Summer Nostalgia

Something about summer is making me nostalgic for another time period, like the 40s or the 50s. School has ended and so the schedule seems easier. No mad morning dashes to school, or after-school trips all over the city for sport practices and games.
Perhaps its because I own an old house on Vashon Island, a place that, although only a short ferry ride from Seattle, seems lost in time. Our house has remained virtually the same since the 40s when it was owned by a famous Northwest author Betty MacDonald. In her book Onions in the Stew, she describes living in the house at a time when people played games, baked cookies and walked to the ferry. I am sure the reality of her life was no less harried than mine, but I feel certain that the lack of TV and computers and iPods and cell phones must have guaranteed the tranquility that I crave now.
I drag my kids kicking and screaming to Vashon, where my suggestions of reading a book or playing a game are met with rolled eyes and a “That’s so boring!” I long to spend whole days there, painting trim, trimming roses, mopping the expansive floors, but instead I am implored to go into town for a “shopping spree” at Grannie’s Attic or one of the higher priced antique emporiums. Spending money and gathering “new” items seems to be the only acceptable pastime. I find myself in strange yelling matches with my kids, telling them they need to chill out and suck up the boredom. And then, once I have had my temper tantrum, something amazing happens. I hear these normally fighting children down on the beach, laughing as they take the kayak out, or busily building a fort. Suddenly, that atrophied imagination has reared up and taken up the slack that TVs and computers have created. I revel for a while, patting myself on the back with the pride a parent feels, knowing they have made a good decision for their children, feeling as though I had won back something that was lost, when one of the kids is suddenly in front of me again. “When can we go home? We’re bored!”

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