THREE MONTHS OFF???? What I Would GIVE for a Summer Vacation

When even ur Kiddy Pool is not safe...

When even ur Kiddy Pool is not safe…

For anyone in the Denver, CO area, I will be presenting this Saturday (register here). I am STOKED, not only because I get to teach writers, but it’s like a little slice of vaca-childhood. Ah, summer vacation. The Spawn is about to be let out for three months under my feet toddler bliss.

I miss it summer vacation. I remember how the last three weeks leading up to school getting out were sheer torture. The poor teachers probably felt like prison guards trying to keep the inmates calm…only they didn’t have stun guns and a high-pressure hose (those were for the inner city elementary schools :D).

Though, now that I think about it, slap a sprinkler on the end of that high-pressure hose and we would have likely loved that.

Did you guys end your year with Field Day? Sorry. I hated Field Day. I think Field Day was invented by the same sadists who thought up Dodge Ball. Every year I spent my last two days of school getting my butt kicked in every sport imaginable. Good thing I was too focused on summer vacation to care. All I had left to do is clean out the 900 pounds of crap I had somehow fit into my desk and locker.

Oh, there’s that protractor thingie that was on the school supply list. What DOES that thing do, anyway?

That final bell would ring and it was over. I would spend the next two and a half months loaded with sugar and wrinkled from water. My grandparents had a swimming pool and when we weren’t there, we were wearing a hole in my parent’s lawn with a Slip and Slide. Remember those things? Good thing I grew up in the days before everyone went lawsuit happy.

Really? You dove head-first off the station wagon onto a piece of plastic and sprained both your wrists??? Well, guess you won’t do that again, will ya? Stop crying before I give you something to cry about.

Image via Jeffery Turner Flikr Creative Commons

Image via Jeffery Turner Flikr Creative Commons

Yeah, NOTHING was childproof. All the playground equipment was heavy-duty industrial steel, and you couldn’t play on it unless your tetanus shot was up to date. And back then little girls actually wore dresses, so the first sucker kid down the slide usually suffered second degree burns down the backs of her thighs.

So we would put the water hose on the slide and make our own water park. Between that, the dancing in the sprinkler and the Slip and Slide, I have no idea how my parents didn’t have a $600 water bill. Maybe they did, but it was well worth the money to keep the screaming hoard of wild Indians locked beyond the sliding glass door….which, by the way, was actually LOCKED. When cartoons were over at 8:30?

Out the door we went.

Need water? Go lap some off the Slip and Slide. See, like the dog. Just drink upstream from him. Go! Before I put you to work cleaning bathrooms.

Gotta pee? Man used bushes for thousands of years. Just don’t let the Robinsons see you.

The neighbors want to take you to Jewish Camp? Okay, but this time, don’t convert. You cannot have a Bat-mitsvah, and you’re going to Baptist Camp next week. The Lutherans have dibs on you after that.

My brother and I had the COOLEST gym set out back. Nowadays it would be considered an Al Qaeda training facility. It was 20 feet tall, had uneven bars, parallel bars, climbing bars, a rope to climb, and iron rings. It was the glorious centerpiece of the neighborhood. ALL the kids wanted to be at my house playing Red Dawn, also known as Kill the Russians.

Oh, we were politically incorrect back then, too.

Those Russians were always taking Cabbage Patch Kids hostage. We knew they had a plan to brainwash them then reinsert them as Cabbage Patch Sleeper Cells that would kill us in our sleep…

…IF we ever slept. No we stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG. It was SUMMER!

Last night I stayed up until TWO THIRTY! Tonight I’m gonna stay up until FOUR. One day, when I’m bigger, I’m gonna stay up TWENTY ELEVEN HOURS! And when I grow up, I’m gonna have a Trans-Am and NEVER SLEEP EVER!!!!

Okay, yeah. We only stayed up that late when we went to my cousin’s house. They were…teenagers. We did all kinds of things we weren’t supposed to. We put on makeup, watched MTV (back when it actually had music) and watched scary movies and played Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…

Eh, she never did show, but that didn’t stop us from nagging her every Friday night.

My cousins are responsible for my current aquaphobia. If it ain’t chlorinated, I ain’t swimming in it. Jaws ruined me for salt water and Friday the 13th pretty much ruined fresh water. But it was okay, they had a pool too….and a DIVING BOARD.

Are those things even still legal to have now? We would spend all day long inventing new dives.

Oh, yeah, well I will raise your Cannon Ball a Bazooka Loaded with Banned Nuclear Warheads. TOP THAT, SUCKAH!

The first eight weeks of summer were magic. We’d swim and jump for HOURS on a trampoline and go to Six Flags and stay up late so we could walk to that small wooden health hazard shack that served as a snow cone stand for five months out of the year. We’d play in the streets until the street lamps flickered on and beckoned us home. Then we’d beg our parents to let us at least play in the front yard so we could catch frogs and fireflies.

