Thursday, April 26, 2012

Where are the Kids?

 My husband and his brothers and cousins
in the 1950s
My husband is on the front, right
He's the same guy who's pictured with Glenniewennie on a post a couple days ago.

It wasn't that long ago that one could drive through a neighborhood and see the kids in the neighborhood all playing together. In fact, that was my reality back in the '50s and '60s. I had a neighbor girl (our closest neighbor, who lived 1/4 mile down the road) who also had a horse. We would go riding together in the pasture. Sometimes she would come to our place and we'd set up bales in the pole barn and jump our horses over them. I can remember the smell of the hay and the horses, especially on a rainy, sultry August day in the early 1960s. It was heaven to a kid.

That was the same neighbor girl who would ride bike with me down the road to the RR bridge to watch the train go by. We'd have the school bus driver drop us off at the end of our road (saving us about an hour bus ride) and run to our homes, get our bikes, and hurry to the RR bridge. It was a wood plank arched bridge, and the planks extended past the railing. We would climb out onto those planks and sit on the very ends of the planks to better see the Blueberry Train (you DO know I'm almost an antique, don't you!) go under the bridge. The conductor would stick his head out the window and wave at us, as did the guys standing at the end of the caboose.

 Caboose at Logan Mill Lodge, Westby
Kevin's cousin rode in this many times when he was a kid.

There were other neighbors further down the road with whom I often built forts and went swimming at the swimming hole in the cow pasture. We had a thick rope attached to the branch of a tree and would grab the rope and take a run, then drop into the water. It was the greatest fun, even though we spent  several minutes picking leeches off our legs afterwards.

We builts rafts.

We catapulted ourselves across the creek with young trees.

We camped out under the stars. No tent, just blankets.

We climbed trees.

We played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians.

Kids were always outdoors.

Now we drive through neighborhoods and never see kids outdoors. In town or in the country.

Where are the kids?


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Pamela said...

I know what you mean! They are inside, texting one another, chatting on Facebook, or Skype-ing. It's very sad.

Eileen H said...

Thought I'd share this with you, sorry it's a bit long.

1930's 1940's, 50's, 60's and early 70's !
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos...
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.
Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds , KFC, Subway or Nandos...
Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on a Sunday, somehow we didn't starve to death!
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because........
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O..K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii , X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY ,
no video/dvd films,
no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
Lawsuits from these accidents.

Only girls had pierced ears!

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time...

We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet because we didn’t need to keep up with the Jones’s!

Not everyone made the rugby/football/cricket/netball team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on

Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and throw the blackboard rubber at us if they thought we weren’t concentrating .
We can string sentences together and spell and have proper conversations because of a good, solid three R’s education.
Our parents would tell us to ask a stranger to help us cross the road.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!

Our parents didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade' and 'Ridge' and 'Vanilla' and 'Tiger'

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO

And YOU are one of them!

Joyce said...

I think about my own childhood, spent mostly carefree and out of doors. I raised my own girls the same way. I think it was harder than in my moms day in the sense that computers and of course cable tv were taking off so I had to battle some technology. Parents raising kids now have it even tougher in that sense as there is bigger-better-more consuming created every day. But it can be done. Parents can insist on technology free time. Its amazing how imaginations come to life when given the space to do so. Turning everything off now and then will elicit some complaints but pretty quickly kids come up with something else to do.

Unknown said...

Great post Judy! And I agree... we couldn't WAIT to get outside and play when we were kids. Now it seems all kids want to do is play video games and text! Sad really.. they are missing out on so much!

Empty Nester said...

Maybe you're in the wrong neighborhood. They are out in our neighborhood a lot! When they aren't, their parents have them at the beach or at whatever sporting event the kids are taking part in. But they still play around here!

Shannon@Cozy Home Scenes said...

Judy, your childhood sounds much like my Mom's. She tells me about how much fun she and the kids in the neighborhood had playing in the woods near their house. I played by myself alot because there were no neighbors with children near us. I had fun playing in a storage building behind the house. I always had my baby doll with me. My best friend from school would come over to play outside. We never did the fun stuff you and my Mom did but we had lots of fun. Children in my neighbor now don't play outside much. Things are so different these days. Recently, a little boy was almost abducted from his front yard very close to the street. We live in a golf community where we felt secure until this happened. It is not safe for children to do some of the things that were safe years ago. Have a good day, Judy.------- Shannon

Amy said...

Its true, you don't see kids running around like we did even in my childhood. We have lots of kids in our neighborhood, but they play in their backyards. Although kids do play video games and what not, I don't feel like that's the main reason they aren't out and about like they used to be. I only know one person who allows her child unlimited video game time. It just isn't the same environment it used to be. It doesn't matter how good your neighborhood is, there are more cars than there used to be, more people (which means more predators.) It is just a whole different world. I can't even imagine letting my kids go out the front door the way I used to and we live in a very "nice" neighborhood. So they play out in the backyard or I take them to the park. We ride bikes together as a family and take nature walks with friends. Still out and about, just in a much different way.

In another 30 years, my kids will be talking about how sad it is that "kids today" don't have the childhood they did. :)

Lois Christensen said...

I agree with you! My son, who is 15, is on the computer WITH his friends. They're playing games together, chatting together, all while never leaving the house or going outside. I sometimes make him get off just to ride his bicycle. But I agree, they need to be outside more often!

Debra Hawkins said...

I was talking about this with my husband the other day. We often see children in places with their parents. Like if we go to the park or the pool, there are lots of children there with their parents. I think parents don't feel it is safe to let their kids outside to play alone anymore. I know it isn't safe where I live and I know my sister even with her fenced back yard doesn't feel it is safe where she lives.
My parents area is still really safe and we let the kids play outside a TON when we are there. I don't let my child watch television at all or play electronic games and you still won't see her outside as often as I was as a kid. Every time I start to feel safe there is another kidnapping or drug raid here....

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

It's sad, isn't it? When I was growing up, my mom would kick us out of the house and tell us not to come back until supper time. We ran all over our little town all summer long. It was great!!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

We too had a great time playing outside when we were kids. Our favorite was to make a bunch of tents out of sheets, clothesline and clothespins and play old west town!

Ruth Kelly said...

They are either hiding in the fenced backyards or inside playing those brain deadening video games. Why was the train called Blueberry Express?

I loved riding horse when I was a kid but the problem was, I only got to ride infrequently when I visited my grandparents home in Elba.

Chatty Crone said...

Well I have my opinions on it and I agree with you.

Organized sports.
To harried of a lifestyle.
Safety of the kids.
Couch potatoes.
And many more.


Rachel said...

I had to stop for a train passing when I went out to lunch today and I was just thinking how I miss cabooses on the back of them. I remember when I was little I looked forward to waving to the guy in the caboose!! Ah, memories.

It is sad that kids today are rarely outside. Part of that is probably video games, TV, etc, and part of that is probably parental fear that their kids will go missing. So sad. I used to stay outside all the time when I was little. Once the street lights came on, I had 5 minutes to get back in the front or back yard.

And I LOVE that picture- what a cute group of kids they were!! :)


Denise said...

I agree, sad, but true. Where are the kids?/


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