Memories of Summer: A Nostalgic Journey Through the Great Outdoors

My early summer days in rural New York were spent with dirty feet, running through fields and facing the occasional scrape from thorny plants. The neighborhood children would come knocking at my door, asking if I wanted to join in on their adventures, to which my answer was always a resounding "yes". Being outside was simply more exciting than being inside, and our parents seemed to understand this, relishing in the peace and quiet while we explored the great outdoors.

My parents had a special whistle that they would blow from the front porch to signal it was time to come back home. Interestingly, this worked wonders and we always obediently returned. If you grew up in the nineties, you likely had similar experiences to mine. Some of our favorite activities included:

  • Rolling down the hills of freshly cut grass, even if it resulted in grass stains.
  • Building forts in the nearby woods.
  • Playing hopscotch or drawing with sidewalk chalk on the driveway.
  • Collecting Japanese beetles and setting them free.
  • Climbing trees and taking turns exploring the heights.
  • Biking to the creek up the road to catch crayfish and minnows.
  • Wading through the fields at dusk to capture lightning bugs in empty, rinsed-out jars.
  • Gather with the neighborhood kids for a game of kickball or four-square.
  • Biking to the corner store for penny candy.
  • Playing hide-and-go-seek with friends.
  • Shucking corn on the swing set in the backyard.

Even though we had a computer in the 90s, it was still a battle to play games like Digger, Torin's Passage, or Encyclopedia Britannica trivia. But in the end, playing outside was always the more thrilling option.

My childhood memories are priceless and I wouldn't trade them for anything, but I often wonder if there are still neighborhoods where children play outside with their neighbors or if this is a thing of the past. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that this tradition has not been completely forgotten.

Kids of the 90s, what did I miss? What were your favorite outdoor activities?

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