Image via Lynn Kelly WANA Commons

Image via Lynn Kelly WANA Commons

Ah, but then eleven weeks would be over, and we’d have the Twelfth Week Itch. In Texas it is so hot by August that everything, including us kids, start to wilt. We were rested and ready for a new school year. Our parents started having to play warden and make us go to bed by nine so we could get our body clocks reset for school.

BED????? But it’s still LIGHT outside!!!!

As adults, what would we give to have three months to just play? Maybe that’s the secret to world peace. Maybe all of us are just stressed out and we need to have time to scream and yell and ride bikes up a ramp made out of a door someone threw away.

Maybe if the U.N. would just get all the world leaders together for the LONGEST SLIP AND SLIDE EVER!!!!! (Just tape all of Dad’s lawn bags to the end until you run out of space on the White House lawn). Maybe if everyone got a chance to play together and run off all the excess energy, maybe then we’d be too tired and happy to be stressed.

I miss summer vacation. How about you? What do you remember? What summer rituals did you have? Do you think our society would be better off if everyone was required to take summer vacation? Maybe we could alternate seasons so everyone would have time off. If you had THREE MONTHS OFF, what would you do? Where would you go? Would you learn to sing? Take up African dancing? Hop on a Slip and Slide?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of May, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of May I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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  1. #1 by Ruth Hartman Berge on May 15, 2013 - 9:37 am

    South Florida in the summer is brutal! I’ve had northerners stop me on the beach during the winter and ask how anybody could live here year round. We used to ride our bikes a couple of miles through air so thick with humidity you could see it move around you (ok – not really, but I like the way that sounds and it WAS awful thick) to the country club pool. There, we’d soak in the cold water while keeping an eye out for the ghost that haunted in the mansion next to the pool and watch brave kids dive off the high boards. Boy, do I miss those days!

    • #2 by Shea Ford on May 15, 2013 - 9:59 am

      Yep! I’m a South Florida girl too. Most of my summers were spent in grandma’s pool or at the beach. It seemed the only way to escape the oppressive humidity without having to stay in the AC all the time. I remember somewhere at the start of every summer, my sis and I use to peel the flaking skin off each others recent sunburns just to relieve the itching. By the end of the summer, our we no longer seemed to have the English/Scottish complexion we’d inherited. If we had brown eyes and hair, we could’ve passed for East Indian. lol

      • #3 by Ruth Hartman Berge on May 15, 2013 - 10:02 am

        Oh yeah! Nothing like little blue-eyed, bleach-blonde haired kids brown as hickory nuts running around in bare feet with skin peeling off of noses and shoulders!

  2. #5 by Catherine Johnson on May 15, 2013 - 9:43 am

    Awesome! I don’t think I would like to have such a long time off, in England we had six weeks and a sprinkler for a few days, none of this slip and slide and pools. I guess we played in the woods crawling down tunnels we shouldn’t go through and daring each other to cross the dike. Roller skating down the street and hide and seek in everyone’s back yard. Fun wherever you are whatever you are used to doing I guess.

    • #6 by Miriam Joy on May 15, 2013 - 11:55 am

      The thing with England is that it rains so much that there’s no appeal to being sprayed by a hose, really, is there? Personally, I always wanted more than six weeks (mainly because I managed to occupy myself for the whole thing and then be exhausted when school started again), but a lot of my friends used to get bored in just that time, so…

  3. #7 by aliceakemp on May 15, 2013 - 9:43 am

    With my family dogs, I wandered in the woods and played in streams for hours, and curled up on the side porch and read my brother’s copies of the Hardy Boy mysteries. But getting a job as a college professor is another good gig. I’m retired now, but we got all kinds of holidays, including almost a month at Christmas time, Thanksgiving, Easter break, and in New Orleans, Mardi Gras was good for a week because students stopped showing up by the Thurs before Fat Tuesday.
    AND – here it comes, unless you really needed the extra money and taught something the university was willing to schedule in summer school, we got three months off. Once I had tenure (having busted my butt to publish enough academic research), I was thoroughly spoiled by the time the fall semester began. Sadly, few tenure track jobs remain in many universities. Turns out tenure is too expensive in the long run. When my kids were smaller, however, I shared your angst about what to do with the kiddos during the summer. Boy’s Club was one option and it was free.
    Thanks for a fun post, Kristen

  4. #8 by Widdershins on May 15, 2013 - 9:45 am

    Wow! It was exhausting just reading that.We didn’t have summer holidays where I grew up, so we just did those things all year long!

