We weren’t close enough to California to be surfer girls who would wipeout, but we were ready to roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! Three months of making our own fun -no computers, video games, or cell phones. And why go inside to watch an old black and white TV that only got 3 channels?
Growing up on the Mississippi River was our Malibu. Back then the river was clean enough to swim, water-ski, raft, and camp on one of the sandbars. No fear of being mugged, or robbed. A friend recently sent me a picture of 15 of us kids at my 8th birthday party – outside. No theme parties – just ice cream and cake and games. Other days we played hide and seek, went swimming, had bicycle races, and freely roamed throughout our little “corner of the world.” Every town, village and even big city neighborhoods had their own.
We made our own fun, we included everyone and we loved our simple, innocent, sheltered little lives.
HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY, BACK OF MY NECK GETTING’ DIRTY AND GRITTY was our theme song. Why would anyone want to stay indoors? Don’t say, “Too hot,” because we didn’t even have air-conditioning back then. We just stayed wet by sweating – or running through the water hoses or fire hydrants. If you got to swim in a chlorinated pool, that counted as a bath! We had lemonade stands, sunburns, new freckles, Vacation Bible School, summer little league sports – and The Cardinals! Going to see Stan the Man didn’t mean the statue, though he was bigger than life. And we had our own street ballgames. Cars would stop for us, our parents would yell to get out of the streets and we’d move to a vacant lot.
I didn’t know what a little deuce coupe was but I wanted one for my 16th birthday. Instead I was allowed to occasionally drive the family station wagon. As society became more sophisticated, so did we. I was sure that the Beach boys wrote IN MY ROOM just for me and I went back and forth between future husbands, Paul McCartney or Mike Love.
Puberty attacked about the same time the hippy movement did, adding the notion of “dropping out of society.”
I had never seen the beach – only the Mississippi River -but I wanted to have long straight blonde hair and wear a bikini! Instead I had short dark curly hair and was very overweight. Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas was more my size, and I really started CALIFORNIA DREAMING. My friend Carol and I stole her dad’s car to drive to LA and become hippies and try a new thing called marijuana. We had watched the movie Reefer Madness and we were afraid it would make us go crazy, but nevertheless we ran away. We got all the way to Mexico, where our parents had us tracked down by the police. To teach us a lesson they put us in jail for the night – in Mexico – Mexico, Missouri that is, about 100 miles from home. We had only been gone long enough to spend all our money. But when the kids at school heard that we made it all the way to Mexico and our parents had us thrown in jail, we really sounded tough! When I dropped out I truly thought SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER, but my parents convinced me to at least get a High School diploma.
The following summer when most of my friends were getting ready for college, I decided to do the same – just to get away and have fun of course. But I met my husband to be, Bud Peppers, and though I majored in “partying” and did just enough to get by, with his and God’s help, I finally graduated. “No more school forever!” I thought. After a year of unsuccessful job searching, I was drawn to the crazy idea to help troubled teens. Thirty years later, I retired to become a professional motivational speaker, and love it almost as much as I did teaching.
And now, once again those endless summers are on their way back! Now that I am a real senior (senior citizen), summertime is about to be full of lazy, crazy days where the living is easy… we are running away to Florida to live on a houseboat! Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…
Read more posts by Debra Peppers, Ph.D., here. Dr. Peppers blogs for JenningsWire.
The online feature magazine, JenningsWire.com, is created by National PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book promotion services to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major high impact radio talk interview shows, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media outlets and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers across the country.