It seems summer has finally arrived, so I took the snow brush out of the back seat of my car. I do believe it is safe.

Summer was a great time growing up in Riverside. There really weren’t many organized things; we did our own planning. Our parents didn’t make play dates, we just said, “Can I go over to so-and-so’s house? Their mom said it’s OK.” 

Usually it actually was OK, and many times you would be invited to eat lunch and then go home to tell your mom what a great cook your friend’s mom was. I remember having to call a neighbor to see how she fixed hot dogs since they were such a hit with our daughter. She cooked them the same, just cut them differently.

Our games were simple and we didn’t need anything electronic. Of course, there were none at that time, either. As kids we used to like to draw on the sidewalk. There wasn’t “sidewalk” chalk, it was regular chalk which took a while to fade away, which was why my dad would not let us draw a hopscotch game on the sidewalk in front of our house. 

Riding our bikes and jumping rope kept us active. Much time was spent trying to find four-leaf clovers in the grass. In my child life I think I found a few and believe it meant good luck. 

One summer my plan was to dig to China. Whoever told me that must have wanted me to stay busy for a long time. I think I gave up when I started to see a few worms wriggle my way. I didn’t want to go to China anyway, although I do enjoy Chinese food. 

We played with trading cards and cut out paper dolls, made a Hawaiian skirt out of newspaper and flowers out of crepe paper. 

To keep cool we made popsicles out of fruit juice, homemade ice cream on a crank ice cream maker and turned on the hose. We were cool as we needed to be. At night we caught fireflies in a jar, camped out in the backyard and played flashlight tag. We seemed to stay busy, and if we got bored, mom always told us we could go clean our room.

What a difference a few — well more than a few — years make. Parents now need big calendars to pencil in their child’s activities. Actually, they could use a secretary just to coordinate all that goes on.

Not saying it was better when we were kids, just different and much simpler. At least I think it was.