Memories of Barefooted Summers

Written by Gail Martin’s daughter, Virginia.

I grew up in the fifties and sixties. Summers were carefree times of playing in the creek and rambling in the woods and fields. Our feet were bare.

When I look at the old black and white photos, they bring back so many memories. Seeing my age 5 smiling face flirting with the camera takes me back to those happy times.

Madison KS teacher

Ginger and Cindy Martin with the second-grade teacher, Miss Shimp. Madison, KS.

Ginger and Cindy Martin with teacher Miss Shimp

In the photo above, the lady is our older sister’s second-grade teacher from Madison. I’m the curly-headed child on the left. My little sister, Cindy, got to cuddle with the teacher, Miss Shimp, and I was dreadfully jealous. I’m not sure why Susan isn’t there for the photo with her teacher.

Sometimes being barefooted wasn’t fun. For instance, the honey bees loved the clover in our yard. When I stepped on one of those, my poor foot would swell up and throb fiercely. Mom would put baking soda on it and wrap it in a cool damp cloth but little else was done for it. I’d stretch out the situation, whimpering and hobbling around, to get the maximum attention from Mom that I could.

Memories of a 1950s childhood - Ginger Martin

Here I am, little Ginger, with a puppy and a red wagon.

Photo from our family album

The photo above is me at a younger age. Barefooted again and with an armful of puppy. I’m betting that’s a red wagon that I’m sitting on but I don’t remember that far back.

Were you allowed to play outside barefooted in the summer way back when?


6 thoughts on “Memories of Barefooted Summers

  1. We did go barefoot in the summer, inside the house and outside when we were over to my maternal grandparent’s house where we had a backyard. I lived in they city so going barefoot up and down the street with the concrete etc. wasn’t an option. I still go barefoot as much as I can.

    Finding Eliza


  2. I remember the backyard of our house on Carr Street in El Dorado was full of sand burrs. We had devised a path to get to the garage barefooted, but it was treacherous! Even worse than a bee sting was the sting of cow killers and velvet ants when running barefoot in the newly plowed field across the driveway.


  3. I love these stories. Oh yes, we went barefoot, and it wasn’t till I was an adult that I injured a foot, running barefoot, heels in hand, across a deep, verdant lawn on my lunch hour. Whatever I cut my foot on netted a gory trip to the emergency room and my first ever tetanus shot. I was 40-something before I got my first barefoot-in-the-clover bee sting. None of the home remedies worked and I was delirious with the pain the first night, the second and third night’s not much better. I stopped going barefoot.


  4. I still go barefoot as often as I can… These old feet have felt many a bee stings, lol.. When I was a child I couldn’t wait for the first day of May. Mama wouldn’t allow us to go barefoot before then.. when I close my eyes, I can still feel the first soft touch of new grass under my bare feet…. Loved that feeling when I was a child…. Wish I had a time machine…😄


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