Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Simple Pleasures

When I was a little girl growing up in the 50’s, some of the simple pleasures I enjoyed with my mama and my older sister and my little brother were the times she took us to the park late summer afternoons where she would sit on a bench under the shade of a big tree and watch us play while she thumbed through her new “Readers Digest“. She could read a few stories which was a simple pleasure for her, and we would climb, swing, slide, run and play until our hearts were content. We’d get hot and go get drinks from the drinking fountain and splash the cool water on our sweaty faces while we were at it. It’s funny how good that water tasted back then! Mom would let us play as long as we wanted most of the time and often it would start getting dark before we would pile in the car and head for home. In that same old wonderful park we also took swimming lessons while mom sat on the bleachers watching us, or while she looked on from her front row parking place with the windows down and the radio on, reading and waiting until we were finished.

We usually did things that didn’t require much money. One thing I enjoyed was Sunday afternoons when we would drive uptown in our 1956 Buick Roadmaster, and park it by Pringles Drug Store, which was the only store open on Sundays. We would walk down one side of the street, window shopping as we looked in the windows of each store front, and then cross the street and look in the windows of the shops on the other side. We’d go into Pringle’s Drug before we went back home, and get a nickel ice cream cone. Mom, and my sister and I usually got the green pistachio almond,…and it was so good. I think my brother tried different flavors all of the time. It was a simple pleasure, and we enjoyed it so much.

We also liked to go to the museum which didn’t cost money, and no matter how many times we went, it was still fun. We’d go for rides after we put a dollar’s worth of gas in the car, and I think I remember it only costing 25 cents a gallon back then. We used to drive to the beach which was about 7 miles from our house, and it was always fun to go there whether we could stay all day or just for an hour or so.

We loved playing in the sprinklers. Sometimes we’d just go out and turn the hose on and water the grass and rosebushes and the big tree so that we could get wet and cool off. We drank water from the hose, and made water balloons and had water fights. We’d stay outside for hours playing jacks, or marbles, or jump rope, or doing the hula hoops or pogo sticks. We were always using our imaginations and we’d think up new things to do all of the time and we were hardly ever bored.

At nights we’d go outside and sit on the porch and watch the fireflies, or look at the stars,… and in the summer we could also see the fireworks display from Disneyland every night at nine o’clock from our yard. Oh, how we loved watching the “Wonderful World Of Disney” on tv back then. The music,…“When you wish upon a star” at the beginning would give me goose bumps. We’d put a blanket down on the living room floor and some pillows and we’d turn off the lights and watch the movie while we ate popcorn and homemade fudge.

Friends and neighbors would often stop by, or we would go visiting and that was a free past- time too. Then games of “hide and seek” and “tag” would happen, or “two square” or a game of “catch“. Or the “statue maker” game where someone would spin us around by the arm and let go and we were supposed to freeze in a statue pose where we landed. We’d also play “mother may I?”, and “red light green light”, or “ red rover”. The adults would visit and the kids would play, and then sometimes lemonade and watermelon would be shared before we’d part.

When we shopped at the market we would get Green Stamps and Blue Chip Stamps according to the amount we’d spent, and then we would lick them and put them in the books and you could collect them and redeem them for merchandise. It was like getting free stuff. I remember once I got a new bedspread and curtains with the Green Stamp books we had saved. Just thinking back like this is a simple pleasure for me. I enjoy writing down my feelings and it is a good way for me to express my happy thoughts and share my memories with others..

I am quite alot like my mom was,… in many ways. I enjoy reading and going to the library to get the books I read,…which is still free. I enjoy spending time watching my kids and grandkids no matter what they are doing, and spending times with friends. The happiest times of my life have involved simple pleasures with the people that I love. The things we do today are tomorrows memories,….are we doing things that are worth remembering?

It is sad when people forget to take time to enjoy life and it’s simple pleasures. Especially since most of them are still free. In this day of uncertain economy I think it would be good to look for those small joys. To spend more time at home playing games and watching family movies and popping the popcorn. Or just going outside to look at the stars once in awhile. Or taking a walk together, in a park or just around the block.

Maybe singing some silly songs that we remember from our childhood would cause our kids to giggle. Some that come to mind are “BINGO”, “Do your ears hang low?”, “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad”, “How much is that doggie in the window?”. There are so many of them if we just start singing they will come back to us I’m sure.

Were you ever a girl scout or a brownie? It doesn’t seem like many girls do that any more? I had so much fun being a brownie! And have you ever learned a square dance? We did that in the 5th grade and it was a blast!