  5. #9 by renée a. schuls-jacobson on May 15, 2013 - 9:46 am

    Love this post with all my heart. Loved staying out and not having to come home until dark. Loved going to summer camp for 7 glorious weeks. Loved wearing practically nothing. No shoes. No shirt, just my bathing suit. Loved the ice cream truck.

    Italy has it right, with everyone relaxing in August. It’s not 3 months, but it provides some major psychic rest. We could all use that.

  6. #10 by Marcy Kennedy on May 15, 2013 - 9:51 am

    This is so funny because I just said this yesterday. Part of me really misses summer vacation and thinks I didn’t appreciate it when I had it :)

    I was also in the generation where we drank from the hose and played on playground equipment that’s now considered “unsafe.” It was awesome!

  7. #11 by Tonia Marie Houston on May 15, 2013 - 9:55 am

    We lived by a park growing up. Someone always brought a boombox. We made up dances to Wham and Michael Jackson songs, tied ropes to trees and jumped from picnic tables until someone’s parent made us stop, and played Red Rover. We cracked lots of skulls, broke a few bones, and traded Garbage Pail Kids cards.
    We still have birthday parties and play dates at that park.
    It’s time to stock up on Popsicles and sunscreen. I’ll have my three kiddos plus the one I babysit. It’ll be a madhouse and it’s no wonder I tend to drink more during the summer. ;)
    Wishing you and your family a fabulous “vacation”.

  8. #12 by AMMahler on May 15, 2013 - 9:56 am

    I loved the insanity of summer. I love watching my son get to experience it too. But why shouldn’t we still get to take a big hunk of time off like that? George W. Bush took three months off in his first year in office. Europeans don’t work like Americans do. Or I should say, they don’t stick to the crazy, stressed out schedule Americans do. Exactly why don’t we take a page out of their book?

  9. #13 by Eric Peter Hoffman on May 15, 2013 - 9:56 am

    Reblogged this on The Legal Standard.

  10. #14 by Jessica Knauss on May 15, 2013 - 9:56 am

    I missed school because it was before ebooks and the library couldn’t keep up with all the time I had in the summer to read!

  11. #15 by mitzireinbold on May 15, 2013 - 10:06 am

    I spent most of my summers reading, reading and reading. By the time I was twelve, I was reading and writing all summer. In the late 1950s the library was about the only place air-conditioned and Mom would take me and my sister there at least once a week. When I was a teenager I nearly drowned so I never learned to swim – just kept reading and reading and writing.
    Retirement felt like a summer vacation — until I started back to school to get my BA.

  12. #16 by Theresa Wright on May 15, 2013 - 10:07 am

    I think we should give ‘3 months off’ a try, it just might help with world peace! My kids are getting ready for summer, as a matter of fact, my son (19) left this morning for 3 weeks in Europe. Oh, to be able to hop on a plane to go have fun at the drop of a hat!

  13. #17 by Dorcas Graham on May 15, 2013 - 10:16 am

    Ah…summer days consisted of getting wet with the hose in the front year, riding our bikes through the entire neighborhood (look no hands Ma!). I remember sleeping in my shorts and tank top at night so I wouldn’t have to waste time getting dressed in the morning. No time to spare. And then there was Cedar Point. Yes!

  14. #18 by maggieamada on May 15, 2013 - 10:19 am

    Reblogged this on Maggie Amada and commented:
    We live in a time when we’re so stressed we can barely function. Coffee is not just a drug of choice. It’s a necessity and we don’t stay up until four am having fun. We stay up to meet a deadline usually. Nights spent on fun are reserved for special occasions, books and movies featuring silly people. I miss summer vacation and the ability to just relax for more than ten days straight. How about you?

  15. #19 by maggieamada on May 15, 2013 - 10:20 am

    Reblogged this. I miss summer vacations and a time when coffee was a choice and not a necessity. Thanks, Kristen, for sharing this.

  16. #20 by Helen Landalf on May 15, 2013 - 10:21 am

    I would give just about anything for 3 months off. I’m so jealous of my teacher- friends who get a summer vacation every year (even though I know they work their butts off during the school year to make up for it.) With three whole months, you can LIVE a vacation instead of just cramming as much stuff as you can into one week.

  17. #21 by Deb Scarfo on May 15, 2013 - 10:31 am

    What a fantastic post! It brought back wonderful memories from my childhood.

    I was lucky enough to grow up as a child back then and certainly recall my mother “locking us out of the house” not only in the summer, but in the winter too! But during the summer we didn’t care because we were too busy running through sprinklers and sucking at dripping popsicles made with Kool-aid. Our playground was the woods surrounding my house and our dead-end road where we pogo-sticked, hop scotched and battled in neighborhood kickball games. Relievio and Sardines began at dusk, just after Jimmy, the ice cream man came by. We sweltered and roller skated, rode bikes with no hands! Our moms called us from front porches when the street lights came on.

