Maybe other Baby-Boomers can relate to this more than the younger folks, but I remember being so bored when I was a kid. Maybe we had more time on our hands because we didn’t have the money to go to summer camp or have a pool membership, but it seems to me I was bored quite a bit.
I loved to read, even as a kid, but again, money was in short supply. (Don’t ask me why we didn’t go to the library, I have no idea why Mom didn’t take us.) Due to a lack of books, I would read the same ones again each summer and would even resort to reading the encyclopedia set we had. If the school gave us a summer reading list, I would be so happy because then Mom had to find us the books to read.
But sadly, after the first few weeks of summer, boredom would return when all the books had been read.
It took some time to learn this, but all of us three sisters learned to NEVER EVER tell our mother, “There’s nothing to do”, or get caught doing nothing.
She would always say, “I’ll find you something to do”, and believe me it wouldn’t be fun.
(1) WEEDS! We had these big gardens in the front and back of our house and every summer we would all have to pull weeds in those gardens. You know the feeling on a hot, sticky day outside pulling weeds. Yuck! No gloves, so the dirt stuck to your hands and got under your fingernails. The bugs! Ick! The flies would buzz around your head and the ants would crawl up your legs. I hated it.
(2) CLEAN OUT THE GIANT CLOSET! In the laundry room of our house was a huge closet where the toys and games were kept. We accumulated these things through years of Christmases and birthdays. Just like most kids, we would play with something and never want to put it away. When we played board games, the loser always had to put it away. We would throw all the pieces in the box and toss the box into the giant closet. Notice, I said “toss”, not stack. The boxes never landed flat and the pieces inevitably fell out. So, cleaning out the giant closet was only fun if you could get away with playing with the toys as you put them away neatly and gathered up all the Monopoly pieces and play money scattered on the bottom of the closet. But beware, if you played more than you cleaned, you would get caught and yelled at.
(3) PAINT THE FENCE! We had a very attractive white picket fence around our backyard. It was great for keeping our basset hounds from running away. But it seems like almost every summer we got the job of painting that thing. It was a big job to paint each one of the boards and posts. Bugs would fly into the paint and stick there.
I vowed never to do this to my kids and I didn’t. But I’ll tell you, after doing those jobs, reading an encyclopedia didn’t seem quite so boring, and I learned a lot.