Fond Summer Memories
It was great to grow up in Boise, back in the 60s. And summers brought particularly enjoyable pastimes.
Since we lived on the edge of town, with the "military reserve" a block down the street, it was like having the biggest, most awesome backyard... filled with trails and rocks and sagebrush and lizards and the occasional snake. I'd take advantage of that at least once a week, walking up to nearby "Eagle Rock," or maybe even over the top to Cottonwood Canyon. All that space and a pocketful of Matchbox cars... what else did you need to stay entertained?
We lived on a gently-sloping gravel road. It was always pleasurable to set the hose so water would run down the gutter, and then we'd build miniature earth-filled dams with roads, spillways, etc., in that gutter. (Mom indulged us, probably thinking I'd grow up to be the next Harry Morrison.)
The "Nat" (Natatorium city swimming pool, off Warm Springs) was a frequent haunt. We'd go there probably 4 afternoons a week, and spend a couple hours. (After the first week or so, we'd gotten all that sunburn stuff out of the way. I don't believe there was any such thing as sunscreen back in those days.) We'd go with the neighbors. Sometimes Mom would drive. Sometimes their mom would drive - I dreaded that because she always had a cigarette going. GACK! (We were suspicious of her anyway... because she'd holler at us when we'd play on her dirt "Stay off that bank!", and shoot our dog with her pellet gun when he was barking too much for her sensibilities. But I digress.)
Now and then, I'd splash a kid after getting the cease-and-desist order from the lifeguard. And get kicked out. Which wasn't so bad - there was a canal that ran right behind the pool. Usually my brothers and sisters would leave with me, and we'd head for the canal, which seemed a rather exciting, dangerous adventure, compared with that sparkling, clean swimming pool water.
Frequently after swimming, we'd stop at the Avenue Inn (now the Trolley House) and get a softie. 5 cents for small (pointy cone), 10 cents for large (flat-bottom cone). The proprieter - a rather gruff old fellow named Chris - didn't hear very well... you soon learned to ask for a "softie," and not a "cone." Because if you asked for a "cone," he'd often prepare you a "coke" instead.
Another favorite treat-stop was the Fanci Freez, on State Street (where it remains to this day). Strangely, it, too, was run by a rather sullen and somber old fellow and his equally-somber wife. They didn't have much to smile about, apparently. I usually got a large root beer float (30 cents). The most expensive thing on the list was a Boston Shake - 45 cents. It was a milkshake with a sundae on top. Fan-TAS-tic!! Dip cones were also a favorite.
Another cherished summer memory - weekday movies at the Ada Theater. (Now the Egyptian. In this age of VCRs and DVDs and satellite dishes, it just wouldn't be the same.) Mom would get us a season ticket for adventure movies on a weekday morning, at the Ada Theater. Sometimes we'd even get popcorn, or a soda. We'd always sit in the same place - first row of the balcony. And we'd watch a John Wayne movie, or Roy Rogers. Or maybe Sinbad, or Jason and the Argonauts, or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, or Mysterious Island. The crowd was raucous - we'd cheer for the good guys, and boo the bad guys.
It's too bad you only get to be a kid once... because I sure loved it! (But as my mother reminds me, "You're only young once, but you can be immature forever.")