Boys of Summer

As a kid I always looked forward to the return of school days. We didn’t have a lot of money so we didn’t travel much. Summer days were spent playing games with the neighborhood tykes in the streets, some local variation of tag early on, a bit of street hoops as we grew older. When the videogame era started, it meant visiting the homes of the more affluent kids to play on their Colecovision, Atari 2600 or Intellivision. That was the thing with summer – I didn’t know what to was going to happen on a day-to-day basis.

An only child growing up mostly alone, I never had a best friend. There were few adventures or misadventures, no shared secrets, no common causes or pinky promises. In true introvert fashion, I retreated into books and music. I always had the radio and my cheap battered plastic turntable at home, so what I really missed was books. I missed the library.

Well, ok, I also missed the structure of school. It fit my personality. I was the kind of kid that never missed a class, that always did homework, and got straight As. I also got into trouble questioning authority. (I went to a co-ed Catholic school run by a bunch of old priests.) Yup, that kind of kid. I won’t do something just because some adult tells me to if it makes no sense to me. English was easy. I’d done the workbook for the whole year before classes started, just because I was bored and I liked reading the stories in the textbook. Imagine my indignation when the teacher accused me of having someone else pre-answer the book for me.  I think I convinced her by giving her summaries of every story in the book, going backwards. I wasn’t happy when she didn’t give me a perfect grade.

All it meant was more time to borrow books from the library and read. That’s why I hated the art projects. Not only were they uncreative because you were told exactly what to do and your projects were supposed to look the same, they docked you points for colouring outside the lines. Worst of all, these things were time-consuming. I think the only art classes I enjoyed in six years of primary school were watercolours and calligraphy. I was terrible at calligraphy and got awful grades, but it was fun.

Looking back, it’s easy to wish that I’d made better use of the summers to do more outdoorsy stuff. More adventures, but that probably would have required a BFF to get in trouble with. That’s the kind of thing you can’t force as an adult, much less as a ten-year old. I have no regrets. Those were some of the best days of my life.



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