With the usual summer plans of camps and vacations majorly altered this year, many of us (and our kids!) are discovering old school hobbies—and I love it! Biking the neighborhood, spending hours fishing at local lakes, and learning how to sew are just a few of the things our kids will remember about this socially-distant summer. And, hopefully, it will be something that they will continue to enjoy for years to come.
My first glimpse into the revival of these old school hobbies was early into the pandemic days when my Facebook feed started to be flooded by requests for fabric scraps and where to buy 1/4” elastic. Many friends joined in the effort of making masks for front-line workers with Front Line Sewing Angels. Some friends had been sewing for years, and were thrilled that their beloved hobby was making a come back. Others were finally pulling their brand-new sewing machines that they had bought 15 years before out of the box, and learning to sew for the first time. Though I didn’t join the effort to sew masks with Front Line Sewing Angels, I did happily pass along my sewing knowledge by having a Zoom lesson with a friend to teach her how to thread her machine and sew with it. I love seeing my favorite hobby discovered and enjoyed by so many, and not just adults! My favorite thing is seeing my daughter and several of her classmates proudly sewing masks and learning the joys of sewing. A few of my daughter’s friends have filmed YouTube tutorials to help others learn how to make masks. My daughter has made several so far, including a white one that she tie-dyed, and some for several members of our family from the fabric that I have collected over the years, especially the patterned ones I bought more than 25 years ago when I worked at Joann Fabrics during college, intending to make scrunchies from them. In addition to her tie dye one, her favorite is a popsicle patterned one that she made to match her scrunchie I taught her to make last year. She’s now sewing pillows and Barbie clothes, and making a tank top is on her summer to-do list! Finally using up some of my fabric stockpile! Hooray!
My son has discovered fishing this summer. A few weeks ago, a few of his friends grabbed old rods from their garages, dug up some worms in their yard, and biked to Loantaka pond at Kitchell Road. They spent several hours socially-distantly fishing, catching and releasing (and probably recatching) fish along the pond edge. This past week, our family rented a lake house in the Poconos for a few days. We all spent several hours fishing from the row boat and from the dock. My daughter discovered a great way to catch smaller fish in her net from the dock using small balls for bread. My son preferred to try for the bigger fish in the middle of the lake, and succeeded in catching an 18” large-mouth bass! Success!
Another hobby that has made a come-back is biking. Fortunately, we all already had bikes, though my son quickly took over my husband’s adult-sized bike since his knees hit the handle bars of his smaller bike. We’ve been biking around our neighborhood, and also been riding by friends’ houses to wave hello from the ends of their driveways. Earlier today, we headed to the Madison Community Pool. As we walked from our car to the front gate, we passed the packed bike rack. Obviously, we are not the only ones who have rediscovered the joy of biking!