A long time ago, when I was just a little girl, I lived in a time when we did not have to worry about letting our kids go out and play.
My Mom would finish feeding us breakfast in the summer and then shoo us outside to play. After my sister, brother and Uncle had taught me to ride my trusty Schwinn Bicycle, I would often take off to go see my little part of the world.
We lived near a beautiful beach, Surf Drive Beach. I’d grown up there, learning to swim, and becoming aware that no matter what, the Ocean would always be calling my name.
During the summer months, the trusty Lifeguards would blow their whistles if you ventured off onto the Jetties. But during the offseason, I would ride my bike to the beach and walk out on the Jetties to enjoy the sounds, the smell and the peace of the Sea.
I felt so free there. With no creature around except the Seagulls, the Hermit Crabs and the gentle lap of the ocean water against the boulders that shaped the Baby Pool.
I would sit there and turn my face toward the sky, feeling the sun beating down upon my face. I could taste the salt on my lips. For me, this was Heaven on Earth.
I would stay there until I started to feel hungry and then I would ride the five minutes it took me, back to our home. Mom would have sandwiches ready along with Kool-Aid, the popular kiddie drink of the 1960s. Occasionally it would be Hawaiian Punch or milk, but for some reason, Mom was a Kool-Aid gal.
After lunch, we were shown the door again and told to come home when the Bell rang. Mom had a big old Bell she would ring, alerting us that dinner would soon be served.
At times the Ocean would call me, but quite often I would ride my bike around town. I would ride to the Falmouth Harbor and check out the different boats. I would often see the fishermen bringing in their catch. So long ago, when Falmouth still had a big fishing community.
I loved to ride up and down Main Street. I knew most of the local merchants and if I saw them, I would give them a wave.
Sometimes when I would get home for dinner, Mom would tell me that Mrs. So&So had seen me out on my bike.
I loved the feel of the sunshine on my face and the wind in my hair. It was only much later that I realized that I had been given a great gift. I grew up on Cape Cod, in the 1960s before the year-round crowds and it was back when children had so much freedom.
I would arrive at home around 5 o’clock and would hear the bell gong announcing that it was time to come in. My bike would go in the back yard, I would come in, wash up and Mom would have the dinner on our table. Dad was usually there. (He was a Summertime Police Dispatcher, during those months. We brought his supper to him at the Station on a tin pie plate covered with foil.) Also at the table were my sister, Melodie, and brother Dickie. Mom was a great cook, and she varied her meals. My favorite was her Lasagna or American Chop Suey. She also made the very best Boston Baked Beans. Dinner time was family time as we all caught up on our day.
Baths were taken, TV watched and then I would climb into my bed. My sheets felt like cool cream. Soft and comforting.
I never had trouble falling asleep, probably because I never sat down during the entire day. I explored, I enjoyed, and I appreciated all that was around me.
A little glimpse into what growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s was like for me.