Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Freedom by Laurie Calkhoven

When I think of summer, I mostly remember the one between seventh and eighth grade. My friends and I tooled around town on our bicycles—mine was a Sting Ray with a banana seat—blowing Bazooka bubbles, stopping at the White Castle for cokes or the Dairy Freeze for ice cream, pooling our money and sharing if someone—usually me—didn’t have enough. Without a thought to having to lock up our bikes, we wandered through five and dime stores, or hung out at the bowling alley watching the teenagers and deciphering clues as to how we’d have to behave in a year or two.

There were five of us. We thought of ourselves as a “gang,” and gave ourselves all kinds of names. For a time we were the True Mints, because mints are cooler than cool. Then someone came up with the bright idea for us to wear those heavy chain dog collars as bracelets and call ourselves the Chain Gang. And for a few days—I don’t remember why—we were the Spoons.

It was just one summer. A summer of freedom and joy. We were old enough to get on our bikes and disappear for the afternoon (this was back in the 70’s before kids showed up on milk cartons), but not old enough for summer jobs. My bike was stolen toward the end of that summer, and by the next my family had moved to a new, less bike-friendly town. But it’s still the summer I remember the best.

8 comments:

  1. What great details! And those 'gang names' are full of stories in themselves. Your 'voice' takes me right back to those times. Thanks!

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  2. When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, summer vacation was always the best time of the year. The best stories happen in summer. Loved hearing about yours.

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  3. After teaching for so many years, summer break was always a welcome event. But there was also something else about summer that I still feel...that sense of freedom that anything is possible. There is no schedule to follow or rules to obey...just the lazy days of discovery. Brings out the kid in me every time. Thanks Laurie.

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  5. Summers in the late 60s and early 70s were full of glorious freedom and future possibilities. I, too, had a banana-seat bike and felt like I owned the world. Thank you for sharing your summer memory and for bringing a few of my own to the surface.

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  6. Thanks for the sweet memories of pre-kids-on-milk-carton days, dear Laurie, that summer betwixt and between. Such a lovely post.

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  7. Ahhh. Do kids know ANYTHING about this kind of freedom anymore?

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  8. I feel like I was on my stingray with you, Laurie! Great post.

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