Summer vacation is just starting for students and teachers around the United States. For the graduating class of 2019, it’s the prelude to university studies in the fall, getting into the full-time working world, or taking a break for awhile.
I used to love summer. I remember many last days of school. My friends and I poured out of the doors of academia, feeling the big burdens of classes and homework lifted. We were free! Even though we’d be right back at it in September, returning to the hallowed halls was years away as far as we were concerned.
The last day of school was usually a half-day. Once we got home and had lunch, we donned our official summer uniforms of shorts and T-shirts and met at someone’s house to figure out how we were spending the rest of the day. Whatever we were going to do, it was outside in the fresh air and sunshine and it was going to be fun.
There were no cell phones and no online gaming. My generation had to use the ingenuity of our onboard computers. We’d write plays for neighborhood performances and create games. Playing tag, lots of dodge ball, and riding bikes also helped to fill our agenda. Trips to the beach and the community pool were necessary, as well as family vacations.
The arrival of the ice cream man was a big anticipated event every day. His truck, with its bells ringing, would come rolling down the neighborhood streets in the afternoon and at twilight. We knew him, and he knew us.
The whole summer, if the weather was good, we barely set a foot inside our houses. Our caregivers would see us only for breakfast, lunch, and the occasional bathroom stop during the day. Sometimes we’d go out to play again for a little while after dinner until the treasure of the frozen treats arrived. Our parents got in on the ice cream action with us in the evening too.
This time of year I wish I could go back to that simplicity and innocence. I guess I can in a way. All I have to do is remember those halcyon days of summer.