I was a kid back in the 1970’s in Florida. I spent a lot of time at my Grandmother’s house in the summertime. She had no central air, only a ceiling fan, and a wall unit she used when company came over. Yet, I don’t remember the heat bothering me. I remember the excitement.

Every morning I couldn’t wait to get up and go outdoors. We rode bikes, climbed trees, played “Cowboys and Indians” with our cap guns, and dug trenches in the orange grove for warfare. Our ammo was rotten oranges, bulbs fallen from the giant magnolia tree, berries from the mulberry trees, kumquats, and good old fashioned balls of mud. Let me tell you, rotten oranges stink, the smell has to wear off, mulberries stain your skin purple, kumquats and magnolia bulbs sting, and I had a mud facial for free!

Some days we’d range so far from home, my granny would come outside and honk the car horn like a dinner bell. We’d hose off in the outdoor shower she had in the old fern shed before going inside to eat. My granny made the best food: fried chicken, potato salad and apple pie, yum.  I loved spending time with her in the kitchen. I remember frying my first egg in a tiny little pan wearing an oversized apron. I spent a lot of time in that kitchen cooking with my granny. She loved it and so did I.

My granny had a big freezer in the fern shed behind her house. The shed was ancient and creepy, but usable. One night, I went out well after midnight, to grab something out of the freezer for her.  I ran in, turned on the bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling, went into the room with the freezer, took out the necessary item, and headed to the door. Just as I was about to reach the door, I remembered I needed to turn off the light. I reached out to grab the dangling cord.  Before I could, an icy cold hand touched mine and the light went off. I was too scared to scream, I ran!  I guess someone was trying to be helpful. LOL!

I still dream about my granny and her house. It was a magical place. We had a TV with rabbit ears and three channels, make that four if you went outside to turn the antenna pole! No DVD player, no game console, no computer, no cell phone, and still, we had a blast. When we were indoors, we’d play board games, make believe with Barbie and GI Joe, or watch a movie on TV. No DVR, no pause, only run to the bathroom and rush back during the commercial. It was a simpler time which I miss. Time moved much slower, summer lasted forever, and I fell asleep listening to the sounds of nature, rather than electronics.

Do you remember those lazy days of summer? Savor your memories, share them, and make new ones with the loved ones in your life. Make your house a magical place for the children in your life by going retro!

12 Responses to “Days of Summer Past”

  1. Connie Mann says:

    Great summer memories, Jan! My summers were filled with much of the same and we tried to give our children a retro childhood, too. Summers were spent outside, riding bikes, building forts, swimming, making up games…thanks for a great reminder of simpler times…

  2. jan says:

    You’re welcome, Connie. I was feeling nostalgic for the good old days. =)

  3. Skye Taylor says:

    Summer was a magical time when I was a kid, too. Didn’t have a Granny with a farm, but we spent every day outdoors and often into the evening playing 52 scatter in the dusk. There was an old (no longer active) chicken farm across the street and we played cowboys – good guys and bad, running over those low pitched roofs with our cap pistols at the ready. Sometimes you died, sometimes you didn’t. We also spent time on an island with nothing more than a 14×14 cabin – we did have electricity but no TV and water came from a pump. We loved it. Hours spent in the water until our fingers and toes were thoroughly wrinkled, or in little kayaks my dad had made for us exploring every nook and cranny on the lake. Those were the days…..

  4. jan says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories, Skye. I think we would’ve had great fun together, back in the day!

  5. diane burke says:

    I remember my days with my grandparents. They were poor and lived in a small row home in Philadelphia. But we had a grape arbor over the small patio and my grandfather had built me a swing that hung from that arbor. I’d sail through the sky trying to touch those grapes. LOL! I loved that place and I loved the people inside it so much more.

    Children today miss so, so much!

    Great blog!

  6. jan says:

    Thanks, Diane. What a precious memory. I know how you feel. I was more than a bit misty eyed remembering those days.

  7. Ruth Owen says:

    Love this, Jan. Summer really is a magical time!

  8. jan says:

    Thanks, Ruth. Hope it triggered memories of your own childhood summers. =)

  9. Lorna Dishman says:

    What a great blog. I have fond memories of playing outside during the summer with my friends in the neighborhood. We played games, fished in the pond and rode our bikes. Thank you for reminding me of those good times.

  10. jan says:

    You’re welcome, Lorna. Would love to recapture the energy I had in those days!

  11. DebraJess says:

    I remember visiting my grandmother in summer. We’d bake the best pinwheel cookies ever! Or we’d play cards – either War or Seven Card Rummy. Sometimes we’d take long walks around the neighborhood. If we made to the highway overpass, we’d wave at the cars as they passed underneath. Good times.

  12. jan says:

    I never heard of pinwheel cookies. They sound yummy! And I remember playing War, Go Fish, Solitaire, and tons of other card games. My first boyfriend taught me how to play poker. Might have to put that one in a book… Now I play free cell on the computer. LOL! Thanks for sharing those happy memories.

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