Summer Of '63
"Listen To The Rhythm Of The Falling Rain" The Cascades one of the many songs that signified my teen age years of that summer. Like other songs during that summer; the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean were always on the airways. Every one had transistor radios tuned to WLS out of Chicago listening to the latest hits. The Silver Dollar Survey indicated which song was more popular each \week. It was during that summer as I recall a most auspicious and memorable one. A time of relative innocence; before all the tragic events that were to follow latter that year. Little did we all know what would lay ahead in the years following that most blissful of summers.
Lake Geneva, Fontana Wisconsin to be exact was the place that became my coming of age habitat. Tom Nickels, Bruce Swanson, Andy Softesburg and I were inseparable; a teenage rat pack of that time. From the moment we left school for the summer I along with my sister took refuge at our summer home on the shores of Lake Geneva. The biggest thrill was hanging out on the club pier during the long hot summer days playing cards, swimming, or just gossiping about all the latest conquests made from the previous nights exploits. Time seemed to sand still when compared to today. I guess summers when you are young always seem to flow so slowly and effortlessly into memory.
Like many teenagers of that time our interests were first sports then girls. During the days and nights of that particular summer we all relished in bragging about our relationships with the girls and exaggerated our conquests in the sports we all played. Even though I was good playing baseball I continued to exploit and embellish my batting average and fielding statistics. It was after we all went roller skating as I recall Tom, Bruce, Andy and I while at the local A@W Root Beer stand began to plan our newest prank against the girls, my sister included. We were supposed to confiscate a bra and hang it on the flag pole down by the association pier for all the world to see the next day. To this day I don't know who got the bra. But that next morning there it was on top of the flag pole to every ones dismay. It was these types of innocent pranks we continued to do all throughout that summer. Quite frankly, I think the girls actually enjoyed all the attention that we continued to impose upon them.
As I look back at the times of my youth and think about what is transpiring with today's youth; a complete shift of morals has evolved leaving the innocence of my generation in the dust. Gone are the innocence pranks boys played on girls or the competitiveness in all the sports that every body of my age actually participated in. No longer are the majority of today's youth as active in activities that promote physical health and well being. The modern conveniences of today has made, sure, life easier but the fact remains that our youth as well as young adults are now faced with increasing health related problems associated with a more sedentary lifestyle than with the lifestyle of my youth.
Ah yes, the summer of '63 my coming of age summer will always be forever linked with the innocence of a generation. It is this generation, the baby boomers, that I feel will be the last one to actually experience first hand the technological advances that influenced the way societies have evolved. But with this evolution comes certain responsibilities that can't be ignored. The health and wellness of any generation depends on an active and fulfilling lifestyle.