    I remember my neighbor had a chain link fence with one area without any links, so my friend and I could perform ‘acrobats’. We would spin and flip, wrapping our legs and hips around the bar, circling like our idol, gymnast Nadia Comaneci.

    And when I was only thirteen years old, my friends and I would take a bus, and then a subway, to get to the beach. At thirteen! My teenagers think walking the one mile home from school is beneath them. They balk at going anywhere, no matter how close or far, without a ride.

    I miss those days. When my sons were small, I did it all with them. I gave them the childhood I had, if not more. We played those games, made home-made popsicles and sold lemonade by the curb. They experienced adventures in the woods. Although, I have to admit I never had the heart to lock them out nor the sense of safety to let them leave the front yard!

    Thank you for bringing me back to such a simpler time. And yes, I DO believe we should all have three months off to just PLAY!

    • #22 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 15, 2013 - 10:38 am

      I FORGOT about Popcicles made with Kool-Aid. And I roller skated more than I walked, I think.

      • #23 by Deb Scarfo on May 16, 2013 - 7:37 am

        Me too! :) Thank you again for inspiring such a wonderful time in my life! I’ve linked your blog on mine and mentioned your book, as well! Looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the opportunity. Keeping my fingers crossed! :)

  18. #24 by Diane R Jewkes on May 15, 2013 - 10:39 am

    Loved this post! I spent my summers on the back of my horse riding through the desert defeating imaginary enemies, or when I was an older teen riding to the river to find beer busts to join. You could always get free beer if you came on a horse. Heck, my horse got free beer and she loved it.
    It’s so sad that we have turned this world into one where we are afraid to let our children go out and just be children. Three months off to just ‘be’ would be glorious!

  19. #25 by Debra Desselle on May 15, 2013 - 11:01 am

    Thanks for starting my day off with laughter. I identified with everything you wrote. The part about the summer camps made me laugh out loud. The monkey bars picture? I fell off one when I was in the fourth grade at a church picnic and broke my arm. That summer wasn’t too fun….
    We had slip and slides, too. To tell ghost stories, we’d turn off all the lights and close all the doors in the hall. We played spies and princesses and sang Moon River incessantly. We’d play the Monkees and Herman’s Hermits and Beatles records. We were out until dark every night during the summer. We’d catch fireflies, play Infiltration, and wear ourselves out. We drank from the hose, too. Not a bad childhood, now that I look back….

  20. #26 by Laurie on May 15, 2013 - 11:04 am

    Our summers were pretty much the same. I think us and the neighbor kids drank about a million gallons of Kool-Aid, and ate a million Popsicles!

  21. #27 by Dennis Langley on May 15, 2013 - 11:04 am

    Brilliant post! Playing tag, kick the can, seven steps around the house, swimming 6 hours a day, catching crawdads in the creek, smoking (at 10 YOA) under the train overpass, baseball games.
    I am already lobbying for world-wide afternoon naps to relieve stress. So, I’m all over three months off. When do we start? Now there’s a constitutional amendment I would get behind.

  22. #29 by breeroberts on May 15, 2013 - 11:07 am

    I’m fixin to have three months off (I’m stay-at-home anyway), but the thought of not having to get the wee ones up and take them to school and pick them up and taxi to soccer sounds like a vacation to me! My plan is to write my ass off!!! And maybe grow a veggie garden. I’m gonna need lots and lots of Kool-Aid. I ran wild like an indian all day and late into the night in my neighborhood as a kid. Too bad my kids will never know that freedom.

  23. #30 by Diana Beebe on May 15, 2013 - 11:17 am

    Don’t forget about the layers and layers of lead paint on those metal playground fixtures. Nothing wrong with me after peeling it to see all the colors they used. *twitch*

    Yes, I miss the summer vacations of my youth. One summer, we had a giant pile of sand that my dad had for the yard (I have absolutely no memory of how he finally used it all). We spent hours playing on it with neighbor kids. My brother and his friend drove their bikes over it like it was a BMX ramp. Even as the pile shrank, we found ways to play on it.

    Sigh… Texas schools have shorter summers now–the second week of June until the last week of August.

  24. #31 by Melissa Lewicki on May 15, 2013 - 11:36 am

    I spent most of the summer fighting with my little sister. She wanted me to go outside and play and I wanted to stay inside and read. She was a junior grade torturer. Cindy would punch, punch, punch my arm and put her grubby hands over the open pages of my book to try to get me to stop reading. So, I would haul off and punch her once. She would fall dramatically to the floor and cry and carry on and then—-my mother would come in. Cindy would smirk at me through her fake tears when Mom wasn’t looking. Lots of yelling and then I was forced to go outside. Outside was where the bugs and the heat were. And all those kids playing games I sucked at. And my book was inside.

