where I made a friend I still have today – Jean ‘Tootie’ Blake Riggs. I only lived there one year but Jean and I reconnected in junior and senior high school and have maintained a connection despite many separations of physical distance.
The summer between grade school and high school I joined a park’s summer program where the games I played were competitive: ping pong and running track. I rode my bicycle to the park every day to participate. When I discovered the Daily Oklahoman archives, I did a search for my own name and found a news article from July 11, 1953 that evidenced my participation in track – my team came in first.
The second part of Randy’s challenge is to evaluate how summertime fun impacted me as an adult. Breaking open rocks to see the sparkles inside helped me realize not everything in life can be judged by its appearance on the outside as well as gave me an appreciation for how amazing our world is – much of it just waiting for our exploration to see it. Playing dolls and telling stories taught me the importance of imagination and creativity. Running track and challenging myself competitively helped me see my physical and mental capabilities and to know there will always be some faster/better/smarter and some slower/worse/less smart than I am, but that challenging myself will always end up making me better than I was before. The library and reading opened my mind to everything – knowledge, possibility, hope, a bridging of the past, present and the future.
See Also: My Doll With Hair