By SALLY Y. HAYES
Mt. Pleasant News
Thursday morning I had the pleasure of visiting the Iowa Wesleyan College campus to take photos of the activities at Summer Enrichment sponsored by the Great Prairie AEA. Returning to summertime classes had me reminiscing of my childhood summers.
The wave of nostalgia brought me to list the top five things I miss from those long, hot summer days in Mt. Pleasant, when my bicycle was my main mode of transportation.
1. The swimming pool. My sister, Maya, and I were like fish from Memorial Day to Labor Day, whether it be at swimming lessons or going to the pool for endless hours in the afternoons. I wonder how much sunscreen our family has gone through in the last two decades.
I faintly recall the old pool and the summer when the current pool was being constructed; that summer swimming lessons were held in the pool in the Old Gym at IWC.
Looking back I applaud Mom for combing our often tangled and chlorine-drenched hair.
Lately, an afternoon relaxing in the cool water with the radio up and sunglasses on sounds like the perfect remedy for a long workweek.
2. Lazy mornings. Family Feud, Price is Right and Murder She Wrote were part of the morning TV schedule for many summers while enjoying a bowl of cereal. Or when the shows were reruns, enjoying a book series or movie marathon.
Sleeping in was a treat I took for granted then. Sometime between college and today I lost the ability to sleep in.
3. Aimless walks and bicycle rides. When exercise wasn?t about maintaining weight or counting calories, but rather the freedom of Mom and Dad letting Maya and I venture from outside the fence of the backyard.
Often there was no destination in mind, simply to explore the neighborhood.
4. Nights outside. Countless hours spent outside stargazing, chasing lightning bugs, watching fireworks and eating dinner off the grill on the deck. Now grilling seems like a chore, bugs are just there to bite and fireworks are a fire hazard.
5. Family vacations. My utmost favorite parts of my childhood summers were family vacations. From a weekend trip to Adventureland to a cross-country trek to Niagara Falls, those memories are the best.
Mom and Dad would pack up the car while Maya and I would nestle into the back seat, occasionally making forts. Hayes family vacations were more like long, extravagant field trips than relaxing get-aways, but looking back I wouldn?t want it any other way.
We used to joke that Mom would stop at every brown sign serving as a historical marker.
At the time I didn?t realize I was spending those long summer days with my best friend, my sister.
Yes, looking back I really do miss those childhood summer vacations and wonder if I?ll have the pleasure of someday (not in the near future) spending summers with my children in a similar fashion.
Oh, how nostalgia can be bittersweet.