I have a scar on one ankle from a long-ago Midsummer when I was dancing around a bonfire and a coal popped out and (don't ask me how - I was about 9) burned its way into my flesh. It became infected and I was made to soak it in very hot water. Despite that I love Midsummer.
The Midsummer bonfire ceremony was at the (castle-like) home of my friend Oobay, whose father was a dynamite saleman. The family had a hundred children (more or less) and they were all brilliant and lively; their mother was an artist. In those days adults paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to children, so everything we did (moon-bathing, running across the treetops on wild grape vines, putting on plays, catching fireflies, leaping out of the trees onto an old mattress) was done as children, with zero adult input, knowledge, or supervision.
I often wonder how children manage these days when adults never leave them alone for a minute. I spent very little of my time with adults when I was young and would've hated being controlled - perhaps they don't feel that, though. Friends' children I have watched grow up are almost always from one or two child families, and have very strong egos that evolved from the child being the centre of attention and having its feelings considered. I did once attempt to have a conversation with Sam about Youth Symphony, but he had no clue what I was talking about when I asked him if he ever had stagefright. There was actually no way possible for me to please my parents, although I did always try, and I always considered the inevitable failure an indication of my own wretchedness; my parents had more in common with 19th century parents than 20th century parents.
Edited to add: Ha ha! Sorry, that's a long, long time ago and I just think about it to try to understand what's going on now.
posted by - 3:44 PM