My Mr. Softie Summers

Do you remember Mr. Softie coming to your neighborhood?

Do you remember when summers felt endless?

As a child, summer days consisted of playing with friends, running through the sprinkler, and waiting for the ice cream truck–Mr. Softie.

So many choices!

I saved my allowance for the big ticket items: banana split served in a blue plastic boat. Second choice the rocket shipsicle. I remember creamsicles, candy necklaces, sundaes, pushups, and of course, the dipped soft serve cones.

Same driver each day. I thought his name was really Mr. Softie. When the familiar jingle floated through the air, the kids on the block swarmed to his truck always parked at my next door neighbor Lisa’s house.

What did summer mean to me back then?

Mick Haupt, Unsplash

Backyard pools. Flashlight tag. Bike-riding. Twirling my baton on the front lawn. Roller skating. Jump rope. Going to the playground. Kickball. Explore the nearby woods and creek.

Daydream. Read. Make up stories. Put on shows.

Boredom was not an affliction to be instantly remedied.

These endless days were punctuated with trips to my favorite amusement park, and other outings like the Detroit Zoo or a visit to my grandparents home on Lake Huron.

Some evenings, I’d attend my mother’s outdoor singing performances on Belle Isle.

My younger brothers and I lived in the moment of each unfolding hot day, oblivious of how many days had passed or were left before school started.

By the time I had my own children, summer vacation had become a time to keep kids busy: specialty camps, tutoring, organized sports, summer homework packets. Moms and Dads were out working. Our neighborhood was quieter during the week days.

Mr. Softie was replaced by a weekly visit (if lucky) from the Good Humor truck.

As a classroom teacher, I was fortunate to have the summer time to write and be with my kids. I tried to recreate some of the freedom and play that shaped my early years.

What I’m grateful for about the seasons of my childhood was how sheltered I was from the world’s woes. Sure I knew about bad stuff happening “out there”, but I still felt safe in my little corner of the map.

I never heard of a school shooting.

The blazing blue sky can’t coverup our collective grief.

But summer beckons and we move on, maybe a bit more slowly than the rest of the year.

The summers of adulthood are no longer endless. They begin with promise, then unfold rapidly until Back-to-School sales are upon us.

No matter how much I try to savor the long lush days, they pass all too quickly, each one more bittersweet.

My grown kids fondly remember their childhood summers, and how long they felt. That makes me happy.

Now I get to experience my grandchildren running freely in the sunshine…time standing still for a moment.

As a child, I never considered how many summers I had left to live.

Those three glorious months were always in-waiting, like a birthday, certain to arrive on time.

***

My Summer’s Eve 2022 Kickoff

Author: EvelynKrieger

I'm a people watcher and word crafter, author of fiction and essays. I also blog on living the creative life during hard times. When not writing, I work as a private educational consultant. Special interests: dance, the moon, astronauts, beaches, poetry, staying alive.

11 thoughts on “My Mr. Softie Summers”

  1. Wonderful memories. We had only the Good Humor man in Erie in the 50’s but the wonderful long adventures of our summers were the same. We are also doing what we can to give a small taste of childhood innocent joy to our grandkids. Blessings to all your fast moving days till Fall!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pastor Pete. Mr. Softie began in Philly, 1956, before my time. These type of early memories we carry with us through the years. My brothers and I still reminisce about our fantastical summers. Thanks for the blessings. I need them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We don’t have ice cream trucks here, just ice cream bicycles, when we were young we withheld our offerings, passed the basket, used the money after church to buy ice cream☺️. Your post brought back memories

        Like

  2. To followup on your summer deja vu experiences. I recall the stark contrast growing up in Northern Ohio between unsupervised free play I experienced and the more scripted leisure experience of kids today. As we are both teachers, it should be entirely clear that children are capable of finding things to do in their spare time o their own rather than be scheduled to the max with organized sports and other activities. Neighborhoods do still exist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also grew up in the midwest. I agree: the unsupervised free play was not only memorable and enjoyable but developed my imagination, social skills, and interior world. While neighborhoods still do exist, I see less of kids freely playing all day or after school, especially the middle-grade age. My work as a private tutor also gives me a close-up view to my young students’ busy, scheduled lives. Even in the summertime.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: