Summertime Memories from 1964

Jackson,. Newsie, Dad and Bar
Jackson, Newsie, Dad and Bar

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

Summertime and the living is pretty hectic most of the time.  The days are filled with sounds of kids out playing – riding squeaky bicycles, fighting over possession of the sand pile, hitting baseballs off the garage roof, playing “mudders and fadders”, slamming screen doors, protesting the boys’ teasing.  

Jackson and the water hose
Jackson and the water hose

The days are filled with the sights of wet bathing suits, soggy footmarks on the floor, barefooted and bare-chested boys, tan and healthy looking faces, dust two inches thick in the backyard and grass two inches long in the front, blooming petunias and marigolds, a veritable forest in the back hollow with lush trees, squirrels, birds, chipmunks and a family of raccoons.

The days are filled with the smells of summer – the harsh chlorine smell of a carful of wet kids coming home from the pool, the smoky fragrance of wieners and hamburgers on the grill, the smell that permeates the neighborhood when someone bakes a cake, the fresh fragrance in the air after the grass has been mown.

Lillian and Penny, the dog
Lillian and Penny, the dog

Summer is filled with knothole games and the undefeated Sweeneys in their green and white uniforms, the much defeated Reds whose progress is followed avidly on TV and transistor, the harness horses at the night races and soon at the fairs, the neighborhood pools swarming with kids, the parks filled with families and picnic baskets, the roads overflowing with people and paraphernalia.

A knothole game at Oakley Park
A knothole game at Oakley Park

Life is hectic, true, and fun and as the song says, “lazy, hazy and crazy”!  L – July 11, 1964

Here’s a 1963 version of Nat King Cole singing about the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Note:  It would be 6 more years before Shanty came along to join us in our summer fun.

Click picture to enlarge.  The colored pictures are from a home movie and not of the best quality.

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

5 thoughts on “Summertime Memories from 1964”

  1. I’m so glad you decided to do this! What a wonderful way to preserve your personal history for your family, Lillian. 😀

    I have to say, that your post today took me right back to 1964, and being 11 years old. I built a playhouse off the back of the garage that summer. and I did it all by myself too! (OK, my younger brother helped some… “Hold that, get me [whatever]” etc.) Such fun! 😉

  2. I SO remember that song when it was fresh and new – like me. LOL Great pictures, and wonderful prose description of summer back then.

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