I don't think I was ever any happier than I was a school aged kid growing up on military bases and transient neighborhoods. This upcoming frigid weather has jingled some memories of stuff we did when I was a kid.
I learned to ride a bicycle when I was 5. Santa Claus delivered a bicycle to my house in North Carolina from my PawPaw in Alabama. It was red, white and blue, with dangly things on the handlebars and a banana seat. It was, by far, the best gift I ever received. I don't think any 16 year old getting their license can match the experience of freedom I felt when I learned to ride this bike. I cannot understand why my almost 7 year old will not take the time and trouble to learn to ride his without training wheels. Hell, I don't even if they made training wheels in 1972.
Well, anyway, I digress. I bring up the bike because truly, this thing gave m e wheels and I went just about anywhere I wanted to on this thing. As I mentioned before, I lived on military bases, which are actually pretty safe and quiet places to raise kids. But every once and a while, the lure of the big city would make us want to ride into town. (a strictly forbidden activity.) So one afternoon, my best friend and I, at about age 10, hop on one bike, one, her on the handlebars, and ride into the little town of Millington to have lunch at McDonalds. We just tooled down the sidewalk along a five lane highway during lunch traffic like nobody's business. We had lunch, scored some really cool Space Invaders toys, and rode back home.
I also learned to swim around this time. One really cool thing about living on base, is the fact that we had access to a pool, pools rather. There was an enlisted pool (I could go there with my military ID and my Dad's SSN), the officer's pool (where I was often the guest of my friends) or the indoor pool. We walked or rode our bikes to all of the above places from 3-6th grade without parental supervision. (well, they had lifeguards). I cannot remember a single time we were accompanied by an adult. To the pool. No supervision. We signed up for Red Cross swimming lessons, and all became fish.
I have many more memories like that, but my favorite memories during this time are the things we did when it snowed or iced. Several things stick out in my mind from these times. One year, we played relentless games of war. We had snowball fights in teams, and you were not able to use whatever part of your body was hit by a snowball until you were rendered totally useless. So in essence, you could be laying in the snow, throwing snowballs with only one good hand left. Oh, man that was so much fun. Another memory of that time is of my Dad tying a piece of plexiglass to the back of a Volkswagen and dragging us all around the ice. The best strategy was not to fall off! We built snowmen, snow caves and snow forts, and slid on anything that would slide.
And all this gave me an idea. How could I give my new millennium child the same thrilling and exciting adventures I had as a kid? I have a wonderful sidewalk that goes straight down hill into my driveway. What would ya'll think if I sprayed it down with the hose tomorrow night and turned it into an ice slide. I wonder if that would create the kind of nostalgia I have for when I was a kid or a run to the emergency room.
I'd love to hear your memories!