School's Out for Summer

School's Out for Summer
Image provided by
Sharon Mollerus @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairity/

Do you remember the song? Alice Cooper was eccentric beyond belief at times but I still remember how I, with all the other teenagers, loved the exhilarated idea of the song. Even though I loved learning through the school year, as a teenager, I also loved the summers.

Swimming was a sport I didn’t find so impossible like many of the others. I had my first lessons when I was a mere five years old and continued to take swimming lessons, although not every year. I never got to where I could dive off the high board, but had no problems jumping in from that height. I did learn how to dive off the low board, both standing forward and backward. I took the swimming classes in high school and even accomplished the art of synchronized swimming (also known as water ballet).

With all I had learned, you’d probably think I’d be involved in swimming classes during my summers when I was a teenager. You’d be dead wrong though. I was at Mamie G. Eisenhower Park splashing and dunking other teenagers that were in the outside pool or sitting under an old elm tree just outside the fence of that pool.

Summertime at this park was special. I honestly felt carefree and loved — maybe just liked — for who I really was. I don’t think there was anyone in the group who felt they had to appear to be someone other than himself or herself. Tell me, how often does this happen?

When I could, I’d bring either my flute or guitar with me. There were four other teenagers there who played instruments: guitar for three of them, and percussion for the fourth. We’d sit under that elm tree and jam most of the afternoon.

There were days when we wouldn’t even be in the pool because we’d be floating down the Skyline canal that went along the side of the park. I’d get into the water that only came up to mid-thigh, put my legs out in front of me to float on my back, and away I’d go down the waterway to the other end of the park. To stop just meant putting my feet down. I’d get out of the water and saunter back up to where I had started so that I could do it all over again.

I can’t say we were always good. After all, we were teenagers, at least most of us were. There were two who were a little too young to be considered teens yet and one was my brother. One of the guys was nineteen, which meant he was old enough to buy 3.2 beer. All of us would chip in money and he would go buy the stuff. I really wasn’t a beer fan, neither was my brother. Nevertheless, we took sips just to see if you liked it each time. I never did. My brother, on the other hand, became a connoisseur of beer in his twenties.

We were just bad enough to also smoke marijuana when it was available. What can I say? It was the late 1960s and early 1970s, and I was a “normal” teenager. The dries form of the plant was everywhere. To tell you the truth, I liked it much better than the beer. I was more apt to know what my limits were and I wasn’t constantly looking for a bathroom.

 

I wonder if so of the magic I felt then was because of the era: hippies, make love not war, flower power, etcetera. Many of the beliefs and ideas I had then I still keep today. Was that era a turning point in history? I think for some it was. For others, it was just a walkway to the corporate 1980s.

Of course, through the many years, I’ve lost touch with all of those I felt so close to during those few summers. I feel some sadness over it, but also realize that life is ever-changing and we can’t halt it either.

 

I know many people have such an awful time getting through their teenage years. Mine weren’t all fun and smiles either, but I know I was lucky to have so many good times back then. Others were having such a difficult time waiting for those years to pass. I was always content to be the age I was and still feel the same way today.

 

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24 Replies to “School's Out for Summer”

  1. You little rebel. 🙂 I’m just the opposite on the wicked vices. I know how to control my alcohol intake, the other stuff, it seemed far out of my control. I would be curious to know–if we moved back to Washington state, and I received a medical tag–which I guess you don’t need any more. I would like to see if it would help my anxiety. Just curious.

    I picked berries from the time I was about 11. Strawberries and blueberries (which I hated because it took forever to fill a bucket). When I got older, I babysat. I did, however thoroughly enjoy my summers.

    I do remember that song, and I view myself as a hippie, which makes living in the deep South that much more difficult.

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    1. Yes, I’m still a hippie in the way I think. Refusing to acknowledge another point of view seems totally ludicrous to me. Judging anyone by how they appear is just an stupid.

      You know, April, marijuana is a relaxer. It probably would help with anxiety, but only if quantity intake can be controlled. From what you stated, that might be a problem. 😉

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  2. Your teenage years sound wonderful. I think most of us had our ‘bad sides’ growing up. It’s good that you knew your limits. I did too, but instead of being wise about it, I tested my limits and made an effort to exceed them. Therefore, I made very good friends with the toilet bowl as I bowed down to it on several occasions.

