School’s out for summer – no more teachers, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks. Yes, we actually said that when we were kids. The final school bell rang and we were free.
Growing up in Riverside, the summers were very laid back. There were not many children on Selborne Road where I grew up, and my best friend was Susie Kessler who lived next door.
Susie’s mom was a teacher, so she was very creative and had lots of things for us to do. We did many things with newspapers, like making flowers and hula skirts. We made ice cream, which seemed to take forever but kept us busy. It only produced a pint of what was probably the best ice cream around.
She always took us to the library and insisted that each day we take a rest while she would read to us. My favorite book was about the cave twins, Firetop and Firefly. The Kesslers also had a chicken coop and some rabbits, which kept us amused.
I do remember the summer when everyone was worried about polio, and we all took precautions. Unfortunately, Susie got polio, spent time in the hospital and had to wear braces on her legs. She did conquer it and grew up, married and had a family; we are still in contact at Christmas.
Family vacations meant going to Berrien Springs, Mich., where family friends had a farm, and we saw more chickens and even cows.
Husband Joe grew up in North Riverside and says baseball was what they did every day. He would get up, eat his breakfast, grab his bat, mitt and a ball and head out to the “field.” He and his friends played at 26th Street and 5th Avenue where there is a clearing in the forest preserves or at 24th Street and 2nd Avenue, which was a vacant lot at the time. Now there is a church on the property.
Since there was no Little League, all the games were pick-up games and the kids made the rules. Then came the Riverside-North Riverside Little League formed by Husband Joe’s dad, also named Joe, and Fred Wilson.
Fred Wilson was the owner of the driving range on Desplaines Avenue where the North Riverside Fire Department is now. Little League meant more fun, more baseball and real uniforms and rules.
Those were some of the lazy, hazy days of summer for us kids, and weren’t they fun!