Kids are out of school and thinking about summer vacation and as they mull through their choices, it makes me think of summertime in the Ozarks when I was growing up. In the sixties there weren’t a lot of choices to think about. Summer would be three months of playing outside with no idea of pollen count, swimming in the Lake of the Ozarks (without considering e-coli contamination), drinking fresh squeezed lemonade, or cooling down in front of the box fan while I read True Confession magazines.
We grew up without air conditioning so summertime in my memories is intertwined with heat, sunbathing, and the smell of Coppertone suntan lotion. Yes, the idea was to soak up the sun to have a “healthy” tan, not to be a paleface sickly looking person.
We listened to music on a transistor radio, not an iPod. Sometimes I wonder what I would have thought if I could have seen a glimpse of the future and the conveniences I take for granted now. I would have thought I’d been dropped into the middle of a science fiction movie.
The TV in our house was a black and white set with three channels. Now, people feel underprivileged if they have less than a hundred channels. They would never understand my dad’s logic that you could only watch one channel at a time—oh, that isn’t necessarily true now anyway. We had one TV and my dad decided which of the three channels we watched. That means we watched a lot of westerns and war shows. I suppose we should have been scarred for life by the violence, but none of us grew up to be gun-toting criminals.
We were raised to assume that any gun in the house was loaded, and you don’t point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger even if you were positive the gun was empty. My brothers hunted and fished with the understanding that any game they shot or caught was to be cleaned and eaten. Wastefulness of any kind was not tolerated. If you took food out on your plate, you darn well better eat it.
My parents ruled the house, not us kids. We didn’t backtalk or argue. Sometimes we could sway mom if we presented our case nicely. But with my dad “No” meant no, and “I don’t think so” meant no. “I guess” meant yes. We kids never tattled on each other.
Times have certainly changed and not just for kids. “Good old days” make better memories than a current way of life.
No matter how hot it is outside, I’m comfortable in my air-conditioned home. Let’s just hope that someday I’m not sweltering in the heat while I watch a black and white TV reminiscing about 2010 as the good old days when I lived in comfort.
Copyright (c) May 2010 L.S. Fisher