    It’s good that you enjoyed your teenage years and weren’t one of those who was trying to grow up too quick and move on from them. Because of that alone, you probably enjoyed those years more than most do.

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    1. Actually, I did test my limits too. I just haven’t got to them in this blog yet. 😉

      Yes, I do think I enjoyed those years more than most others. I had friends whose home life was a total disaster. Mine wasn’t great because of things going on that my parents tried their best to keep out of my life. And maybe that’s why my teenage years were good, parents who care enough to close the door before arguing.

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  3. That Alice Cooper song will stand the test of time. I was of the metal-head variety for a few years, but thankfully I grew out of it. I can’t claim innocence in my teenage years, but like you, I don’t regret too much it. I think I read somewhere once that people’s lives go in something like nine or seven year cycles. Each ushers in a variation of the prior version of ourselves. I quite like all my past selves…

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    1. You may be right about the cycles of life. If so, I think mine are on a seven-year cycle.

      When my son was in middle school, he liked Metalica (sp?) and Guns and Roses. I liked Guns and Roses myself. 🙂

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  4. Love the song. It kind of echoes in my head now.
    I found a journal two years ago about a vacation I went on with a girlfriend. My, my. I thought I had a dull teenage life. Uh-uh. Thanks for reminding us to remember. 🙂

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    1. How could you forget all that excitement, Tess? There were all those concerts and battle of the bands in the parks. And I know it went on up across the border because there were a couple of band groups that didn’t make it to Denver but made it to Canada to play.

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      1. As a teen I was still tight tight to my mother’s apron strings and didn’t go to concerts and such but DID manage to be bad, sneak out, go clubbing, No-one asked me for I.D. until I was legal and then I was ticked about the asking. 😀

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  5. I have fond memories of my school sumner holidays of yesterday ( and today – a perk of the job of being a teacher) We had a summer holiday house ( a small hovel really but so many happy memories of meeting up with other teens we saw just once a year) Summer is such a carefree time of sunshine and laziness in my mind 🙂

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    1. My family didn’t have a summer house, but we did have a camper for a few years. I didn’t mind camping that way at all. As long as I could avoid creepy critters on the ground when I slept, I was will.

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  6. I liked the line in the Alice Cooper song, “School’s out forever!” I played it in my head after my last final in college. It wasn’t true, I went back for a MS and have taken many online classes recently.

    Like you, water was important to me as a teenager. I spent the summers at the San Diego beaches trying to get a tan. My Brit heritage didn’t cooperate.

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    1. Despite my English and German heritage, I could get quite dark because of the little bit of Native American in me. When I vacationed in California, I missed the southern beaches completely. I did, however, go to the famous San Diego Zoo. I even rode on one of the tortoises. 🙂

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  7. I agree, Glynis. I was never in a hurry to grow up, I was having too much fun. The fun outweighed the teenage angst. However, I was in a hurry to blossom up top. I would have been very upset if I’d known it wouldn’t happen until my mid-forties!

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    1. I wish I could have given you what I had on top by the time I was 14. I was an early bloomer starting at the ripe old age on 10. This was one thing I didn’t like. I’m so glad it’s all over now. 😀

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  8. I love that song. It was an anthem for when summer would approach and we would envision the fun that would be had on the coming carefree summer days. Your piece (as always) has thrown me back in time. I, like you, had good and bad times but isn’t that life?

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    1. How many people do you know, Susan, who are judging themselves and their lives by how many good and bad days they have? I was told long ago that there aren’t any good or bad days, that day are just that, days and all we have to do is make the best of each one.

      BTW, did you ever use the song ‘See You in September’? That one made the rounds to where I lived.

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  9. What a lovely post, Glynis. Your writing reminds me of the coming of age novels. Did you ever think of incorporating your experience in such a novel? You have a very nice writing voice 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the positive feedback, Carol. I have thought briefly about doing some of it as a novel. However, I feel a little too close to the stories yet. I am working on another story that I’m hoping will be a novel. Maybe once I do that one I’ll feel that I have the objectivity to do something with these posts.

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