In the classic Cheech and Chong comedy bit “Sister Mary Elephant,” a substitute teacher goes over a rowdy class’s assignment to write an essay titled “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”
One student’s was:
“The first day of my vacation, I woke up. Then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The second day of my summer vacation, I woke up. Then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The third day of my summer vacation, I woke up. Then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I got a job. Keeping people from hanging out in front of the drugstore.”
My summers as a kid were spent bike riding, playing street football and going to church camp (I was trying to get closer to girls, not God). I also caught up on my Marvel comic book reading and I loved summer replacement TV variety shows, including “The Jacksons,” “Shields and Yarnell,” and yes, even “The Starland Vocal Band Show.”
Other local residents recalled how they spent the hazy days of summer:
Dan Monez: For most of us Suisun Valley farm kids, summer was a time for work. Driving farm equipment and pickups around the ranch was my favorite thing before I could legally drive on the roads.
John Pearson: Who can ever forget the summer recreation program put on by the city? This goes back to the late 1960s/early ’70s. There was some type of tournament every week: checkers, chess, pingpong, etc. Every year we did scavenger hunts throughout the neighborhood to get additional supplies for the program. Toward the end of summer, each program (school) participated in the Junior Olympics, which was held at Armijo High. Parents never worried about us because times were different back then.
Lois Brabson: Cutting fruit and throwing the rotten ones at each other . . . good times. I’ll never forget plowing through a massive, mountain-sized pile of rotten tomatoes in an open Jeep because the driver popped it out of gear when he tried to turn to avoid them. Not-so-good times.
Cheryl Tate: Dad was Air Force, so every summer he’d get 30 days leave and we would all pile in the car and drive to the Midwest and visit family. I love my family back that way, but was always so thankful to see “Welcome to California.”
Susan Macy Luckenbach: Summer camp at South Lake Tahoe for a week was awesome for kids who worked all summer. We were at camp with all of the 4-H clubs from Solano County, so we got to make many new friends who we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Plus, there were summer crushes listening to “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MGs.
Andy Cooper: I went to St. Mark’s Lutheran summer Bible school in 1966 just because a certain pretty girl I had a crush on was going to be there.
Paula Lindsey: From the time we moved to Fairfield in 1961, we spent our summers at Lake Berryessa. There was another family that came there every weekend, too. One member of their family was this cute little 4-year-old boy named Chucky. One time he really needed to go to the bathroom, so instead of walking him all the way to the outhouses, I walked him up a small trail into the brush. He was doing his thing when I heard a rattle and saw the biggest rattlesnake this 12-year-old girl had ever seen. I don’t think it was too happy with the shower it was getting. I grabbed Chucky and we got the heck out of there.
Carol Hanson: At 4-H camp at South Lake Tahoe, I became the official scary storyteller for our cabin after lights-out . . . good times!
Dennis Smith: Fairfield Parks and Recreation did a summer thing at Lee Bell Park in the very early 1960s – mostly making crafts, like Popsicle stick houses, braided key ring thingamabobs; artsy-fartsy kid stuff.
John Salomon: I spent most of mine in summer school.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.