School will soon be out for summer and hundreds of schoolchildren will be looking for something to do. That is when the fun begins for the children of Bodden Town.
For most government schools, the last day of school is Friday, July 1, which means there will be plenty of time for reading, playing and exploring the outdoors.
If you are looking for a free summer program, consider what Bodden Town children did in days gone by. Parents did not worry about finding things for children to do; kids found their own activities outdoors and they were all free.
However, summer fun never began before all the chores were completed.
The dishes had to be cleaned, the house mopped, clothes picked up, the yard swept. Once that was all done, children were told to be back home before nightfall, which rarely happened.
Youngsters were routinely “thrown out” the back door and left to play in the yard, parks or local patches of nature and empty lots, or near the sea.
Going to the beach would not have been complete without mangoes. These were thrown into the ocean, dived for and eaten. The reason? Mangoes taste much better when they are soaked in seawater. Seagrapes were also a popular fruit picked at the beach. Grape leaves folded into a cone were used to hold the grapes.
After swimming, it was time to fill empty paint cans with white sand. The sand would be taken home and used to decorate the yard for the Christmas season. There were not much in terms of nighttime activities because of the swarms of mosquitoes, but during the hot summer nights children still snuck out to play invented games like “moonshine baby” and better known ones like hide-and-seek, by the light of the moon.
Games were played outdoors in the days before Xboxes, Nintendo, iPads or Internet. Outdoor sports were marbles, building dollhouses, hopscotch, spinning gigs, climbing trees and digging holes on the beach.
Learning to cook and farm were also part of the experience. After helping the farmers in the neighborhood with planting produce, the children would dig sweet potatoes and cook them on coals in a caboose.