Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy – June 9

Welcome if you are visiting because you are on the 2016 A to Z Post Challenge Road Trip This is a series during the month of June celebrating Summertime


“Summer on the farm was glorious. Peter spent as much time out of doors as possible, and he had many playmates, since all the children were free from their spring and autumn duties of tending crops or going to school. Peter had become the leader of a merry band of youngsters, aged six to fourteen, who followed the Wild Boy wherever he went and seemed to understand his unintelligible noises. If they did not understand, then they pretended to.
The life of a princess has many advantages, but I envied those children for their time with Peter and for what seemed to me to be a simple, carefree existence.”
― Christopher Daniel Mechling, Peter: The Untold True Story

I took summertime with friends in the neighborhood for granted, but looking back, I wish I had been more mindful of all the things we did. I don’t recall that we made plans as much as we just showed up. Growing up in Evanston, IL. was safe in the 40’s and 50’s. We jumped rope and threw a ball against a wall, and rode bicycles. We played on our screen porch and under a large willow tree at the back of the garden. There was no ‘Peter’ that I remember as the ringleader and organizer. The cast of characters changed from day to day depending on who was available to play. I played dolls, and read books, and listen to music, and pretended all manner of things.  It was a simple and carefree existence with playmates that have probably forgotten my name too, but I bet we all remember summer days, barefoot, and free to roam from yard to yard only coming home when called.

This summer I think we should call up a few friends, explain a summer day we are proposing, and ask them to join us. They will thank us for inviting them out to play even if it is a rather grownup lunch or cup or tea.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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10 Responses to Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy – June 9

  1. What a nice thought, albeit somewhat negated by living in a different country to the one I grew up in.
    My experience growing up on a large council estate (public housing development) in the south-west of England in the 50s and 60s was similar to yours. We were sent out to play in the streets and told only to be back in time for tea. Without mobile phones (or house phones; the nearest call box was a quarter of a mile away from our house) there was no communication between house and playing child beyond the chorus of mothers outside their houses, shouting for their offspring to return – and we did. Many’s the time the words, “I’ve got to go now, it’s time for my tea” were uttered.

    • Keith, I am grateful you would add this story of your own experience of being free to roam until called home for tea. I hope you will expand on this in memoir-type effort. OR, I know the large council estate has a cast of characters that could fill a novel. Have you considered this? Our grandchildren have been over programmed, over parented, with little time for imagination. Weren’t we lucky in many ways that we had to do our own problem solving and find an independence that serves us well today. Please let these summertime posts jog your memory. Write on!

  2. dino0726 says:

    Hi – I remember a more carefree time growing up — I miss it for my grandkids.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

    • Bathed and in their PJ’s, two young grandchildren loved walking out the back garden onto the golf course path up, up, to a water cooler at the top of the hill. It finally dawned on me that this was the ONLY time they could do such a thing, on their own. Weren’t we lucky to have that carefree time no longer experienced by young children. Thanks for remembering with me.

  3. johnvic8 says:

    You bring up lots of fun memories. Some of them are going into Chapter Four.

  4. noelleg44 says:

    Lovely, Stepheny. I was also a free range child in the summertime. Friends could be found scattered over 3-4 miles. A lot of time we congregated at my place. We did a circus for our parents one summer and another time we put on a production of Cinderella in our barn. The upstairs was a wide open space with a raised platform. I ran with my dog on the beach, swam, played tennis, sailed – just what kids need to do today. Great idea to congregate for some summer fun with other “oldsters.”

    • Your comment is a GREAT addition to this post. I’m grateful. If I had read your paragraph when I began my research, I would have used it as I am using other authors to direct my reflections. I hope you will keep these thoughts for further expansion….the thoughts of Rhy in a scene? I am honored they appeared here first. I am going to use this to talk about you on my author Facebook page. I’ll end this with….Lovely, Noelle.

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Stepheny, you’re bringing back memories. Summers were filled with picking and canning from our large vegetable garden; platters of juicy red tomatoes, fried squash, fried okra, sweet corn; visits from aunts, uncles and cousins from Florida and Pennsylvania; swimming at the nearby pool and occasionally a Sunday afternoon at White Lake; thunderstorms; reading. I knew even then how lucky I was.

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