A lovely, warm summer day like today makes me think of my childhood. We really had it so much better than kids today.

There was no such thing as using the TV set as a babysitter. The television set in our house was broken for years and we kids never even noticed it until one day I came home and said, “Sista sez we hafta watch…” We had one of those big old consoles that also had a stereo in it – and the stereo still worked and it was an attractive piece of furniture. My mother made a mad dash out to buy one of those new portables. After all, “Sista sez” is something you did not ignore. But really, even Saturday morning cartoons were only for rainy days or if you were sick. If the sun was out you were out – year round. (I am so amused when they close school because it is too cold – that’s the one day you see the video games dropped and the kids outside!) And we had so much freedom. My kids were never out on their own when they were young. (In the US, on the farm in IRL they were all over the farm and up and down the road to the neighbors.) I on the other hand had the run of the wooded lot next door, one down the street, and acres of woods across the street that became a playground and ball fields in the summer after I was in first grade. But before it became a playground, no one gave a second thought to all us kids taking the path through the woods as a shortcut to school. Imagine letting your five year old take off alone into several acres of woods in this day and age? And nothing bad ever happened to any of us. No kidnappings, pedophiles, or pimps or drug dealers. No major injuries either. Well, except for me. I was a bit accident prone. And even they were minor. A rusty bedspring through my foot once and a rusty nail another. And there was no tetanus shot. My mother was big on peroxide. Remember the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and his bottle of Windex? My mother was like that about peroxide.

And we were out all day. The occasional trip to someone’s house for the bathroom or a drink of water. Home at noon for lunch. But we did not have to come home until the sun was down. Kinda makes you wonder what our parents were up to.

And we were easy to please. Simple ball games, tag, riding our bikes. Personally, I could be kept happy for the longest time on a hot, sunny day, sitting on the curb and popping tar bubbles. What ever happened to tar bubbles? And when and why did the end of such wonderful childhoods come?

Published by Kate Eileen Shannon

Artist, Crafter, Writer, purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle

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