Sunday Morning Positive Perks from your Sassy Small Town Missus

Posted 12 September 2021 at 8:00 am

Summertime lessons at the local park

The simplest childhood joys echo in the skies above Lafayette Park in Albion to this day. As a young girl in the 70’s, I don’t recall the parents in our neighborhood thinking we were all cute and cuddly. Just the opposite, thankfully.

We were not attached at their hips, and they were able to find adult joys that did not include us kids. Which we appreciated. We wanted our friends to be our peers, not our parents. It was special to see when they fancied themselves up for a night out. We knew they loved us and that we were their lives, just not their whole lives.

In the summer of the 70’s in our neighborhood, once we heard the big metal lock and chain hit the fence on the gates of Lafayette Park and the swings started squeaking on the big swing set, it meant it was time to seize the day. You were expected to go outside for the day. Don’t come back until lunch or dinner. Lessons in Independence.

Our parents had better things to do than entertain us. We needed to use our powerful imaginations and entertain ourselves. And we were happy to oblige. Being at the park was magical. Lessons in Finding Joy. As exciting as it was to hear the gates unlock, trust that it was equally deflating to hear the gates lock at lunchtime and again at the end of the day. But in between when it was unlocked, we had some very serious ring toss games, and many tournaments were played. Some quite contentious. I recall my brother and I having a physical altercation over a game once that left me grounded from the park for days and a scar that still lives on his shoulder. A lesson that we all can’t be winners, so we need to be gracious losers sometimes.

My first kiss was behind the bathroom supply shed, sitting on the windowsill. I might have been 10 and it was just a small kiss, but it was very special. A lesson in Love. The counselors were very engaging and we would sit under the crafting pavilion and make boondoggles for hours. Lessons in Social Cues and Community.

The best was the big round concrete pool that was in the middle of the park. My brother and I even paraded around it, during the annual pageant and won King and Queen of the Parks. I was way more excited about it than he was. We were adorned with floral crowns. I beamed and he scowled. Lessons in Pride.

We took “bike hikes” to other parks or Mt Albion. One of those trips left me with stitches in my palm when I took a tumble off my bike and skidded down the gravel slopes! Another trip, to the Brown Street Bridge, left my brother with stitches in his chin when he tumbled off his bike going down the hill. No one sued, no one quit living. We just dusted ourselves off and waited at the gate of Lafayette Park the next morning. Lessons in Resilience.

Life Lessons learned in the 1970’s. Simpler times, yet Sassy Lessons that propelled us all into adulting.

What was your childhood summer lesson? To see the Queen and King, visit My Blog live online here and catch up on Weekly Photo Perks and past Sunday Posts. Like and share your comments.

Debbie London