by Eve Vawter
If you asked any of my lovely children, they would exclaim that they are having a great summer so far. I think they are basically pants-on-fire, because none of them have ever experienced or done any of the following things, which comprised many of my own summer days growing up.
1. Drink hose-y water
There is nothing more delicious than hose-y water. My kids would never drink from the garden hose, but growing up it was my main source of refreshment. Now my kids would just come inside and demand some mountain stream bottled water or an ice-chilled beverage.
2. Stay out past dark playing kick-the-can or TV tag
I was never home growing up. I would wake at dawn, eat breakfast, and maybe stop by sometime in the afternoon and my mom would give us cheese sandwiches and popsicles and send us on our way. We stayed out until our parents yelled for us to come in, long after the streetlights came on, playing kick-the-can or Ghosts In the Graveyard or any variations on tag we could think of. We had sidewalk chalk and bubbles and maybe a few quarters in case a neighbor was selling Kool-Aid on the corner.
3. Buy ice cream from a truck
I haven't seen an ice cream truck in ages. Maybe it's because we live in the suburbs. And the last time I did see one I think a treat cost like $3.00. Regardless, my kids will never get to buy ice cream from some sketchy dude driving a truck around that plays music. They just don't come around here no more.
4. Rock orange skin and have a head full of peroxide
Becoming a pre-teen during the summer meant one thing: you were gonna save all your babysitting money to buy some Sun-In to bleach your hair out with and hit up Walgreens to get some Coppertone QT (Quick Tan) which turned your skin an amazingly flattering shade of Oompa Loompa and left giant blotchy streaks all over your body and turned your white sheets orange. This was how we rolled back then.
5. Go to the drive-in
On occasion my parents would put us all in our PJs, my mom would make some popcorn and stick it in brown paper grocery store bags, we'd load up a cooler, and pile into the station wagon to go to the drive-in to see whatever movie was playing — usually a double or triple feature. Now drive-ins have basically gone the way of the dinosaur. You can still find a few drive-in theaters here.
6. Sleep in the backyard
There are things in the backyard that my kids want nothing to do with: grass and trees and fresh air and a distinct lack of 500 thread count sheets and video game systems. Sleeping outside was so much fun growing up, even if we only lasted half the night and came inside to where the AC and indoor plumbing lives.
I know I sound all back in my day about this, but I do think there's a lot today's kids are missing by not doing some of the things I grew up with during the summer. I'm gonna throw them all outside and turn the hose on them.