Back when we were young’uns we very seldom spent the night with our friends except in the warmer months. Mama claimed we’d catch our death of cold changing houses, lying on floors, etc. but when summer came we made up for it in more ways than one.
I had some awesome friends that I grew up with and lived in the same neighborhood. After we all got our chores done we’d get together and hit the roads or trails walking. I had three girl friends that practically stayed at my house and what time they weren’t at my house I was at theirs. We made a pack many years before when we were small to be, “best friends forever.”
Two of them were twins and some said they couldn’t tell em apart but I never had any trouble cause I was around em so much. They had a younger sister that hung with us also. Both our mama’s tried to keep plenty of koolaide on hand on those hot, summer days when they got the chance. Back then they sold it with the sugar already in it and it came in big packs. We used to slip and open a pack and pour it out in our hand and lick it. We thought we were hiding it from mama but with our colored tongues, no such luck.
I liked staying at their house on the weekends. We’d build a big, bon fire and roast marshmallows and wieners come dark. Their mama always had a pitcher of koolaide on hand as well, and the darker it got the better we liked it by the light of that big fire.
We’d play records on a little record player mama had ordered us six young’uns from the Spiegel catalog. We all cherished that little, record player. I’d take it with me every time I got the chance with instructions from mama that it was to be brought back in the same shape it left in, for the others to enjoy as well. She ordered it for all of us to enjoy but every chance I got I claimed it the most. We saved our money and bought those little forty five records, hardly ever could afford a big thirty three.
We’d get in the dancing mood and you name em we did em. We knew how to do such dances as the jerk, twist, etc. and it was the Go, Go dancing era. Mama had ordered me a pair of those black, shiny Go Go boots one winter. I didn’t care if it was hotter than a firecracker I’d wear those boots like I was in high style when it came to Go Go dancing.
We loved dancing to the Beatles and other similar groups and of course there was Elvis.
After we’d worn our tail ends out we’d go in and make pallets on the floor with quilts from the beds. We could have slept together in a bed but oh no, we all hit that hard floor. It didn’t matter that we had two or three quilts stacked on top of each other, that floor was hard as a rock. After rolling and tumbling on that hard floor all night and so sore we couldn’t move we’d make it to the breakfast table. After I ate my belly full I’d head towards home with the little, record player and come Friday or Saturday night we already had plans for another all nighter.
When we got together at my house we’d crank up that little, record player and start dancing in the middle of the yard. I can still hear mama today, “uns young’uns don’t need to larm the whole settlement.” We larmed the whole settlement at either place plenty of times.
The main reason I liked dancing at their house the best was the fact that my brothers made fun of us at my house. They’d laugh their selves to death and we’d throw rocks at em but it didn’t do any good.
What time we wasn’t spending the night or all day at one another’s house playing records and dancing we'd hit the trail towards the store with that little dab of money burning holes in our pockets. You talk about living in hog heaven after we bought that moon pie or candy bar and RC , there was nothing like it. Sometimes we switched it out for some peanuts poured into the RC.
We had this one little trail that led to the main store that was stomped bare to the ground. A lot of others used it as well and it was the most used community trail of all. When we’d get back on the trail home we’d sit down on an old log and feast on our treats.
Shoot, we had so many trails made we never knew which one we’d take next. I can count at least five between my house and theirs. Both our mama’s always told us to be sure and take the trails and watch for snakes. We never did look for snakes cause the trails were to clean. They never had a chance to grow up and every trail we walked was a wooded path.
Times weren’t like they are now and we did hit the roads quite often. We seldom seen a vehicle and the ones we did see, was someone we knew. They knew better than to stop and ask us if we wanted a ride cause we enjoyed walking more. They just waved and motored on down the road.
I’ll never forget the time when word got out there was an escaped convict on the loose and everybody was on high alert. Both our mama’s told us we better not walk through those woods, he could be any place but we paid them no mind till one day they were walking me back home. We’d got half way through that wooded trail when we heard something strange behind us. You talk about running we did and the faster we ran the faster that convict ran behind us. We were scared in the inch of our lives and just knew that convict had us for sure. We came outta that trail and hit that road so fast it’d make ye head swim. We didn’t stop there, just kept on running and we didn’t take time to run across the footlog, we busted that little creek wide open and kept on running till we hit the front door faster than a cat could lick. We scared mama and the rest of em to death and we were so outta breath we couldn’t talk. By the time we opened our mouths to explain our ordeal, in walked the convict and he happened to be none other than my two oldest brothers laughing their tail ends off. We took off after their hides and ran em till they couldn’t get their breath and the whole time mama was standing on the porch hollering at us to stop. We all just fell on the ground we were so tired and when we got enough muster, we got up and went back towards the house. My brothers tried to beat us there so they could tell their version but mama caught the drift and she wore their legs out with a little, keen limb. I’ll never forget that episode.
We never did find out if they ever caught the real convict and we were vigilant for a while till the talk passed. I personally think the older folks just talked it to death to keep us young’uns on our toes and it worked for a while but it didn’t stop us from hitting the trails.
What time we weren’t walking through the trails and woods we played in the creek. Another girlfriend joined us as often as she could. She’d come and visit her sister quite often that happened to live up the road from me. Little did we both know that I’d end up marrying her brother one day and she’d marry my oldest brother. The enjoyment of being a young’un was all that was on our minds at the time and we made the most of it every chance we got and that creek was our place to be on a hot, summer day.
We’d get on that footlog and jump in that creek like it was the biggest swimming hole to come along, although the water was only ankle high. But when we got tired of jumping in there we’d wade on up the creek in deeper waters. We always had a big swimming hole up there that we called, “The Ole Mill Pond.” It’d been there for many years and named after the ole gristmill my grandpa had below it many years before. We’d jump in that big pond and play all day long and go in home starved half to death.
We all found fun any time of the year, even in the winter when the first snowflakes started falling but we wasn’t allowed to spend the night with each other due to catching our death of cold. Plus we were in school, and on school nights it was early to bed and early to rise. That’s why we made the most of the warmer months.
I can honestly say those were the best times of our lives but everything comes to an end. Even those little trails has to grow back up some day.When the world opened up and we walked in, it was a far different world to what we’d come to know. “Best Friends Forever” are hard to forget and the childhood that created em.
© Susie Swanson, 2016