The summer of 1966 began for the first time with, thanks to the Uniform Time Act’s enactment, daylight savings time. Well, in my lifetime, anyway. Lyndon Johnson was on the throne in Washington. Acid test parties and League for Spiritual Discovery were the centers of the cyclone in California, Gemini rockets were flying overhead, and bombs were falling on Hanoi. The Beatles played their last concert in Candlestick Park, and thirteen people were shot dead from a bell tower in Austin, Texas.
I was nine years old and, as of yet, unaware of the rest of the world. All I knew was that the doors of Sherwood Elementary would not see the likes of me for three blessed months of freedom. All I could see in my future was adventure.
This is my story of memories, real and imagined, and how the line between them gets so indistinct as to be meaningless. It is a ghost story, set in the dying days of the old Midwest, where no fences divided the airstrip lawns of imagination for children’s feet to trod.
The Tom Sawyers of our world have all grown old, our reality replaced by virtual ones, cell phones, and twenty-four-hour cartoon channels. Today’s children can never know just how deep childhood was then when adventure was something you had, not something you witnessed. The summer of 1966 would change me, and by fall, I would not be the same child. Adventure does that to you, and sometimes it leaves scars