In the Good Ol’ Summertime

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 6 Comments

Tomatoes and Butterflies
Only a few more days to enter my Celebration Giveaway for my new book, The Innocent. Entries have to be in by midnight EST Saturday night, July 3, 2015. For more details, check it out on my website. I invited those who entered to share a summer story or something they especially love about summer and I’ve gotten some great stories and favorite things. I shared some of those favorite things on my Mailbag Tuesday feature on my Facebook page. One thing most of us could agree on was how we love those tomatoes from the garden in the summertime. And I might add seeing butterflies when I go walking in the fields. I’m always wishing I could see more. 
Some of you shared how summer was for you when you were a kid and I’m going to share Sandi’s tonight. Sandi has a way with words. She’ll have you running along with her in her summer fun and I would guess that many of you might have known similar summer  memories from when you were kids. I know I did.

Summer Memories from Sandi

We were a poor family…but only in terms of money. I was number
six out of eight children. Our house was small and in the summer, my mom would,
often, open the door and yell…”scat.” She didn’t have to tell us
twice because she had quite a list of things we could do inside–like dusting or
washing dishes or cleaning under the beds–jobs no kid would want to do.

What we lacked in toys, we made up for in imagination. One year we
had a zoo–with every bug we could catch lined up in jars for all of our paying
customers to see…however, no one showed up in spite of our advertising. (Or
perhaps it was because of our advertising). 
We younger kids were delighted when
we’d find a dead bird or even a large bug because then we could get our older
sister, who had plans to become a nun or a majorette, depending on the day, to
come out and do a funeral service. She’d read scripture and we’d sing and wail
a little if we felt a particular affection for the deceased. (The wailing was
usually reserved for one of our many pets). 
We spent several days building a
Ferris Wheel–needless to say, that went about as well as the bug zoo.

The grape arbor held endless possibilities and served as a grocery
store (with cans we took out of the trash) or a fort that had to be defended
against the Indians…or cowboys or just each other. We had an old shed on the
property and one day one of the oldsters from the County Home (which was about
a mile up the road) moved in. We didn’t notice until he had thrown nearly
everything out onto the lawn and was sitting on a rock smoking a stogie
(cigar). He was an interesting old guy and we learned several new words much to
my mother’s chagrin and ours, if she heard us repeating them. 
My brothers had a
basketball hoop (a bent hanger) attached to the shed and one day the ball
landed on the roof–I watched as they climbed up to get it and both fell through
at the same exact same moment. I can’t remember which was more
exciting–watching them land or the chaos when my parents found out what had
happened. They had plenty of kids, but only one shed.

The days seemed endless back then. My grandmother lived very close
to us (on the same lot) and although we weren’t allowed to “pester”
her, we’d go and sit on her porch with her, when invited and she was a
wonderful source of love and entertainment. She had a very deep belly laugh and
if she laughed, we laughed, so we’d go through all kinds of antics to make her
giggle–which was fun all in itself.

We would catch lightning bugs at night and Dad would put up a
tent and we’d declare that we were going to sleep in it–we’d make it about two
hours before someone would bring up a story about a ghost or a mass murderer
who had been seen lurking in our neighbor’s garden… Then, we’d all run
screaming into the house and climb into our safe warm bed until the next time.
Ghosts were one thing, but mass murderers were pretty scary.

We had none of the things kids have today. One bicycle was shared
by all and I don’t think any of us had been to a real swimming pool until we
were almost grown. The closest we got to water outside was if we turned on
the hose and sprayed each other. We had a wagon and we’d take turns being the
pusher or puller. Dad made us a seesaw/merry go round and it was great fun
until someone would get in the way and…well, that’s another story.

I don’t ever remember being bored. When Mom would get out the
Sear’s catalog and start thumbing through it for school clothes, I knew it was
almost over. Oh well, there was always next year and time truly does fly…when
you’re having fun.
More Stories to Come
Thanks for sharing your childhood summers with us, Sandi. I’ll share some more of the stories in the weeks to come. 
Also watch for a big announcement Sunday. Of course, I am announcing the winners of my Shaker prizes in my Celebration Giveaway, but there will be another announcement as well about a little change going to happen here.
As always, thanks for reading. 

Comments 6

  1. ptclayton

    Hi Ann- When I was in my foster home they weren't so nice at all. After we got done with all the chores in the early am then maybe there was breakfast most times not. Then they would send us all out lock the door and we would either have to weed this huge hill of ivy or once they got their swimming pool in it wasn't for us to go in it was for us to hand scrub the entire inside . Then there were alot of other outside chores that they made sure kept us outside till dinner. I was the only one who came in around dinner time as i made 2 big dinners one was for them and then ours and that was just terrible. Then after that and cleaning up then we were locked outside till night when we could come in to go to the bathroom and clothes to sleep outside . It was that way every day and there was no vacations or getting away we lived in a rural area with no other kids close. Once and awhile their friends came over and they had 3 kids and then we could swim and i would pray to the lord and thank him for those hours in the pool as that was fun. He worked at channel 4 and then just treated us like his slaves it was worse than horrible that is why when i first became disabled. I volunteered for the county and worked on many cases I tried to show those kids that there were people on the outside that cared and loved them. We would go to the park and wait for parents to show up if they didn't we'd play and read . When the 4th came we were able to see fireworks from our area as we lived in the bay area and it overlooked the coast but we couldn't watch it with them we had to go for a walk and there was this one place people used to pull over and look at the view and we all walked there and watched the fireworks without the parents. So glad that whole time of my life is over but i learned alot and that was how not to treat people. Also i learned alot about respect and i am really organized and clean.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      It makes me sad to know how badly you were treated as a child, Peggy. Your stories have touched me and I just want to go back in time and give you a hug. Children in the kind of situation you and your siblings were in are so vulnerable. And sometimes those of us nearby either don't know what's going on or don't want to know. I'm so glad you took those bad things that happened to you when you were young and turned them into a positive by helping children after you were older.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We have to recognize that not everybody had a great childhood and that is a sorrow.

  2. Danie Walther

    Hi Ann,
    When I used to live in Rochester NY! I lived on a farm. It was lots of fun growing up and having your cousins over for the many different kinds of Holidays. For the 4th of July we would have all our cousins over and also Grandma and Grandpa lots of fun. My dad had hung a gigantic tire in one of our old Apple trees and it was fun swinging on it with all of the cousins.
    It's not the same anymore because we don't live in Rochester because my family moved to California for my dads job in 95 but we do have family out in California that we are going to spent time with on the 4th of July. My cousin is doing grilling and then we are going to watch the fire works. Lots of fun.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks, Melanie. Hope you have a great 4th too. It's rainy here so some are wondering about fireworks and picnics, but with the American spirit, we always find a way, don't we?

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