Yeah, I was talking about this the other night with a friend of mine. He has a ten year old son, and apparently, you don't just let your kid jump on his bike and ride off all day any more. But that's how it was for us. That's really too bad. It seems to me that, for a boy, it's good for him to have that sense of independence and adventure. A lot of growth can happen there.
For me it was lots of bike riding and skateboarding. It was always 100 degrees in Sacramento so we'd ride bikes out to the air-conditioned neighborhood arcade and try to make a dollar last all day. This was the early 80s golden age of video game arcades with Pac-Man, Defender, Berzerk, Galaga, Centipede, etc...
Some days we'd stay in the house all day cause it was too hot, watching all the game shows. I always hated when the afternoon arrived because that meant all the programming went to soap operas, which to a kid is obviously the most boring thing possible and unwatchable.
Sometimes we would walk down blocks in between the houses, taking the path of a ditch, or an easement, and follow it all the way to the other side of town.
We'd ride our bikes to the neighborhood movie theater where Empire Strikes Back would be showing literally a year and a half after its release, still in theaters. We'd pop into the 5 and dime for some candy.
Sometimes we'd ride bikes to the nearest park with a swimming pool, and try to talk to some of the girls hanging out there. We'd sneak behind some bushes to smoke a cigarette.
At night, yeah, my friends around the corner lived in a cul-de-sac which was perfect for kick-the-can.
Once one of us was 16 and old enough to drive, we started hanging out at the river. When it's so hot like that, swimming is really the only activity you can thoroughly enjoy. My teen summers were spent mostly on the river, floating down in tubes or little rafts, jumping off cliffs and bridges, swinging out off a cliff from a ropeswing hanging from a tree and backflipping into the river. Those are probably my best memories of summer when I was a kid, the river was (and still is) the place to be.
Fuck yeah, bud. Excellent memories.