    I have forgiven Cindy.

  25. #32 by alicamckennajohnson on May 15, 2013 - 11:39 am

    I spent 6 years of my childhood in Alaska. My mom taped aluminum foil to our bedroom windows because we would whiny that it was still light out- at 11pm and couldn’t we go outside to play? we also lived a new development which meant we were surrounded by woods, bogs, and meadows complete with moose and bears, and of course less threatening wildlife. My parents worked so once we were old enough- um I think I was in the 3rd or 4th grade we no longer had a babysitter and could be home alone all day. It was awesome :)

    • #33 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 15, 2013 - 11:18 pm

      I never thought about what a challenge daylight all day would be…especially with kids.

  26. #34 by julipagemorgan on May 15, 2013 - 11:44 am

    Oh! Six Flags Over Texas! During my 13th summer my family lived in Cleburne, TX, just outside Ft. Worth. My three best friends were Lydia, Maureen & Dorinda, and five or six times that magical summer a parent would load the four of us up in the car and drive us to Six Flags. They’d let us out at the front gate about 10 minutes before the park opened, and remind us that someone would be there to pick us up at the same spot when it closed that night. (I know, I get twitchy just thinking about leaving my kids at such a place ALL. DAY. LONG. And my kids are in their twenties! :) ) We loved getting there so early because there wouldn’t be a line at the Big Bend rollercoaster, and we could ride it over and over as long as we could. And then in the afternoon when the sun was baking down, we’d go to the top of that huge tower thing. We weren’t interested in the view of Cowboys Stadium or Sea World, but just wanted the breeze that blew that high up.

    Thanks for this post, Kristen, and the memories it brought back!

  27. #35 by Miriam Joy on May 15, 2013 - 11:53 am

    I’ve NEVER had a twelve-week holiday — in my entire life. Over here, summer holidays are six weeks long, and six weeks only! (Unless you’re in your last year of school, in which case they usually start when exams end in early June. For the rest of us, though, it’s school until around the 20th July.)

    Reading this just made me appallingly jealous…

    I had similar summers when I was a kid, though any water-based activities usually resulted in my older siblings and their friends ganging up on me and my friends, so that I ended up drenched when I didn’t want to be. That was less fun. But we did the whole water slide thing, and we had a paddling pool that we’d slide down into, so that was good.

  28. #36 by TraceyLynnTobin on May 15, 2013 - 11:53 am

    I remember the first time I DIDN’T have summer vacation. Even during college when I was working my butt off at part-time jobs to make up for the fact that National Student Loan are sadistic bastards, I still had tons of time off in the summer and during Christmas. Then my first “real” job came…and there was no vacation. Yes, I was technically entitled to two weeks off, but the way vacation pay worked was that it was based on 2.5% of what you’d made the previous year which, since I was hired in December, was effectively nothing. I literally couldn’t afford to take my vacation, so I went 18 months straight with no time off except for stat holidays (and we didn’t even get half of those according to our contract). It was TORTURE.

    I’m a big believer that working adults don’t get enough time off. There are exceptions of course, but most of us are worked pretty much to the edge of the grave, and then the world turns around and pokes our bloating bodies and complains at us for not also finding the time to spend with our kids/lose weight/do the chores/be a better person/etc.

  29. #37 by Stacey Joy Netzel on May 15, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    One fond memory was the water fight on the bus the last day of school. We’d all save dish soap bottles and load our backpacks with refills and water balloons and the ride home was absolutely CRAZY. I don’t know how the driver ever got us home safe each year. (Graduate of 1990)

    These days, my kids are always saying to me in the summer “But it’s still light out!”, and even after school starts, too.

  30. #38 by Thomas Linehan on May 15, 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Oh those memories! We lived in central NY, 6 miles from town. Once we worked our way out of the fields we’d head off to the woods. We’d carry a chicken from the barn and have an early morning snack. If it was that hot (as in Fla. hot) we’d head for the creek and dodge the blood suckers and snapping turtles. If we had just had a storm our side yard driveway had a great “slip and slide.”
    We’d run in our under-ware and slide in the mud, hoping we didn’t hit a cow flop on the other side. No big deal if we did, it’s just a little tougher to get it out between your toes.
    The swing hung from a two foot in diameter limb of a 100 plus year old black walnut tree. One would climb into the tire and with a rope attached they would swing you. But as kids do they like to play it dangerously, so each pull of the rope would take you closer and closer to the tree and if that wasn’t enough they’d start throwing green walnuts at you. Fun, fun, fun on the farm.

    tdlmaine

  31. #39 by Jess Witkins on May 15, 2013 - 1:07 pm

    I love this post! It’s so funny to me because I was just writing something like this in my book – about how jungle gyms required tetanus shots and slides would burn your legs. SO TRUE!

