Fall is right around the corner. A lot of kids in the area are headed back to school. I’m sure some kids are excited for the new school year, while others are longing for just a few more days of summer vacation. It’s all made me reflect on my summers as a kid.
One of the great things about growing up in the Ohio Valley is Ohio is only a hop, skip and a jump from West Virginia. I was fortunate enough to call both places home. I always say I grew up in Ohio, but I was raised in West Virginia. I say that because West Virginia is where I roamed free. I spent most of my summertime in the hills of West Virginia with my grandparents. Both of my parents worked fulltime, so my grandparents were the best free childcare.
During the winter months as a kid, I had a set structure. School during the day, softball or basketball practice, homework, dinner, then free time — which could range from hanging out with the neighborhood kids until the streetlights came on or TV until bedtime. This structure was gone during the summer months. I was free to roam and go on adventures.
I walked through the grass barefoot, picked dandelions, chewed on honeysuckles, picked berries, caught lightning bugs, made popsicles, and drank sun tea. It’s where I learned stepping on bees hurt and not sticking the landing meant skinned knees after jumping from the swing. I still have not mastered the art of swimming, but it’s where I learned enough to keep me afloat and alive. I learned to drive on the West Virginia back roads.
There is just something about a West Virginia summer that holds a special place in my heart. Montani Semper Liberi “Mountaineers are always free.” I truly hope everyone had a wonderful summer. I wish everyone a safe and successful school year.