We’re barely into summer and friends of mine with school-aged children are already hearing those dreaded words: I’m bored.
These are the same children who, not a week ago, were doing the happy dance that school was out! Summer’s here! I can sleep in!
Now it’s, “There’s nothing to do,” and “Can you take me to [fill in the blank]?” (The idea of cleaning their room apparently doesn’t constitute a filler for the “there’s nothing to do” quandary though I give credit to parents everywhere for trying.)
Being bored – a concept that I barely remember. As a kid growing up in the flatlands of Sun Valley, just west of the Crescenta Valley, I recall climbing on my bicycle and riding everywhere practically from sun up to sun down. My friends and I would ride to the park, the schoolyard that remained open during the summer so you could still play tetherball, or the liquor store (what the corner markets were called prior to “convenience stores”) to buy a kite.
We would act out episodes of our favorite shows – particularly those of “The Partridge Family” and “Here Come The Brides” (remember that one, anybody?). We’d dress ourselves in bed sheets and put on fashion shows or pretend to serve our parents dinner while they watched T.V. in the evening.
I was lucky growing up – my family had a swimming pool. Hours upon hours would be spent playing Marco Polo. A funny aside – our new next door neighbors were Peruvian and the younger son was named Marcos. For years, the mom thought we were calling her boy. The daughter ended up becoming my very best friend and we laughed when she told me that.
My folks wouldn’t buy a Slip ‘n Slide so, never lacking in creativity, we kids would take the Twister game mat, lay it down on the front lawn, put a hose on it, run and then launch ourselves on it, sliding and getting soaked. The only problem was that the mat was pretty small and we’d usually end up sliding off and onto the grass. Not only did we end up with grass burns but my dad was pretty peeved that we demolished his lawn.
Summer nights we’d play hide-and-go-seek or Frisbee. A company was giving out mini Frisbees that, when you sat them under a light for a couple of minutes, would glow in the dark. That was a lot of fun!
We only had one window air conditioner so if it got too hot during the summer and we didn’t want to sleep on the floor of the living room, we’d sleep outside on chaise lounges under the stars.
Summer was also the time to try a new hobby. I remember getting a paint by numbers of the Last Supper. Never did finish that one. Jig saw puzzles were also a good way to pass the time.
Grandma taught us canasta and we’d play for hours. We’d also play War or Crazy Eights with our friends.
I was fortunate in that I loved to read. We’d go to the library and bring home three books, challenging ourselves to finish them before they were due back.
Even with all this activity, I know there were some days that my friends and I were bored, that we’d lie on our backs on the lawn, looking up to the sky, envisioning all the things we’d do when we had our driver’s license and could go “anywhere.” The beach was always near the top of that list.
Complaining of being bored, I remember hearing my mom telling us to go outside and “find something to do.” We generally did.
As a grown up trying to keep pace with a job, family and a mortgage, the possibility of being bored seems far behind me. But it still is nice to pull out those memories and ponder how I filled those lazy days of summer.
Robin Goldsworthy is the publisher of the Crescenta
She can be
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