By Helena Rodriguez
Summer vacation has officially begun for me, and so I find myself thinking about my childhood summers.
They were the bomb. Not because we had money and went to Disneyland or The Grand Canyon. Most of our summer fun was free.
What kind of fun in the sun can you have for free?
We didn’t have fancy, family size, inflatable swimming pools like stores sell now. We ran through the sprinkler or sprayed each other with the water hose.
We’d run through the long sprinklers at Lindsey School after a long hot day at the summer program at the North Portales Community Center. That building in which we helped paint murals of Emiliano Zapata, Cesar Chavez and Che is now a memory.
At Lindsey Park, we told ghost stories about La Llorona under the trees. We did small community plays with minimal props. We watched Gilligan’s Island, Brady Bunch and Partridge Family rereuns on TV. We had water balloon fights. OK, so that cost a little money, but back then only a few cents.
We played kick ball and softball. On hot summer nights, we played kick the can, hide-and-seek and truth or dare.
After a day of swimming at the Portales city pool — back then it was only 50 cents a person — Dad would grill at City Park. That was free. To us anyway.
Also, with only a few bucks, Dad could pop a brown grocery bag full of popcorn and, I’m guessing, with only two or three dollars, he and Mom would take us girls to the drive-in movie at the old Varsity Theater on the Roswell Highway.
And Sunday nights were Spanish movie night. Who remembers that?
We made our own popsicles with Kool Aid and had lemonade stands. We had watergun and mudball fights. When we went to Grandma Emma’s house, we’d help pick green apples off of her big tree and sometimes Mrs. Maldonado, Grandma Emma’s neighbor and comadre, would let us pick cherries from her trees and we’d pick grapes and plums from Mrs. Creamer’s vines and trees.
And with Grandma Emma’s green apples, she’d make homemade apple pies and, my favorite, her apple butter jelly.
Those were the good ol’ lazy days of summer; lazy days in which, incidentally, we spent little time on the couch.
Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: Helena-Rodriguez@hotmail.com