I know that times change and kids now days would find joys in different things, but it is still fun to do those things with them as a family. And now those moments can even be captured on video to re-live again and again. All of these things can bring much joy. I hope we will start looking for them,…and may God bless us all as we live each day for Him and for others,…and as we enjoy life’s simple pleasures together.

By Linda Hogeland

13 comments:

Lucy said...

I was in the Brownies here :) What great memories- thanks for sharing x

Karabeth said...

I was an only child with many cousins. They were the playmates that kept me from getting bored.

I remember spending hours playing with some of the most mundane things! My grandma would save 2 empty plastic dish soap bottles for my cousin and I who spent our days with her in the summer. We would fill those bottles with water and draw pictures, write letters, and do all kinds of silly things with nothing more than plastic squirt bottles and water.

I can't imagine trying that with my own kids and grandkids.

Sally-Ann said...

I really enjoyed your post. It is amazing reading other people's memories, it opens the flood gates of happy, and sometimes sad, times.

Lynnette Kraft said...

Reading your post just made me want to make more memories! :) You're so right - the simple pleasures are what make all the difference in our daily lives. God wants us to enjoy all the little things and I do so much.

I'm so glad you're writing all of these things about your childhood. Your children's children will love these someday.

I love you momma.

lambechops said...

What wonderful memories! I remember picnics in the garden, trips to the beach, and going to stay in my grandparents caravan in the summer. I cherish those memories too. Nothing we did was expensive either, my parents didn't have lots of money, and we didn't miss it. The best things in life are free - right?!

Abigail Kraft said...

You are exactly right...the simple pleasures are some of the most memorable things we can spend time on. Watching a movie with the family, taking drives, just looking at the sky--I'm inspired! :)

Your memories always make me wish I could have lived them too, but I'm so grateful to be able to make my own memories with my loved ones. :)

Love you Grandma!
--Abigail

Paula said...

What beautiful memories you have...

Kristin said...

I always love reading your memories. You are so right....the times my girls have the most fun is when we are just doing everyday, fun and simple things, like playing outside. Life often gets busy and I forget to do simple things with them. I think in this day and age, people think it's not worth doing unless it's something spectacular. Thank you for reminding me that every day is an opportunity to make beautiful memories with my girls that will last a lifetime!

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Linda,

I LOVE this post. Thank you so much for the beautiful memories and the important message that we need to hear...the message to enjoy the simple, often FREE pleasures in life. Those are the blessings we remember. My mother was a master at appreciating the simple pleasures and she passed on the gift. I'm so grateful for her example...and for the memories we are blessed with. Thank you...thank you...thank you...

Blessings to you,
Kelly

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Linda,

I LOVE this post. Thank you so much for the beautiful memories and the important message that we need to hear...the message to enjoy the simple, often FREE pleasures in life. Those are the blessings we remember. My mother was a master at appreciating the simple pleasures and she passed on the gift. I'm so grateful for her example...and for the memories we are blessed with. Thank you...thank you...thank you...

Blessings to you,
Kelly

Laura Hoekstra-Bettig said...

Beautiful post, Linda! I share many of these same memories and was recalling them as I read yours. My daughter is now a Girl Scout and I still have my manual from my GS days. Our neighborhood was much like yours...we played outside for hours, never going any place special but making days special by the games and activities we all came up with, on our own without the help of the adults in our lives! Simpler, slower days, they were! Thanks for sharing. Hope to see you next week on WWalk.

Becca said...

This post is sweet! I love the age my daughter is at now (2) because the simple things is what she knows. She would be perfectly happy dancing and singing outside all day long. I think my parents did I pretty good job at making sure we enjoyed the small things in life and not get to caught up in materialistic items. I really hope that I can do the same for my children as they continue to grow.

Jamimania said...

Linda, I loved your post this week!! I agree, with all the busy-ness of this world I think that often times people DO forget to enjoy the simple things in life. So many memories came back to me as I read through your story. I had lots of cousins that I played with and we caught fire flies, and played tag until dark... lots of the things you mentioned - and those are some of the all time BEST memories I have, just doing the simple things. When I was little and mom took us to the doctor, afterwards we would get ice cream at the drug store. It seemed to make going to the doctor not seem quite as bad when you knew you got to sit on the bar stool at the counter and have your icecream. I didn't realize that pistachio ice cream wasn't a new flavor. My family loves pistachio ice cream!! :) Thanks for the reminder to enjoy simple pleasures, our family needs to do more of that. :)