Summer escapades: A nostalgic trip down memory lane with bikinis, roller skates, and Ouija boards

Dec 10, 2023
Source: Getty Images.

With summer well and truly here and temperatures climbing, this time of year takes me back to my teenage years, of summers spent with my girlfriends.

Favourite pastimes included, basking/baking our bikini clad bodies under the searing, summer sun at the local swimming pool, roller skating, ten pin bowling, watching a movie at the local, unairconditioned movie theatre or just visiting our friends in their homes. When visiting, we were taught to always knock on the door, say hello to their mother or father, and wait to be invited in. We would make our way to our friend’s bedroom (or sometimes the lounge room) and plonk ourselves on the floor, lounging on pillows.

The discussion would always focus on the latest makeup and fashion trends, or we would paint our fingernails, swap and try different lipsticks, read the latest pop magazines, and swoon over our favourite pop idol while listening to the radio and hoping our favourite record would be played more than once that afternoon.

Of course, the game of ‘twister’ was an outside option. The entanglements that occurred on that plastic mat are now mind boggling. If only my body would move and bend as it did way back then. One particular hot, humid, Saturday afternoon, a few of us gathered at a friend’s house and found ourselves without parental supervision. I can’t remember exactly how we came to find a Ouija board, but there it sat, on the dining table, in front of the fearless six.

After a lot of discussion, and believe me, we really did talk about this and the implications of playing with something we knew nothing about, but had heard stories about, we decided unanimously, to test this out. We closed all the windows on that back veranda, found a candle, lit it, and placed it in the middle of the table, the flame still and unwavering in that airless room. After the usual, ‘Who’s there, can you hear us’ etc., etc., the pointer started moving; pointing to’ yes’, ‘no’, and spelling small words. Of course, we all thought one of us was moving this thing, yet all denying we were; until all of a sudden, a strong, gust of wind swept through that hot, claustrophobic room, the room where all the windows were closed, blowing out the candle and making the curtains flap and fly around as if a huge storm was about to hit.

A chorus of teenage girls’ screams, broke the silence…we scattered; under tables, behind chairs, to other rooms, one of us even lodging between the fridge and the wall…needing expert extraction after we recovered our wits. That was the first and last time, to my knowledge, we dared to even say the word Ouija, for many, many, years.

Ithica was our local pool, across the road from Lang Park, or what is now formally known as Suncorp Stadium, in Brisbane. Many, many a summer afternoons after school and on weekends were spent laying in the sun, on brightly coloured beach towels, smothering ourselves with coconut oil or baby oil, working on that perfect tan (we know now what a bad idea that was!).

The roller-skating rink at Red Hill (no longer there as the original rink burned down many years ago, with a new development now in its place) was a Saturday afternoon must. The roller-skating rink is surely a place not easily forgotten for many, the loud music, and the leather boots you would hire if you were not lucky enough to own your own pair. Hanging on to the railing, falling over many, many, times until you mastered the balancing act of skating in a pair of boots with 4 wheels. The laughter, the bruises, the friendships that endure to this day for many of us.

The Saturday movie matinee at The Paddington picture theatre was also an option if your budget stretched that far. I would often be given the responsibility of chaperoning my two brothers, not one my most envied tasks as more often than not, one would try to sneak in without paying! Not one, but two movies were often screened during the afternoon and evening sessions, or at least a short documentary, plus a couple of cartoons (Tom and Gerry a favourite of mine) were the prelude to the main movie.

Before the curtain went up, (and it was a curtain) or at intervals, a dash to the cafeteria was in order. We would have a choice of ice-cold soft drinks, served in small bottles with the bottle top removed, scoops of ice cream served in cones, and an assortment of lollies…Jaffa’s the favourite of course! I remember during the movie; Jaffa’s being rolled down the aisle (wooden floor) as well as empty drink bottles. The movie owner would walk around with his torch, trying to locate the source of the disturbance, and if he/she was found, being thrown out of the theatre.

As the years flew by, and we grew older, our interests changed and we all focused more diligently on our school studies and ‘what we wanted to be when we grew up’ We finished school, focused on our careers, some married, more than once, we loved, and we lost people we loved; but we should never forget ‘the time of our life’

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up