Summer Nostalgia

I don’t remember having only one dress, or walking 10 miles in the snow to get to school…but I do recall:

The last day of school picnics…which meant summer!! We’d take off our shoes on the way home, spend several days getting our feet tough enough to run bases through the stickery pasture grasses, or take long walks down country roads (it was safe way back then), and washing our feet at the end of the day under the ice cold water from the pump by the house.

We had no ‘organized’ clubs or teams, but we made our own…baseball games in the sheep pasture until it was too dark to see the ball. Hide and seek in the dark (and having the bajeebies scared out of us). And, of all things…just sitting under–or IN–a shade tree.

We lived 15 miles from a swimming pool—but we had wash tubs and garden hoses and the horse tank.

We worked in the garden in the morning, ate fried chicken and corn-on-the-cob at noon, and chased fireflies in the evening. Often we’d sprawl on blankets in the yard, waiting for it to cool down enough to sleep in the house.

Then came the one wonderful summer when we could afford a deep freezer, and a fan–all at the same time. Mama put aluminum foil on the windows, shiny side out to reflect the heat, pulled the drapes and we thought it was pure bliss to sit in the darkened living room, in front of the fan, fudge bars dripping down our arms. We were rich…and cool. What more could we ever want.

Saturday nights were the best. Everyone was in town on Saturday night. We’d take the eggs to the produce, then buy groceries with the egg money, and sometimes there was even enough we could all have a hamburger and Coke in a bottle from the one restaurant in town. On special occasions we ate ice cream at the drug store, on round tables with wire-backed chairs, under huge ceiling fans…Oh!! it was the time and place to be.

I remember only one vacation, all the way to Colorado with the car windows down because we didn’t have a vehicle with air conditioning. But our mama was a fun lady, and when we drove through big towns we’d roll up the windows so the rich people (who NEVER had their windows down) would think we were just like them. By the time we were on the open road again we’d all be gasping for air, and we’d laugh for miles at the funny noises we could make by humming and changing the shape of our mouth against the welcome wind blowing against our faces.

Only in later years did I realize how poor we really were. Monetarily poor…

But oh, so rich in memories.


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14 responses to “Summer Nostalgia”

  1. Sara Meisinger says :

    I love this. Where did these summers go? I wish there was some way to recapture those days (but keep the modern farm equipment we have now)!
    Thanks Julane for the wonderful picture in my head this morning!

    • Julane Hiebert says :

      I sat by the lake this morning (or what we call the lake). It was cool, and so very, very quiet. I wished then that I could share that with all you busy moms. There will come a day, all too soon, when you, too, will once again know quietness. Embrace your time now…look forward to what lies ahead. God is good!!

  2. Susan Mires says :

    What fun! When I was a kid, it felt like I kicked off my shoes the last day of school and didn’t put them on again until August. Except if Dad would holler that he was going to town, then there was a mad dash to try to find some kind of shoes to put on.

    • Julane Hiebert says :

      Oh, I remember that dash, too…and we had never heard of flip-flops. No siree!! Shoes AND socks were town dress!! Wow, compare that with what you see on any given afternoon in WalMart!!

  3. Cherie Gagnon says :

    When I feel pressure to make summer fun for my kids, I remember that it’s the simple pleasures that we often remember. I enjoyed reading your walk down memory lane 🙂

    • Julane Hiebert says :

      I wish every child could have a ‘secret’ hiding spot. Mine was in a tree…in the middle of a corral that we were normally forbidden to enter. I could shinny up that tree faster than scat and hide among it’s leaves forever. If I could…I would still give it a try. Imagination is often the best playmate!!

  4. Ray Downen says :

    Thanks for the memories. For years we lived on a dirt street which of course turned to mud after a hard rain. But— that allowed us to build dams in the shallow ditches and back up enough water to float our boats. Then— we learned to build our dirt and rock dams with a spill-way in the middle, which kept our dam from being swept away. I was still innocent enough to not know we were poor or that some people might consider us “white trash.”

    • Julane Hiebert says :

      We had a ditch in front of our house that would fill with water during a rain. We LOVED to play in it…and it became many things: a place to float our boats, which were really only sticks; a place to re-invent ourselves as we covered our legs and arms with the sticky mud from the bottom; and a wonderful stream to attempt to cross on our bicycle. And no one scolded!! Thanks, Ray, for a reminder, and another memory!!

  5. Jeanie Berg says :

    Are you sure you were talking about your life—-or mine!!!! Wow, did that ever bring up memories! Except we didn’t go to the drug store, we went to the Dairy Queen and got a nickel cone. Ah! We had a huge cow tank we swam in….the cows would come to see and take a drink and drool…didn’t bother us! We rode our bicycles around the section on a long lazy ride. Got to sit in the shade on the west side of the house on Saturday mornings while Mom set the radio in the window so we could listen to the Danny Orliss stories on Back to the Bible. I long for some of that fresh (and I do mean FRESH) fried chicken again, fried the way only my Mom could fry it. Thanks for the good memories!

    • Julane Hiebert says :

      Chicken will never taste the same when bought at the grocery store. We’d buy ‘fryers’ every spring, croon over their softness, and think nothing of pulling their heads off 6-8 weeks later so we could have chicken for lunch. We didn’t have a Dairy Queen, just Jackson’s Drug Store where you could buy ice cream, Cokes from the fountain (vanilla please), Evening in Paris perfume–in the wonderful blue bottles, jewelry, and salve for anything that ailed you…Mr. Jackson made his own–called it Goose Grease. Oh, my, how it smelled but it cured everything.

  6. Jeanie Berg says :

    Oh my, Evening in Paris Perfume….How good it smelled!!!!! Wonder what I’d think if I smelled it now. As I recall, you could get this tiny little bottle for one dime. My big sister had some and it was divine!

    • Julane Hiebert says :

      Now you pay big bucks for one of those bottles at an antique store!! I’d love to have one just to sit in my bathroom!!

  7. Jeanie Berg says :

    And, NO, we did not make pets of our baby chicks soon to become fryers! I did have a pet Black Angus calf named Sparkle…who, of course, got turned into steaks and hamburger at the appropriate time! Yum. Poor Sparkle.

    • Julane Hiebert says :

      I don’t recall have a ‘pet’ among our cattle…but we did have an old saddle horse, named Pet, that got too old to ride. My daddy sold him, and my brother told me that he was going to be made into glue. I cried for days.

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