It was another summer, not the first or last that one could differ from another, likely if you were in some way blindfolded and began to slowly walk toward the sounds you heard it might start with the sounds you hear in the distance of laughter, the high pitch laughter of children, the sounds of some barefooted children , splashing around in a small water puddle, others with a ball, sneakers or leather soles running about as cowboys and Indians, as you got closer and listen very intensely as their feet hit the concrete sidewalk as they ran up and down the city street, you’re hear the sounds of skates rolling up and down the walkway, the sounds of a very good skater spinning to a twisting stop or the wheels of a old wagon being push by a heavy breathing youngster as another smaller kid seated in the wagon was urging the other kid to push even faster, go faster, faster, seemingly in another direction but not far away you’re hear the girlishly chatter from what seems like dozens of young voices, the rhyming musical calls done when double dutch is occurring and yes, the occasional sound of a baby crying a gentle cry, quickly settle with a pacifier, a grandmother, calling out, don’t run in the street after that ball!, there were bikes, tricycles, wooden carts all sharing the same imagination of having the fastest ride around, all occurring on one concrete cool city block of mostly row houses, where the sidewalk was a big happy summer playground in some cities, you would know it’s a fun evening, summer time was when no kid wanted to miss not being outside among their friends.
If you cover your ears and looked about you’re see kids, toddlers to early teens, several ladies with colorful fans , gently swaying for a cooler breeze, some gathered on a few porch fronts others sitting in their yards on an assortment of chairs they had brought from their apartments , some were interacting with the youngsters and yes one or two were showing their not forgotten skills at jumping double dutch, a few puff on cigarettes with a soda pop or cold drink nearby, you would occasionally see a child break away from any game being played and running fast to meet their dad, returning from a hard days work, another man standing near some ladies with a small radio near his ear, likely listening to a baseball game or some soulful summer song, you’ll see plenty of smiles, smiles on all kinds of faces, fat ones, thin ones, clean, dirty, dark, light, big or small, among children they were one big family of friends having fun in the neighborhood that seemed like the whole wide world to them , on a happy summer day.
When the Good Humor truck pulled slowly onto the street, everything took a break, some mothers reach into their bra area, white or colorful perfume handkerchief tied at one end with small change, small purse or wherever they kept small change for what was soon coming, mommy, mommy , I need some money for the ice cream truck, most children got their treat and the few who didn’t often got a sip, a bite, a lick shared from another kid, the ice cream man dress mostly in all white, his shining money changer attach to his black belt was happy, as he left heading for another block as good as our block.
There were other games played as well, most of the younger kids faded into their dwellings, there were times for speed games, racing up and down the sidewalk, seeing who was the fastest this evening, after the late sunset and no one wanted to go inside, until other games were called out, One, Two, Three, Red Light , Hide and Seek, and don’t forget the holla hoop and other games that were played, slowly everyone would be back inside, tired from a fun filled summer day with no school tomorrow and ready to renew their energy for another fun day in a kids life of summer fun on a neighborhood block like no other fun filled block in the world to them, it was the best free time that one could ever have and they would sleep well knowing tomorrow was going to be even better than the summer day they just had enjoyed.
In this children filled neighborhood there were movie theaters within walking distance, a small corner grocery store that had candy and other treats for less than ten cents, news paper delivery routes for youngsters to earn their spending allowances to pay their way for the next best movie in the whole wide world. Hope your summer memories were as good or better when you were a kid.