    I hated slip n slides with a passion! I never mastered the art of sliding gracefully, I just always ended up with a swimsuit wedgie, grass stains on my face and at least one skinned knee. I’ll take a water balloon fight ANY DAY!

    Remember the games that came out like Pogo Ball, Skip It, Bop It? Hours of fun and all you were doing was jumping up and down!

  32. #40 by Kerry Gans on May 15, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    If I had 3 months off, I would want it to be a different 3 months than my kid has off. Sure, I’d have to run her to and from school, but the rest of the time would be mine! And, yeah, I totally miss those old playgrounds that we used to have. One of ours was in sand instead of mulch and boy, did that sand burn the heck out of you! Hot slides, check. And the concrete tunnels that were awesomely cool inside.

  33. #41 by malindalou on May 15, 2013 - 1:39 pm

    I still get a little bit of a summer break, as my choir and bowling schedules pretty much end by the end of May and don’t pick up again until August. I still spend much of my extra free time outside. And I take day trips to the local beaches to clear my head once a month while it’s warm.

  34. #42 by Ellen M. Gregg on May 15, 2013 - 1:44 pm

    OMG, what a rush of FUN memories! :-) Our was that house, too. We had an awesome jungle gym, a swing set, a covered patio, a playhouse (glorified shed with a resident bat, but who cared?), a big stretch of grass for a slip ‘n’ slide, and for wheelbarrow races, and general cavorting. We also hosted our neighborhood’s Ronald McDonald Carnivals – usually a couple each summer. Remember those? Cowboys and Indians was the role-playing game of choice, and we rode in gangs of a dozen or so around the blocks that were our extended playground.
    Mom kept the apple and orange slices, and the molasses and peanut butter cookies, and homemade root beer and Kool-Aid flowing. I don’t remember the other moms pitching in with the snack and drinks, but surely they must have. There were so many of us!
    We were out the door after breakfast, braked hard for a quick lunch on the patio, then were back at it until we had to go in for supper. Back outside after dishes, and when we finally came in for the night, as the last light from the lowering sun faded away, we’d drop into bed completely exhausted and happy. Good times. :-)

  35. #43 by Carol Newquist on May 15, 2013 - 1:58 pm

    Great post. I love it.

    You said:

    “Do you think our society would be better off if everyone was required to take summer vacation?”

    I think society, nay the world, would be better off if we went even further than that and followed Bob Black’s advice per this link:

    http://www.inspiracy.com/black/abolition/abolitionofwork.html

    A snippet from the link:

    “No one should ever work.

    Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

    That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic revolution. By “play” I mean also festivity, creativity, conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child’s play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn’t passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act.”

  36. #44 by rainb0wbubbles on May 15, 2013 - 2:50 pm

    Can’t wait for summer! This post has made me look forward to it even more!

  37. #45 by Writer / Mummy on May 15, 2013 - 3:11 pm

    Oh my, 12 weeks? My mother would have died. It’s six weeks here, as someone has already said. Now, as a parent, I feel six is more than plenty! But then I can’t kick them out to build dens in the woods until bedtime… Even with that freedom, I still remember being happy to get back to school.

  38. #46 by hopecook on May 15, 2013 - 3:39 pm

    Homemade popsicles are the first thing that spring to mind! Trying to eat them before they melted and fell off the plastic holder!

  39. #47 by Kim on May 15, 2013 - 4:03 pm

    I think we lived the same exact summer vacations!

    I love your idea of a summer vacation for adults and a giant slip-n-slide?! I’m there.

  40. #48 by KarlaAkins on May 15, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    Dodge ball and field day. Both still give me nightmares! You’re the first person I’ve known who admits to it LOL.

  41. #50 by danielocceno on May 15, 2013 - 4:53 pm

    I have been invited several times to go to the State of Colorado, especially Boulder. A connecting flight at the Denver airport was the only time. I always worried about the next year of school so I would ask for old books of the next grade especially the English books, believing I would actually take the time to look at it during summer vacation. I spent most of my time watching re-runs of the Brady Bunch or Gilligan’s Island and Bewitched. Wild Wild West, still in Black and White, was a favorite. I would walk around for fresh air, but I mostly watch the re-runs. Marvel Comics cartoons on Saturday mornings. THERE WAS A REASON. I wanted to write novels like Wild Wild West. And I really did DREAM of Jeannie and Samantha Stephens and what I would really do if someone with so much power was madly in-love with me. I have not yet written the novel. I watched thinking that it was my future to write those and even write for Hollywood, but my favorite discouraged it. Get Smart, but a serious novel instead of laughable. I probably would not have the imagination today if I did not spend my time watching TV. I would need more “life experiences” to write a simple story otherwise.

