Posted by Joann Deutch on Jun 3, 2012 - 5:31:17 PM
HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Can you smell the freedom in the air? When I was a kid the Memorial Day weekend signaled the advent of summer. City pools were open. The water was ice cold, we noticed, but didn’t care. We didn’t care what we looked like in a bathing suit, we didn’t care how messed up our hair got. School days were on a count down. Watching the classroom clock’s second hand tick tick tick toward 3 PM and the dismissal bell, now it was how many more days until that last day of the third grade? We might have hated our teacher, good riddance to her - she knew how to make us buckle under - or we loved her. Life was simple.
Summer fun roaming the hillside
School defined our chronobiology. Summer and its escape from school’s strictures ruled our lives from the time we were five to the time we graduated. We’d roam the neighborhood in a pack, storm into my house, or whoever’s house was closest suck down some lemonade or water and dash outside for more. We rode bikes on the sidewalk, played kickball or pinkie ball, if their we enough of us, until we were filthy and exhausted. We had to head home when the street lights came on. Then there were college summers. It got even better. In my day everyone threw on a backpack and hit the airport on standby for good deals. We came home when we ran out of money. Did we call home? Never crossed out minds.
I remember my first year of work after I graduated. As Memorial Day rolled around I was saddened by the thought that there was no “school’s out” for me. Making the best of it I shifted my focus from school vacation to just plain summer vacation, which I eagerly anticipated. I’d scrimped and saved all year to put aside money for a vacation. I was not exactly Machiavellian in my vacation planning. Sometimes it consisted of booking a flight to somewhere, getting to the destination airport and figuring out lodging with the Traveler’s Aid counter at the airport. I can confidently say I put ever one of the white hairs on my mother’s head with my antics.
When I had kids summer vacation was a whole new nightmare. How to juggle work and kids? With the help of my, by now completely white-haired mother, baby sitters and neighborhood moms we basically let our kids run wild. Thinking back on my halcyon summer vacations I decided my kids had worked hard to keep it together during the school year, and had earned a break. They roamed though the hillsides. I remember they smelled like sage when they came home even if they were all sweaty and dirty. They ate lunch at whatever house they found themselves, they shared toys and pets. I’d regularly pile the whole neighborhood and dogs, especially Muffin, and uncannily smart huskie mix, into the mini van and we’d go off to Thrifty’s for 39 cent ice cream cones. Muffin happily ate whatever ice cream dropped to the ground.
My husband would read the sports pages to the boys while they settled into bed, then it was Good Night Moon and start all over the next day.
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