Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
The good ole days seems to be a recurring theme once you get past 50.
Having never lived on a farm, I only have memories of town life in the summer.
In the 50’s when I was a kid, air conditioning was pretty much non existent. When my Dad grew up in the 1920’s or so, it was not uncommon for them to take bedding and sleep in the public parks under the trees to stay cool.
We had a big front porch, on Main St and big old trees. At night the box fans would be transferred to the windows of the bedroom to pull cool air in across the sleepers. Usually by morning it was cool enough to pull some covers up for that last hour or so of sleep. I loved and still love sleeping with the windows open. I love hearing the crickets and cicadas. Little frogs in the spring and the leaves blowing in the trees. Even where I live right now it is wonderfully quiet almost the entire night.
I get a small laugh every time I see the TV ads for “moving your summer fun outdoors”. As kids we lived outside. Daylight to dark. We used old sheets or paint drop cloths to make tents over the clotheslines. We could usually talk Mom into some change for a Bomb Pop from the ice cream truck. We drank out of the garden hose. Played in little oscillating sprinklers in the yard. Or if you were lucky you had a 2 ring blow up wading pool. We rode bicycles, played tag with neighbor kids and hide and seek. We tromped thru weeds to a pond and searched for crawdads. We caught lightning bugs and watched the older men play croquet next door at what is now the Gardner Historical Museum.
You knew it was about to come to an end when the high school band started practicing, marching and playing on the streets to the north of where I lived. When the Johnson County Fair rolled around, your days of freedom were numbered.
I am not sure how my Mom managed the heat. She cooked supper every night in a hot kitchen. But so did everyone else’s Mom.
At the end of the day, you were glad to get a bath, wash away the grime and lay in front of the window fan to fall asleep. We were tired out because we constantly were doing something.
I don’t think those times were easier. The farm kids, I am sure, worked all summer doing chores.
I wouldn’t trade my air conditioning for anything. I do snicker at the thought of moving my summer plans outside.
Outside is a lovely place to play and enjoy. Fall will be here before long with cooler temps. Childhood summers are past me now. I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything. But I think I will enjoy my time in the a/c and do my living indoors.