Summer is finally here, well effectively here. Graduations have been happening all around the area. Quiet neighborhoods are being run by children.
This is the time I remember most fondly from childhood. These summer days of freedom to just go and have fun in the neighborhood. Play equipment in every yard was being used. We knew where to find the sensitive plants and blackberries (which we watched for signs of ripeness). Collecting stones and following bugs were favorite pastimes. Watching clouds and dreaming in the shade followed bicycle rides and jumping backyard fences.
We would run home for lunch and be called in for dinner. We felt free. We felt unsupervised, but all the neighbors kept their eyes on the kids in the neighborhood. We couldn’t get away with anything. If you stepped out of line, you got a quick reprimand, and you got it again when you got home.
We had no cell phones in our pockets, yet our parents always knew what was going on and where we were. It was our job to keep them informed of exactly where we were going. Outside was playing in the neighborhood, taking our bikes meant riding up and down the street and around the block, the playground was over at the school where a variety of summer activities took place, including baseball.
Now I’m going to sound like a little old lady. Today’s kids don’t have this sense of complete freedom. Their parents are working, and don’t want to impose on the neighbors to watch their children. I don’t know what their memories of childhood will be like. They play video games. They visit grandma (which is the best). They are also free from homework every night so I imagine they feel the sense of freedom.
I knew I had entered the adult world when I was still expected to go to work after “the kids” got out of school for the summer. Work was no longer an option, but a commitment. If you were one of the lucky ones, you got a week or two of vacation. There are different reward to adulthood, and if you handle it right, you still feel free.