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Hunting for Shade 1934

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

By T/Sgt. James Lee Hutchinson

Summer was our favorite season and school kids waited impatiently for spring rains to pass. May was a month of anticipation and June was our reward. We had endured cold winters and rainy days and were ready for the warm days of summer. Pale kids were tired of staying indoors at home and school. Spring meant ‘barefoot days’, and every kid in the neighborhood welcomed the warm weather. Kids could hardly wait to shed their socks and shoes and parents were happy because it saved shoe leather. Summer vacation was our time to run barefoot and many did just that. Stone bruises and cut toes were a small price to pay for freedom to run through grass, dirt and mud puddles. The soles of our feet were as tough as leather by the end of summer. School was out until after Labor Day and our three month vacation offered the promise and opportunity of great adventures. We greeted the last day of school with an old chant:

"Schools out, schools out --- Teacher turned the monkeys out.”

Many years later I became a teacher and felt exactly the same!

Kids blossomed like daisies in the sunny days of summer vacation when they were free to run and play outdoors. Sunburns usually came first, followed by glowing tans and every guy in our gang was a perfect example of the ‘barefoot boy with cheeks of tan.’ As the tanning parlors of today say; we had a full body tan! The great outdoors was our playground as we roamed the neighborhood, the woods and banks of Leatherwood Creek. Our dogs loved summer vacation almost as much as kids. My dogs, Collie and Boots, joined the other dogs in our journeys. They were free to trot along with us and nobody ever mentioned a collar or leash. Skinny-dipping in the deep holes of Leatherwood was a great way to beat the heat and almost a daily activity. We started with the dog-paddle and were soon swimming like Tarzan. Parents had mixed emotions about summer vacations. Schools provided a structured order and they knew their children were in classrooms, but summer vacations set their little ones free as birds to roam the neighborhood. I suspect many were happy to see September!

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