Cicadas — Sweet memories of youth

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Sounds can trigger old feelings and emotions just like songs do. If I hear an old Beatles tune, it takes me right back to my high school days. I actually feel like I did then. It’s the aura of youth – young and alive and invincible — maybe naïve too. It’s before the world took me in its arms and showed me how it really works. My biggest worries were what to wear to the dance and picking out nail polish colors. Those were good days.

Within the past week or so, I started to hear the annual mating songfest of the cicadas. My Mom called them “the locusts.” They would start singing when the heat of the summer arrived and would hang around until just before school started. I loved that sound. It meant that summer was really here. More than anything else, these chirps remind me of my childhood days – before the Beatles. If you don’t know what a cicada sounds like listen below. This is one. Multiply by 50 or a 100 all singing at the same time.

I grew up in a small town with most of my relatives living close by. It wouldn’t be unusual for my mother to run to the store and let me play outside with the doors open. My Uncle Joe was retired and he always sat outside on the glider with one of his grown, but not working, daughters. Another aunt and uncle were next door and all the neighbors looked out for all the kids. If you did something stupid, you could just as easily get scolded by a neighbor as you would by your own mother and you couldn’t complain about that or you got disciplined at home. Nothing bad happened in that cocoon-like setting. Someone was always around. There were freshly baked cookies and cake in every house but kids weren’t…ummm….overweight. Women didn’t work outside the home back then.

Summer days were so carefree. We didn’t have air conditioning but that didn’t matter. All the kids spent their days outside. Sometimes a neighbor would buy one of those blow-up plastic pools and we would all jump around in it. I remember a neighbor getting a new swing set with a sliding board. We were in heaven. Did you know that if you put a piece of waxpaper under your butt, you went down the slide faster?

There may be a badminton game going or a bunch of us would bike somewhere very important and very fast (I have the scars to prove that one). We had a hammock. It was great fun to push it so fast that someone would fall out.

Of course the ice cream truck came around 3 p.m. every day. Oh the decisions – a twinsicle, fudgsicle or a popsicle? Chocolate, cherry or grape? Then we got upgraded to a Mr. Softee truck with soft serve! Could it get any better than that! Sundaes and banana splits!

As I got much older, I realized how wonderful it was to grow up so free — unlocked doors and no fears, swimming all day and catching fireflies in the dark. I often wonder if my generation is the last to enjoy that freedom. We didn’t have “things” to do or places to go or predators to worry about. We just had time to be kids. We were never bored. Good grief, you never said that to an adult or you would end up weeding the garden or something equally distasteful.

Whenever I hear the cicadas sing their happy song, I relive those days. I will even crack the windows on a hot steamy night so I can enjoy that sound. They make me feel so young. The Beatles and the cicadas are triggers to my happy memories!

Do you remember when the Beatles had this hit?

Courtney Bluebird from Bluebird Boulevard does a 5-minute dance party every day. Sometimes the song is among my favorites and sometimes she introduces me to someone I never heard of. It’s a delightful way to start the day. You can visit her here.

14 thoughts on “Cicadas — Sweet memories of youth

  1. I grew up where there were cicadas too. I was just thinking today about sounds triggering memories. Songs also take me back instantly to certain events with out fail. Music is so powerful. Beatle fans ROCK! Nice tie-in. 🙂


  2. Your sounds of summer sound much like mine ~ bikes, hopscotch, running through sprinklers, jumprope, catch, tag, hide and seek . . . and ice cream trucks to punctuate the mid-afternoon. Bliss!


  3. Kate, I loved your post. The sound of cicadas and crickets were lovely night sounds.(I have a problem with tinnitus – a constant ringing in my ears. I often just pretend it’s cicadas and crickets that I’m hearing.)

    The Beatles’ music also reminds me of my younger years. I think I have just about every album and CD they ever made. You’ve provided some great memories here.


  4. Oh, I love this post! It brings back so many memories of my own young years of fearless play. And you are so right. I can hear the sounds of summer now and they take me back. Thanks for sharing!


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