Okay, we’ve reminisced about what we did on summer evenings, but what about those hot summer days? You know the ones I mean. The ones with still (some would say dead) air, so quiet you could hear cooing doves while dozens of locusts provided a background chorus.
One activity that kept us busy for hours was making clover chains. My pal Susie and I were clover chain experts. First we had to find the best clover blossoms with the longest stems. This usually caused at least one bee-stung bare foot as we stepped before looking. After we collected the blossoms, we’d make a loose knot at the end of a long stalk, slip the next stem through it, slide it down to hit its blossom and tighten the knot. Clover chains 101.
One summer we pledged to make a chain an entire block long. We worked separately and soon realized it would take more than one day. My long-suffering mother allowed me to keep the chain, moistened and folded in a bag, in our refrigerator overnight. At the end of the second day, we had created a chain to fill an abbreviated block, even though the clovers looked pretty tired.
We also organized parades through the neighborhood. We decorated our trikes and wagons with crepe paper streamers and organized the participants just so. Type casting took over. Johnny, later in the military, was the parade leader on his trike, complete with a cowboy hat and a whistle. Gwennie, from next door, was the queen of the parade, tiara and all. An only child, she was a princess if ever there was one.
Bonnie, my other next-door neighbor was the acrobat—totally appropriate since she was the athlete of the group. (Her dad was the high school football coach, so it was on her DNA.) The fraternal twins from up the street, aka the “Siamese twins,” were too little to pedal, so I pulled them in a decorated wagon, acting the clown. Susie was the youngest walker and small for her age, so she was the “midget.” She doesn’t appear in this picture, but she wandered along, smiling, as a good performer must.
The only problem: with all the kids in the parade, who would be our audience? Mothers to the rescue! They stood in their front yards, cameras in hand, waving and clapping as we passed their reviewing stand. (My mother took this photo with her Kodak box camera.)
Somehow we Old School types managed to fill our days and nights without iPads or mobile phones. Go figure.