Rembering summers gone by

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I remember summers growing up in Trumann that were filled with fun and activities. Times were different then, because we didn't have near as many activities to fill the hours as kids do today.

We didn't stay in the house playing video games. We were outside from daylight to dark. In our neighborhood, Davis Street, Holly Avenue and Thomas Street, the block had plenty of families with kids. Other families lived on surrounding streets.

If my cousin Gail Yarbrough wasn't home, I'd simply continue on throughout the neighborhood to the Clogston's or the Martin's or the Knight's. Chances are someone would be home.

We would go out in the morning and rarely come home before dark. Someone's mother would feed you lunch. All the mothers in the neighborhood looked after you. And if you needed disciplining or a reprimand, they readily stepped in. If you misbehaved badly, they picked up the phone and called your mother and you were busted.

We had such a good time each day. And we certainly didn't have any trouble falling asleep at night…because we were dead tired after our days of traversing the neighborhood.

Growing up together, we had always known each other. Our parents were all friends. We went to each other's vacation Bible schools. We all attended Trumann Schools together.

Now when we do occasionally see each other, we reminisce about the good old days in the neighborhood.

Life really was good for us back then. Kids were kids. We weren't that interested in the adult world because we were having a great time as kids.

Our job was to make good grades at school, do our chores, and to be a kid.

Our parents spent time with us. Most of our moms stayed at home. Our dads did work a lot, but they also did things with us.

We were instilled with our parent's values.

James Michener wrote about the importance of values. "They (values) must be taught in the home, religious training, in the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, in Little League and the media. And most critically, as a guarantee that everyone will be exposed to them, they must be taught in school."

When I was growing up, the pace was slow and easy. I feel sorry for kids today. There is always so much to do. There are so many television channels to choose from. There are activities to be involved in non-stop.

There's not much tranquility. A slower pace forced us to be more creative when we were searching for something to do in the summer. We played a lot of games. Jackie Coggins beat me in more games of baseball than I will ever remember.

We rode our bikes. We climbed a lot of trees and built a lot of forts. The majority of our activities took place outside. We didn't mind the heat. It was just part of playing outside.

Our mothers didn't let us watch a lot of television. Truth be told there wasn't a lot of television to watch back then.

I always get tickled when kids are interviewed these days. One of the questions they're asked is, "What's the best thing about being a kid?"

And most kids today will say, "The best thing is that I don't have to pay the bills."

When I was growing up, I don't think most of us kids knew what bills were.

Comedian Bob Hope used to quip, "Isn't it a wonder how kids are so anxious to be grown-up?" And today, most kids are.

It was easier when I was growing up. We accepted who we were, we didn't want or need much. We just had fun with our brothers and sisters and our friends.

And summers were great…just playing in the neighborhood. Some of my neighborhood friends are no longer with us. Janice Martin, Jerry Coggins and John Alan Martin are gone.

Janice Martin (the daughter of Heber and Noreen Martin) and I talked about our good times growing up the day before her death. Her brother Johnny is gone, too.

We had fun everyday in our neighborhood. And many of our games were the result of our own imaginations.

I wish kids today could have the opportunity to know what those days in the neighborhood were like.