Thursday, April 16, 2015

Home Free Part 1

My young life was one of exploration and freedom. Can you remember some of the things you did when you were between the age of 9 and 13?  I was free as a breeze during those years. As I look back, many kids today are so overprotected, over scheduled, over structured and tied up with things that are very different from my young years that I often think that they are deprived of just being a kid. My generation turned out just fine as did the one before. 

I’m a very critical person and keep most of this kind of thought to myself, but also feel a need to share my childhood activeness and life before I reached the full fieriness of  adolescence. (I’m also opinionated.) I really think that kids today are all caught up in the electronic age and don’t know how to play.

First, cleanliness wasn’t a social issue with my group. Attire wasn’t considered to be of interest to any of us. Sizes, shapes, religions, races didn’t matter either. Wealth and financial assets had no impact on relationships. We were JUST FRIENDS. There were five boys in one family, 9 in another. There were 4 girls in the family of 13. Three were my age. The family down the street had 3 girls, only one was my age. Most of my memories are what we did during times when there was no school, all seasons. 

We traded and collected single playing cards with assorted backs. They were often dog-eared and worn. We collected and traded comic books. Condition didn’t matter then. They made good reading. We rang doorbells and ran away. We had bike races and roller skated on the sidewalks. We walked on home-made stilts, taking off from the third step on the front porch. We "camped" out in backyards in tents made from old blankets clothes-pinned to the clothesline and held down with rocks.  We went ice skating and sledding no matter how cold it was. Finding a pollywog pond and bringing home a jarful to watch them develop into little frogs was done to see how many would survive. It was an aggressive competition and something to boast about. We gathered worms as bait to go fishing. All of us! We picked huckleberries, strawberries, blackberries - all growing wild. We hiked through the woods and fields, venturing far from home.  

Playing in the street was accepted because we were entertaining ourselves and that was commendable. If a tossed ball went into someone’s yard, we just ran and retrieved it. Hide and seek was a free for all. There were NO fences between the houses. Some games we played on the sidewalks, such as marbles, hopscotch, tops. Others were played in the street; skip rope, red light-green light, Johnny drilled a hole, stick ball, kick the can, capture the flag, red rover, hot potato, statues, simon says. 

When it rained during summer we stomped in the puddles, popped the tar bubbles, GOT WET! Fully dressed! We played  in the grass, spraying each other with the old green rubber hose that was always ready for our use. 

When the firehouse whistle blew at noon we scattered to homes for lunch. When it blew in the evening at 5PM the playtime was over until after supper. Then out we went again until darkness. After dark, lightning bugs were caught in our jars with holes punched in the lids, and we played flashlight tag. 

More to come...


  1. i was born in the 60s. i spent many hours playing outside on the swings we hung from the trees, in the sandbox, and as i grew older, many hours on bikes on the dirt roads and wandering the fields and woods near our country home. i wish more kids had that freedom and simple pleasure.

  2. I remember each and every detail you shared!!! We had the same values, and the way to entertain ourselves as you did. But, that's our generation....the kids today have no family values.

    And you speak of 'cleanliness', it's all to sterile, and that kind of environment will backfire someday; probably not in my lifetime...but the germ free freaks are in for a rude awakening when so many causes are being washed off instead of building an immune system with a little dirt!!!!!!!!

  3. Oh boy! More nostalgia! Another idea for my own blog. Many similarities here to my youth. I remember all those games except Johnny drilled a hole. I did try roller skating though I wasn't quite successful. My poor butt.