The other day, as my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I were out for a walk, I noticed that the crickets were chirping all around us. Now, I’m not a cricket fan, because they are, after all…a bug, but hearing them was not an unusual event in the summertime. On that particular evening, I guess I just noticed them more than usual. It was a beautiful summer evening, that was cooler that the really hot days we had been having, and with the crickets, it took me back to the summers of my youth. It didn’t matter if we were in the back yard or on a camping trip, the crickets chirping was just a classic summer sound. Then, when you add the birds and sometimes even frogs…well, it’s like going back in time to my childhood.
Summers in my youth were always carefree days with relatively few chores. We used to lay out in the back yard sunning ourselves, walk to the pool to swim in the afternoon, and then play games with our friends until it got dark, and sometimes even later. The sound of kids yelling, laughing, and talking seemed to be everywhere…like we were trying to live a year’s worth of life in three short months, because then school started again, and there was homework to be done at night. It left a lot less free time. Then, before we knew it, we were grown up, and our lives took on work and family obligations I wouldn’t trade my life now for those days, because lets face it. I love my life, but those memories are sweet, nevertheless.
I lived such a wonderful childhood. My family has always been very close. Our parents gave my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and me so many great memories over the years, whether in travel or just at home. I can’t fully explain just how blessed we were. We had all the same obligations as kids, that most kids have. We weren’t spoiled children of privilege, we were just blessed…and I’ll take blessed over privilege any day. We took evening drives sometimes just to look at the lights of the city from lookout point or Event Center Hill…although the Event Center wasn’t there then. My sisters and I called the city lights, spread across the valley where Casper is nestled, the Jewelry Box. I have seen them so many times that I can picture them exactly in my head to this day. Those were such glorious, carefree days, of crickets and evening drives, and sometimes I miss them. We didn’t realize then how blessed we were. We just thought all kids had that kind of life. We later found out just how wrong we were. If I mention some of the things we did as kids, people seem surprised…like it was unheard of. Maybe it was, but my parents just showed us the things they liked to do, like going for evening drives.
Those days are long gone now. They live only in my memory files, to be brought out when something like the chirping of a cricket, the smell of a campfire, or a drive down the mountain cause them to come to the forefront once again. The memories are a little bittersweet these days, because both of my parents are in Heaven, but they still remind me of what a blessed childhood I was given, and they make me thankful for the wonderful parents God gave to me and my sisters.
I was talking to my boss the other day, and he mentioned that his oldest grandson likes to make the animal sounds, and knows each one correctly and on demand. That reminded me of my oldest grandson, Christopher when he was little. It’s funny how some kids have such an interest in animals. Lots of kids take a passive interest in the farm animals and such, but some kids, like my my boss, Jim’s grandson and my grandson, Chris are so interested that they really learn those sounds and even know what the animal is doing when it makes that sound.
Many people like the wild animals, wearing pictures of them of shirts and hanging pictures in their homes, but when a child shows such an interest, at such a young age, it would seem to be something special. Listening to Christopher make all those animal sounds was always something that we delighted in doing. My very favorite sound was when he would tell you what the wolf says. His little voice seemed so tiny and yet he perfectly and softly howled like a wolf. It was so cute!! He could do all the other animals sounds too, from the domestic animals, to pets, to the wild animals.
I don’t know why some kids are so interested in the animals and the sounds they make. Since they have never been anywhere near some of those animals, how could they feel such a connection. Maybe they are like people who know at a very young age that they want to go into Veterinary Medicine, or some similar career, and others have the interest in animals just for personal reasons. I don’t know what my grandson will do with his life. At almost 17 years of age, he doesn’t seem to have that intense interest in animals that he did as a child. I know that whatever he does, he will be great at it, because he always puts his heart and soul into the things he does. No matter what he does though, I will always remember what he was like as a little boy, when he answered the call of the wild.