We greeted every day as an adventure. I’m sure someone in the family called the four older of us hooligans, the way we ran wild. My sister Renée and I played shirtless in the heat. I’ve seen pictures of other girls from that era who did the same.
We lived outside to “get the stink blowed off.” The outdoors was a much more pleasant place to be than in a stifling house.
In the summer of 1955, Mom took a break one day and photographed the four older of us out front of the house. For some reason, she used the green card table as a backdrop.
The black and white photos reveal healthy round faces, bright eyes, smiles, and love. My hair is curled around my face from the humidity, with the characteristic crooked bangs. (Like cutting a cake, Mom always seemed to cut my bangs crooked.)
In the background is the tractor-tire sandbox. Dad’s red GMC pickup, circa early fifties, is just beyond the fence. A big fat hen pecks the ground nearby. The cattle chute and peak of the barn roof are visible in the distance.
I lived barefoot and only wore shoes away from home, to church or on the occasional trip to the Starlite Drive-in on Buck Nite. Dirt either puffed up around my bare toes in dry soil, or squished between my toes after a good soaking rain.
Sandburs went unnoticed. We stayed away from cockleburs. My bare feet found countless rusty nails.
Mom soaked my foot in a white porcelain pan with Lysol and hot water. I’m sure we received tetanus shots, I knew about lock jaw, but I have no recollection of getting any inoculations except polio. Preventative medicine was never mentioned.
We spent our days in rough, often unsanitary conditions, in the corral and around other out buildings, and with the animals. We tried to ride hogs in the hog pen. Their short bristly hair scratched the inside of my thighs.
In the barn we climbed up the wooden fence and hopped onto baby black calves. We sure caked on the dirt, dust, and critter smells.
I hope you have carefree memories of childhood summers.