    • #51 by Deb Scarfo on May 15, 2013 - 5:58 pm

      You should write that book! Its calling to you right now! 😊

      • #52 by danielocceno on May 16, 2013 - 2:07 am

        What would I really do if I found a gorgeous genie in a bottle? Or a real attractive good witch fell in love with me. Paranormal and urban fantasy subgenre in the ROMANCE genre supposedly is what readers download on their Kindle and Nook. It is something, which I really should write. I have completed and I am trying to finish a WIP of more in the simple romance stories of average people. It might make a good 10K plus novelette.

  42. #53 by Tamara LeBlanc on May 15, 2013 - 6:03 pm

    That pool shark pic is awesome!
    I loved this little trip down memory lane, the 100 degree metal slides, field day, dodge ball and cabbage patch kids used as hostages :)
    I miss those days!
    We used to climb trees every summer. A neighbor had a huge paper tree. Have no clue what the trees scientific name is, but we called it the paper tree because it’s bark peeled off in huge sheets like thick spongy paper. We used to take garden hoses, tie them in knots and hang them from the highest branches. We did great Tarzan impressions back then.
    Miss that…
    Have a great evening!
    Tamara

  43. #54 by glitterwriter on May 15, 2013 - 7:19 pm

    Kristin,

    Thanks for bringing back such great childhood memories…

    “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary..,” OMG I haven’t thought about this game for over 30 years!
    The best times of my life were during summer vacation. We had a beach house and went to the beach for the whole summer. Every day was exciting because there were so many things to do – swimming, waiting for the ice dream man during the day (and night), painting, reading books from the used bookstore, watching The Exorcist, reading The Amityville Horror, watching scary movies, slumber parties, bicycling everywhere, writing, going to the boardwalk, BBQ’s, catching fireflies, fishing, crabbing, playing on the docks, dancing around “writing names in the air” using a sparkle & sailing.

    In retrospect, my parents really gave me free reign to do what I wanted. It was empowering to do things for myself. I have 2 young sons and I encourage them to go outside as much as possible.

    • #55 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 15, 2013 - 11:14 pm

      Yeah, I think about the movies we watched and wonder where the hell my parents were, LOL. But good times :D

  44. #56 by Deb Trotter Writer on May 15, 2013 - 8:30 pm

    Kristen,

    Oh, the memories. Summer was, WAY way long ago (all of you are such babies,LOL) wonderful.

    My favorite thing were the lightning bugs. My little brother and I always caught some in mason jars and pretended we had magic lanterns. Of course we always let them go so we could catch some more the next night. I read recently that lightning bugs (known to many as fireflies) are disappearing. Scientists aren’t sure why, except they believe light pollution is partly to blame … that, and civilization. A friend sent me a link about little lights you can purchase to put in your garden (solar powered) that imitate lightning bugs … neighborhoods in the south and parts of the midwest are now using them to attract lightning bugs back to their yards. It actually works! I’d love to have some, but I grew up in NC and live in Wyoming now. I can imagine looking outside in the back yard and seeing curious deer, moose, and every now and then a mountain lion checking the lights out. Not a good idea. There never have been lightning bugs in this part of the country. But when I go home to visit, I can’t wait until evening falls so I can sit out on the front porch drinking tea with mom while we wait for the lightning bugs to appear.

    My other summer favorites … wading in the creek at my grandparents, having sprinkler hose fights with daddy, trying to catch crawdads in the icy cold spring, watermelon seed-spitting contests with all my cousins (all 26 of us), and Banana popsicles. I miss Banana popsicles so much! Oh, and one summer I read every single Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and Trixie Belden book at the library. Drove my mom insane. (Do any of you remember all the adjectives in those books??? “The young blond girl sped down the curvy road in her bright blue roadster.” Boy, would those books get laughed out of town fast. But I loved them when I was about 12.

    The summer I was 13, my 3 best friends and I formed a Beatles club. Everyone of us had our hair cut like the Beatles … I begged my mom for Beatles wallpaper in my bedroom and offered to pay for it out of my babysitting money. She refused, but allowed me to cover the inside of my dresser drawers with it. Bet that old dresser would be worth a fortune by now, where ever it is. We spent every afternoon in my grandparents’ old attic, practicing our “parts” to Beatles records. I was George, by the way. That was the best summer ever.

    It was incredible back in the 50’s and 60’s. We could stay out all night and our parents never worried about us. We weren’t bored, either.

    What a difference from when my son was home during the summer. There was no one for him to play with because everyone I knew sent their kids to camp, or Lego School, or sports challenges — oh, and the beach too. I can’t spend much time at the beach. I turn the color of a lobster after 15 minutes. Bummer.

