Monday, May 05, 2008

ahhh.. childhood

Today I read an article on childhood in the 60's and 70's, and oh boy the memories! It is amazing to me that most of my childhood has been government regulated away.....
A few of my own thoughts and memories to add before I post the article, which I found on line without an author, so I can not give credit where credit is due....

Deb's additions:

My favorite toy was the Sit-N-Spin. I learned just how fast I could spin while looking up without loosing my lunch through trial and error. When I neared that danger zone, I simply looked down at the handle's design and hypnotized myself.

My mom used to hang laundry in the back yard, and it was all still there when she brought it back in at night. I used to run between the sheets on hot summer days and it was the best feeling and smell ever.

We kids were kicked out of the house after breakfast, and we had to ask to be let back in if we need to use the bathroom because my mom would have locked the screen doors. Once the street lights went on, we had 5 minutes to get home to wash up for dinner.

Speaking of washing up - there was no Purell, no anti-bacterial anything. There was a bar of Ivory soap, and you could have loads of fun slipping it through your hands to make a very satisfying "splunkage" noise in the sink full of water.

I did not know that cars had A/C until I was in junior high, it was an add-on for cars. An add-on my dad did not believe in when the good lord had created windows for us.

When we whined in the store that we wanted something, my mom would gather us up and leave. We learned that if we wanted to go to the store with mom, we had to behave. She once left an entire cart of groceries in the market because one of us acted up (I claim it was my sister, she claims it was me.....).

The remote control was often a small child in the room. Who would happily get up to change the knob on the television to one of the 7 channels we received. Oh, and the TV was not a babysitter, it was a treat and a privilege to get to watch tv after dinner with my parents - who often were the ones who chose the show we watched. If we complained, we got a book.

And now - the article...

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s probably shouldn't have survived, because our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was regularly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles or latches on doors or cabinets, and it was fine to play with pans. When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip-flops and fluorescent 'spokey dokeys' on our wheels.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags and riding in the front passenger seat - or the boot - was a treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle, and it tasted the same.

We ate chips, bread and butter pudding, and drank fizzy juice with sugar in it, but were never overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one drink with four friends - from one bottle or can - and no one actually died from it.

We would spend several hours building go-carts out of scraps, then go top speed down the hill, only to find out we'd forgotten the brakes. After running into a patch of stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded.

We didn't have Playstations or Xboxes - no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape films, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no DVDs, no internet chatrooms.

We had friends - we went outside and found them. We played French skipping and rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt! We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones, but there were no law suits.

We played Knock Down Ginger and were actually afraid of the owners catching us. We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, walked to school; we didn't rely on Mummy or Daddy to drive us to school, as it was just round the corner.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode bikes in packs of seven and wore our coats by only the hood. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of they actually sided with the law.

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem-solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
And you're one of them. Congratulations! Pass this on to others who had the luck to grow as real kids, before lawyers and the government regulated our lives for "our own good".

For those of you who aren't old enough, we thought you might like to read about us.

And something else to put a smile on your face...
The majority of students in universities today were born in 1986. The Uptown Girl they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel. They have never heard of Rick Astley, Bananarama, Neneh Cherry or Belinda Carlisle.

For them, there has always been only one Germany and one Vietnam. AIDS has existed since they were born. CDs have existed since they were born. Michael Jackson has always been white. To them, John Travolta has always been round in shape and they can't imagine how this fat guy could ever have been a god of dance.

They believe that Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible are films from the past ten years. They can never imagine life before computers. They'll never have pretended to be the A-Team, the Dukes of Hazzard or the Famous Five. They can't believe a black and white television ever existed. And they will never understand how we could leave the house without a mobile phone.


Anonymous said...

Another thing we had back then, and is also an endangered species, is parental discipline.

Caroline said...

Holly sent me a copy of that article - I love it. Glad you posted it because I think many of us are parents of little ones or about to become parents. I hope this article will remind them to, well, use common sense, really and to not forget all those great times they played outside after school, till the sun went down and they had to go home. What saddens me the most is when I remember all the time, when I came home from playing, my mother would always praise the red roses in my cheeks, from all the playing outside in fresh air. I look at my kids' friends, none of them have roses in theirs.

tangobaby said...

I cannot believe I am reading this because it is almost verbatim a random conversation I had today at lunch with co-workers. Even the comment by Johanna.

I would have never thought my childhood was idyllic, but compared to the heavily scheduled "play dates" (I detest that term), paranoia and reliance on gadgets instead of making and playing with whatever is about, I feel badly for kids today.

Your post and that article gave me a nice shot of nostalgia for the little things I don't normally think about...thank you!

Alex said...

I busted out laughing at the littlest kid/remote control...cute...

Debbi said...

Ladies - glad you enjoyed it!
Tangobaby - I know! Playdates?!?! wtf....

Heh heh, Alex - it was the way of my house growing up. We were only allowed to touch the tv if dad wanted the channel changed. Oh, and I remember trying to sneak watch cartoons and getting caught because mom would feel the back of the tv to see if it was warm.

I hate to say it, but I have joined the ranks of "The Good Ol'Days" gang!