Monday, July 2, 2007

Fun Monday - Summertime and the Livin' Is Easy.

Jenni in Kansas of Prairie Air is the host of this week's Fun Monday challenge. Jenni asks us to do this.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:Share one or more of your favorite
summertime memories with us. It can be a childhood memory or more recent.
The memory can be a vague conglomeration of how you spent summers past
(catching fireflies, playing outside till dark, watermelon seed wars) or it
can be a detailed memory of a specific event. You may write a poem or short
story or just tell it like it was. The main idea is to communicate the
essence of summer and what symbolizes the season in words and/or pictures.
The mission itself has brought back a flood of wonderful memories...riding our bikes to go swimming at one of the city pools, playing on the Koehlinger's swing set seemingly from dawn until sunset, performing as a mermaid in an outdoor presentation of Peter Pan, kissing a boy that I barely knew at church camp, attending Vacation Bible School, having marathon contests of Monopoly and Canasta on Carol Lash's front porch, making 500 waffle crisps, selling lemonade to raise money for victims of the Korean War, squishing sand between our toes at the beach with our babies, being asked to marry Daddy D on the 10th hole fairway at Foster Park Golf Course. Out of so many wonderful memories, I would like to highlight this one.

Until I was in the sixth grade, my family did not have a car. To get places, we would walk, ride the bus, or ride in the cars of friends or family. Without a car, our summer vacation opportunities were somewhat limited for a family of five. However, thanks to Father DeGraff, a bachelor Episcopalian priest at our church, (Priests in the Episcopal Church do not take a vow of chastity; thus, many priests in the Episcopal denomination marry.) we were able to take a number of one-day trips throughout Indiana and the eastern part of Ohio. We visited historic places like Mounds State Park, Fort Defiance, a monument to Frances Slocum, and Lincoln's boyhood home. We went to scenic places like Turkey Run State Park, Indiana Dunes State Park and an abandoned limestone quarry. We went to lakes in northeast Indiana to go swimming. Wherever our destination, the Thompsons, my parents, my two sisters, Margaret and Betsy, and myself, the youngest of the three daughters were always in for a day of fun with Fr. DeGraff. The good father would drive us in his trusty Chevy, and my parents would prepare enough food for two picnics. Not only was reaching the destination fun, but for the three daughters the trip itself was an adventure. Our generous host would regale his guests with stories, jokes, and humorous little ditties. Additionally, the driver enjoyed taking back roads to find our final location. Sometimes, these backroads ended in a corn field or lead to a broken down bridge. For we three girls, these kind of mishaps only added to the adventure.


Eventually, Father DeGraff married a lovely woman and had children of his own. When my oldest sister, Margaret, turned 16, my parents bought their first automobile, a used two-tone 1953 Chevy. Our family began to take occasional vacations on our own, but I will always ever so fondly remember those very special summertime trips for a family without a car with our friend, the parish priest, Father DeGraff.









25 comments:

Willowtree said...

We didn't have a car until I was around 11 or 12, and I'm also from a family of 5, so your first paragraph is similar to my experiences.

I'm having a tough time getting a handle on this Fun Monday assignment, so far I've got nothing.

Pamela said...

a delightful memory. We never went anywhere much, even though we did have a car. Dad came home friday night.. he was home for the weekend.

I won't forget "kissing a boy that I barely knew at church camp" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Beccy said...

What a beautiful memory, I remember my mum getting our first car at the age of four and the fact that you had no car made each trip more exciting. It goes without saying how spoilt the children are today in terms of transport. I think some of the magic of childhood has gone.

goldennib said...

Things were such an adventure when they were more simple. They were more enjoyable, too.

swamp witch said...

Love those black and white photos. Great memories. We had a car but I didn't 'go to town' except on Saturdays. However, we didn't have indoor plumbing until I was 9 years old.

daddy d said...

As a kid, we always had a car. However, it was mainly used to take the family to grandfather's farm for Sunday lunch.

nikki said...

Great memories and pictures. I'm lovin' this week's theme.

Biddie said...

We don't have a car. We also have a family of five. I wish that we did, because we would take our 3 girls on day trips, and camping. That's what summer should be all about. :)

JennieBoo said...

I love old pics and the memories you have are splendid.

Thanks for sharing!

Happy FunMonday!

TLP said...

My family NEVER had a car! Never. Sometimes my father had a borrowed car, and there were then trips "back home" to the tiny town my folks were from. But I had lots of friends whose parents included me in on adventures, so all was not lost.

I love this post and the pictures. You are younger than I, but still the look of the pictures is very much the ways things were in my childhood, which began in 1941.

I may do this Fun Monday thing!

Karmyn R said...

I can't remember ever NOT having a car - what a different world we live in now! (I can say, "I remember our first computer" or better yet "I remember our first color tv")

Amy W said...

I loved reading your stories, thanks for sharing them!

wolfbaby said...

Aww love the pics.. sounds wonderful!!

min said...

I remember those days when you could get by without a car. How great to have Father DeGraff to provide you with such wonderful memories. Day trips are often the best!!

Beckie said...

Great post! I love going around reading everyone summer memories.

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

I only have one question for you! Who wears short shorts?!!! Love the photos all of them and the one of Daddy D in the earlier post too!

captain corky said...

Fantastic story! Those adventures sound timeless and really fun.

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

That is such a sweet, lovely memory!!! Nice photo;).

Kaytabug said...

Wow, I really enjoyed your story. I felt like I was trasported back to that time. Wonderful!

gawilli said...

Sometimes those day trips are the best even today. Nowadays I think we have much less conversation what with the videos, hand held games, iPods and cell phones. That looks to me to be an enjoyable part of your trips.

Jenni said...

Have you ever been to Chain O' Lakes State Park in Indiana? I have some very fond memories from there. One year the Christian Teen Summer School I attended for several years fell during my birthday week. The staff asked us to write down things we wanted to do during the week, and I said I wanted everyone to go to Chain O' Lakes on July 2nd, my birthday. I never thought they'd actually take us, but they did. It was such a blast and is one of my best birthday memories ever.

wendster said...

Wow, MJ! That was a great story and memory ... and so artfully written. I really felt like I was there. Thanks for sharing. Do you know what became of your friar friend?
I believe I will take this challenge ... but not today or tomorrow. Today is my hubby's birthday and tomorrow is my Mom's birthday. She's a 4th of July baby.
How interesting that you didn't have a car. How different from here where everyone has one, even back then. Cool to see someone else's experience. We used ours mostly on Sundays, and on Saturday mornings to go to the laundromat, and once in a while I slept in the back seat while Mom drove Dad to work at the shipyard. I loved going over the bridges. Maybe I'll post that for my memory?

Lynne said...

What a wonderful memory, and lovely story. I enjoyed this very much!

Thanks for sharing!

Joy T. said...

What a great memory, I loved reading this so much. And I love the black and white photos too. I didn't participate in Fun Monday this week but I'm making my way around to say hi to everyone anyhow :o)

Robinella said...

Such a great post! And I love the photos. Thanks for sharing that memory. ~R