    Free time in the summer seems to be a thing of the past. I miss it!

    Thanks for sharing, everyone. What a great trip down memory lane.

    Kristen, you are awesome, as always!

  45. #57 by TamrahJo on May 15, 2013 - 8:45 pm

    I can’t wait for summer vacation – the child unit and I are both naturally night owls – so not having to set the alarm makes it GOLDEN! But a funny thing has happened – apparently, in this day and age of trying to keep children out of trouble, sports camps and practices are starting to fill in the summer schedule –

    What Is Wrong with These People?!?
    :D Child-unit and I got a jolly laugh over your pic and caption!

  46. #58 by Julie Glover on May 15, 2013 - 11:07 pm

    I ache for the days when playgrounds weren’t so child-proof. It’s all so very safe now out there that kids have to go virtual video game to feel any danger. Sad, right?

    The good news, I suppose, is that I am not pampering my own children. When a bomb threat at our school caused about half of the students to miss–many at the prodding of their parents–my own kid said to his friends, “Whatever. My mom won’t let me out for a bomb threat. She’ll make me go to school.” Well, of course! And when my other kid refused sunscreen during a recent trip with friends to the beach and got so burned that he looked like Big Red soda, we slapped on the Solarcaine and said, “Guess you’ll know better next time.” Now if only I could send them outside this summer and lock the door…

  47. #59 by b.h.quinn on May 16, 2013 - 2:55 am

    The Hawaiians actually had a “summer vacation” every year for everyone called the Makahiki that lasted four — yes, four — months. It’s was in the December/January area, but it’s a time when they used to sit back and, well, party with feasts and celebrations. They also halted all battles and wars during the time (the Hawaiians were often feuding with each other).

    That said, I never had a “real” summer vacation. Summer was spent going to museums and I usually went to some sort of summer program in the morning, at least. It was different, but I appreciated the two-break breaks between terms more than I ever appreciated summer.

  48. #60 by catchersrule on May 16, 2013 - 6:31 am

    I always hated summer vacation as a kid, but then I had a horrid childhood so being home wasn’t a good thing. As an adult, therefore, I never equated the idea of “vacation” as a good thing – honestly I had no clue what to do even while I was able to work. Now that I don’t officially “work” a day job (not the 9-5 kind), I still don’t have much of a clue. So I kind of envy those who do know what they want to do on such time off, even if they can’t do it or can’t do as much of it as they want. I used to really love going to museums in college, and I still do it when I can get out of the house – lol usually when my husband’s on HIS vacation or has time off!

  49. #61 by sowmya on May 16, 2013 - 6:34 am

    totally relate with your posts, though I live on the other side of the world…

    summer holidays during my time 30 years back was being packed off to a relative’s house ( usually my aunt and grandmother who lived in another city), sleeping late, playing, playing playing…and then inventing some more games to play!
    no I-pods, i-pads, TV, or computers to keep us bored….that came later;)

    no playdates, or mothers organising our time…we did it all by ourselves Thank You!!

    yet, kids nowadays are also equally resourceful, if they can disconnect long enough….

    loads of craft work was learnt over the holidays…
    and many indoor games…we played, carroms, cards, and Ludo!!

  50. #62 by creativityorcrazy on May 16, 2013 - 8:31 am

    Loved summer vacation from school, but hated field days. Often my sister and I would stay with our grandparents for several weeks during the summer. We eat fresh from grandpa’s garden, swim in the pool, play outdoors for hours on end, and catch fireflies in a jar in the evening.

  51. #63 by Joanna Aislinn on May 16, 2013 - 2:07 pm

    Luckily, field day at my kids school was a bunch of carnival-type games that racked up points. Everybody plays against a clock and not so much each other. At the end of the day, one of the teams (denoted by color) comes in 1st-4th. Beats having that individual event stuff we dealt with. I was always picked last for every team, lol.

    As per summer vacation: sigh. I work in a school system and do extended school year. I miss some of the cash, but don’t miss the six week, 5-hour days; it’s been decreased to about 3.5 weeks and 4 hours, of which I only go in 2-3 days. Still makes things hectic.

    August: home with WHOLE family. Not a bad gig but so little time alone. Makes for lame writing karma.

    Great post, Kristen! Thanks!

  52. #64 by Suzy Turner (@suzy_turner) on May 18, 2013 - 10:38 am

    Yikes! I’ve always had an unnatural fear of sharks in swimming pools (blame James Bond) so this picture scares the living daylights (see what I did there?) outta me! ;)

  53. #65 by thexenophilediaries on May 23, 2013 - 3:26 pm

    YES, thank’s for bringing me back to summer!

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