Heavens to Betsy! ..look what we "remember" now! ...Summers from the 1950s.
Reading the Reminisce, June July 2007 issue, starting me reflecting on summertime memories of my own childhood back in the 1950s in a small town in Mississippi. The first thing I noticed about the cover picture on the left was the popsicles. How I loved to run to my Mom's freezer and pick out an ice-cold popsicle for me and my neighborhood friends. Flavors of banana, rootbeer, cherry, orange...I loved them all. It was so much fun to eat them outside on a hot summer day trying to get the last bite before they completely dissolved and ran streams of sticky drops down to your elbow. (Hey, I think I had that doll stroller, too!)
"No more pencils, No more books, No more Teacher's Dirty Looks"....You would hear all of us neighborhood kids singing this on the last day of school. We were free at last to play from daylight to dark with no restrictions or special places we "had" to go. One of the first things I remember is taking off my shoes and going barefoot. Watch out for the stickers, though! I spent many an hour picking those nuisances out of my feet.
Honeysuckle was also abundant in early Summer. How many of you remember pulling the little stem out of the middle and holding your tongue out to catch the sweet drops that fell? We also chewed on a certain grass that had pink flowers...had a very sour taste. It's a wonder we didn't poison ourselves!
Early summer meant eating watermelon. How I loved that juicy sweet taste. My Daddy would always purchase these at the old Icehouse which was located by the railroad track in our town. It was so exciting to ride with him to the icehouse, have that big metal door open and pick out the best watermelon. (If you were good, the man working there would take his ice pick and knock off a big sliver of ice from a big square ice block for you to suck on...aahhhh..so nice on a hot summer day. Hmmm, vintage ice picks...maybe that's why I collect them...well, that's another blog for another day.)
Reminiscing about those summertime watermelons and the old icehouse, made me do a search on Ebay and much to my surprise there is an old soda bottle marked "Hazlehurst Icehouse" on Ebay auction now. You can bet that is on my watch list!
Those from the South will also remember eating sugar cane. Big stalks would be purchased and chunks cut off for us kids. Just peel the outside layer off and suck and chew on the inside...heavenly!
When I had a little change in my pocket, it was always nice to walk to the corner grocery store and buy penny "double bubble" gum, ice cream push-ups and candy bars. A favorite soda drink could also quench the thirst. Orange or Grape Crush and good old Coca-Cola were some of my favorites. You know, a little bit of change could go a long way then.
One of the special summertime activities us neighborhood kids enjoyed was swimming. Small plastic pools and innertubes were blown up by out of breath and red faced parents. One day my Mother said that we were getting a new swimming pool. How excited I was as I imagined a big concrete below-ground swimming pool just like the ones seen on our new TV set. The next day she called me from inside to tell me my pool was ready. Excited, I ran down the back steps to find a big metal washtub filled with water! Needless to say, I was a little disappointed but surprisingly enough, I spent many happy summer hours in that little tub. My tub looked something like the one to the right, only it was round. This wash tub is on Ebay auction now.
My Vintage Fashion Guild friend, Marie, better known as TheVintagePeddler.com shared this photo of she and her Daddy in "their" washtub style pool. I think he is having more fun than her! ..."Hey, Daddy, get out and let me get in!"
When we would tire of swimming, our minds were always busy thinking of other messes to get into. Lemonade stands were popular kid's activities in the 50s although we never did make much money. One afternoon my friends and I went around to the neighbor's back doors asking for dirty laundry to wash. Most of them knew us pretty well and gave some old dirty cleaning cloths or some other things we could not harm. We were up to our elbows in soapsuds washing these in dishpan water and spraying each other with the hose as we rinsed them. Another great time but a short lived venture which only made us a few cents.
Other summer memories included picnics outside. Our next door neighbors ate supper out at their backyard picnic table several times a week during the summer. Being best friends with their little girl and boy, as soon as I saw them eating, I ran to eat with them, too. This embarrassed my Mother extremely, however, only being about five years old, I didn't understand that you had to be "invited."
Trips to the local lake also highlighted my summer. My Dad owned his own ski boat which he named "Miss Linda" after me. Every Sunday we would go to the lake. My Dad never did learn to ski but he taught everyone else in the whole town how to!
Do you have old summertime memories to share? We hope you will tell us about yours by making comments below.