In 1958, Mom talked me into having a dress-up birthday party. I was painfully shy in those days, but we all had fun pretending we were grown-up ladies. Mom prepared tea sandwiches and served fruit juice in tea cups. She even brought out her finest, linen luncheon napkins.
Life was far less complicated and angst-ridden. We stayed children until about the 5th grade. No rush to grow up and we made our own entertainment.
In the summer, my brother and I built "forts" out of boxes, lumber scraps and anything else we could scrounge. In winter we created igloos out of piled up snow. One particularly snowy winter, we dug a long tunnel through the snow we shoveled from the driveway leading into a huge mound of snow near the back door. Inside we made seats from packed snow and sculpted a "refrigerator" where we kept candy bars.
Our family had one car and Dad drove it to work in the city every day. Our own two feet or a bike, took us where we wanted to go.
Television was reserved mostly for Sunday evening when the whole family gathered in front of the one TV in the house to eat pizza or sandwiches, Jell-o and cake while Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen hosted their wholesome, variety shows. We kids sat on spread out newspapers and Mom and Dad ate off tray tables.
These little traditions were things we looked forward to almost as much as those surrounding holidays. It was a comfort knowing we'd be together every Sunday.
I enjoy surprises, but miss the comfort in the predictability of some little things in life. We over-schedule ourselves and feel guilty if we're not filling every moment of every day with something important. Our lives are too complicated and centered around possessions and busy-ness.
Leisure has become inconvenient or frowned upon. We Americans are particularly bad about allowing time to relax and recharge. We can't go back in time, but we can do a better job of caring for our bodies and souls. Soul food for me is sometimes chocolate and sometimes stopping to admire a spider's web or the patterns made by scraggly branches of a tree. When my soul is healthy, my body notices.