Do you remember back when you were in elementary school, how exciting the start of summer was? For me, it meant a couple of shorts outfits and a bathing suit were my wardrobe. Add a pair of Keds tennis shoes with the toes cut out or a pair of t-strap flats, also by Keds, and I was set for the summer.
My days consisted of playing with my sister, laying out in the sun with our mom on an old blanket, helping in the small garden, swimming in a water trough (yes, I was raised on a farm), and the occasional bowl of ice cream. Most days I could sleep late.
Even thinking of these memories, makes me happy deep in my soul. This has sent me on a quest to see if I can find that same carefree happiness in an adult summer.
Here is the plan:
- Get rid of responsibilities. This probably won’t work long-term, but for a week or even a weekend, we can make it happen. Make it a stay-cation.
- No make-up, no fancy clothes, no worries. Don’t even plan to go to town. Wear your bathing suit all day, with a t-shirt and shorts over it. Go barefoot! Wear cotton fabrics.
- Plan your food to be simple and easy to prepare. Maybe burgers and chips or spaghetti for dinner. Sandwiches for lunch. Kool-Aid and lemonade to drink. You have to have some watermelon and ice cream (make that ice cream pops) for a snack. Use paper plates, paper napkins, and Solo cups. Don’t do dishes!
- Read a good book. How about a Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys mystery?
- No internet surfing or online shopping. Relegate your cell phone to a drawer. If there is an emergency, they will call the house phone (well, if you still have one).
- Spend lots of time outside (please wear sunblock and a hat), drink lots of water, and be ready to sweat.
- Play the radio, preferably dialed to a station playing tunes from when you were growing up.
- Try to find some fire flies. Catch a few and put in a Ball jar.
- Whoever you decide to share your retro summer with, go outside in the dark and tell ghost stories.
- Ride a bicycle, preferably with a banana seat!
- Watch a TV show from when you were little. I loved Perry Mason (all time favorite), Charlies Angels (second all time favorite), Happy Days, and Laverne and Shirley.
- Play some hopscotch.
- Get some personal care products that remind you of that time. For me, Suave strawberry shampoo, baby oil, Hawaiian Tropic sun lotion, and baby powder all remind me of being young. The smells even make me happy.
- If your town has a Dairy Queen, get a vanilla cone.
- Jump rope or, if you are my age, maybe you can find a Chinese jump rope!
- If you do have to get out in the car, roll down the windows, turn off the A/C and enjoy the wind in your face.
- Buy some old-fashioned candy, like dots, Pez, or candy cigarettes. Enjoy.
- Drink a bottled Coke. Make it even better by adding peanuts.
- Sleep with your bedroom window down. I am not sure I could actually sleep, but wouldn’t it be nice to try.
- Get a Slip-N-Slide and try not to break a bone.
- Roast weenies over an open fire.
- Play a board game.
- Walk to the Public Library and check out a book.
- Watch the clouds go by. See if you can find any objects in the cloud formations. Just last week, I saw a poodle and a gladiator.
- See if you can still work a Yo-Yo.
- Chew old-fashioned, individually wrapped bubble gum.
- Drive-thru McDonalds and have a happy meal.
- If you do want to get away, rent a camper and head to a state park. Be sure to take your fishing pole and fixings for smores.
- Braid your hair after you put it in a pony tail.
- Look for roly poly bugs and worms.
- Eat a flavored ice pop, the kind that come in a plastic tube. Or, if they still make them, have a Pink Thing or Push-Up.
- Put a flower in your hair.
- Put some Bonnie Bell or Lip Smackers on your lips.
- Make some Jiffy Pop popcorn on the stove.
- For a keepsake of your retro summer, make Shrinky Dinks.
- See if the local bakery has sand tarts – crescent shaped is the best.
- Drink a Slurpee from the gas station. Of course, you rode your bike there!
- Watch a soap opera.
- Take a nap, under a blanket on the couch.
- Talk to your friend on a real phone for an hour.
- Take a bath.
- Don’t shave.
- Take pictures of everything.
- Walk around your neighborhood and meet people. Say hello. Get them to join you for some fun. Maybe play some old school softball.
- Have a bologna sandwich on white bread with mayo. Or make it a Vienna sausage sandwich.
- Eat a box of Cracker Jacks.
- At least once during your retro summer celebration, laugh until your belly hurts and you cry.
What do you want to add to the summer fun list? What takes you back to childhood? What makes you long for those hot, summer days?
Well, I think I am going to day dream a bit before I fast forward to now. For some reason, I can’t stop smiling. Photos of memories from my 1970s summers keep going through my mind. And, I am really happy.
I hope you enjoy this summer as much as you did when you were a kid! Anyone interested in flying a kite? Afterward, I am going to eat a Payday and wash it down with a Big Red.