There was a time, not too long ago, when kids would rush home from school (I was one of them) change into play clothes and go outside to play until the street lights came on, or parents hollered from the front porch to call them in for supper.

One pair of good shoes for school and church, one for play such as Keds, PF Flyers, Converse or generic plain white sneakers was all that was needed. Growing up in Maine offered joys and a uniqueness of the best of her four seasons.

Spring, summer, winter and fall provided plenty of outside opportunities for youngsters who didn’t mind what the weather was like. With the arrival of spring, marbles, jump ropes, hula hoops, bicycles, hopscotch, metal roller skates with straps and a key for tightening, all sprouted to life.

There were puddles for splashing and lots of mud for mud pies. Girls jump-roped to rhymes, as well as Chinese and Double Dutch jump rope. The boys in the neighborhood would go off to play pickup baseball wherever a sandlot or field could be found. As spring turned into summer, most of these activities continued. How many of us clothes-pinned baseball cards to the spokes of our bicycles? How many Mickey Mantles, Joe DiMaggios or maybe even a Honus Wagner card were chewed up or destroyed?

I grew up in Portland, where crafts and activities sponsored by the Portland Parks and Recreation were offered in many playgrounds. Located behind Deering High School, my playground provided plenty of swings, a slide, monkey bars, a metal merry-go-round that you would spin and jump on, and a see-saw.

The park was also home to Little League, where both my brothers played. A special treat was outdoor Children’s Theater and a night showing of children’s films on big screens that came to the playgrounds.

A trip to Old Orchard Beach was also a special treat. Noah’s Ark, the merry-go-round and little boats that went round and round in the water were my favorites.

As the air turned cool and crisp, the season of fall was ushered in. Jumping into piles of leaves, the smell of leaves burning, (did you ever try to bake a potato in a pile of burning leaves?) football games, apple picking and county fairs filled those beautiful days of September and October.

The first snowfall was a wondrous event. It promised days to come of building snow forts, king of the mountain, snow angels, snowmen, snowball fights, snowsuits with mittens that would have a gap where snow would get on your wrists and sting, and sledding. I loved to ice skate.

There was a huge pond down behind Deering. We would skate on that pond all day long, until our feet got really cold. We would play crack the whip and if you were the one on the very end of a long line, once you were let go, you would go sailing.

Maine was and is a great place for all to frolic through the seasons.

– Special to the Telegram