|Little Rixx Javix with Treasure|
I was born in the 1960's and grew up during the 1970's, and based on the way things have become in this country during the last twenty years, it is a wonder that I survived. It's a wonder that any of us did. Our Mothers were as likely to smoke and drink during pregnancy as they were not, fortunately mine did not. (Thanks Mom!) Although I always suspected my parents found me while driving by a field one morning, swaddled in my rocket, but that's another story.
I never wore a helmet when I rode my bicycle. If I had, I would have been beaten up by the neighbor kids. And if I had been beaten up by the neighbor kids nothing would have happened to them, my parents wouldn't have sued them and wouldn't have had a "serious talk" with their parents. If anything I would've been the one in trouble. Most likely for being stupid enough to wear a helmet in front of anyone. And I didn't just ride my bike in the driveway, no I rode my bike down the side of mountains, over hand-made ramps and jumps, across chasms, over fallen trees, anywhere with the potential for serious harm. And I would often do this all day without adult supervision.
If I got in trouble at School, which I often did, I was likely to be beaten in front of the entire class as punishment. They wouldn't even call my parents to tell them this happened. Or I'd be sent to the Principal's office for a stern talking to, and then a beating. I once had a Gym teacher who had a plank of wood with a handle, upon which he had painted a Nazi Swastika. (Can you even imagine such a thing today?) He would make us bend over and grab out toes, before... well you know.
If we had car seats when I was an infant I don't remember them. In fact I believe our first cars didn't even have seat belts! My parents at one point had a blue Renault and we were hit from behind on the way home from a movie and I don't think I was wearing a seat belt at the time. Cool huh? Heck, the tires were probably bald at the time.
My dad would put seats in the back of his pick-up truck and my brother and I would ride back there. The seats were not bolted down or anything, and once again we didn't have seat belts. I can remember taking trips riding in the back of a pick-up truck, although this time I believe it had a "camper" top on it at least. Does that sound dangerous? Oh yes, it is. Sometimes dozens of us kids would pile into the back of a pick-up truck and ride somewhere, to a swimming hole or something. A swimming hole, for those unfamiliar with the concept, is NOT a swimming pool. Swimming holes have rocks, snakes, slippery moss and other hazards. And they are a lot of fun. Don't even get me started with rope swings!
As kids we drank water from the water hose, shared pop with each other, ate real bacon, white bread, drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar, ate dangerous pop rocks (exploding candy!), threw lawn darts (sometimes at each other!), climbed trees (I once fell from one and broke my arm clean in two!), rolled down hills, threw rocks at hornet's nests, smashed glass bottles with rocks, hit each other with sticks, played war in the woods... the list of dangerous activities could go on forever. And we did much of this outside all day without adult supervision. Sometimes I could be gone playing with my friends ALL DAY and my parents wouldn't know exactly where I was... and it was ok. As long as I was home by dark. Which was a time always open to interpretation by me. If I wasn't home my Dad would actually yell from the porch.
We had four channels on the TV. You had to get up from the couch to change the channel. Almost all new programs started in September, which was a big deal especially Saturday morning cartoons. We would spend the week before with the TVGuide planning our morning. If you missed a program or a movie odds were that you would never see it again! Imagine that.
I could walk to a friends house and walk right through the front door without knocking and yell to see if they were home. And no one would shoot me for doing it.
We had to tryout for sports and not everyone who tried out made the team. Back in those days you had to deal with the fact that you might actually suck at something. If you made a mistake during a game your friends and their parents would let you know about it in horribly embarrassing and public ways.
I could go on. But at this point I think I've said enough. If you read the above and thought, even for a second, that my parents were bad parents, then shame on you. I have the best parents in the world and I had an amazing, wonderful childhood. I wouldn't change a thing. Not anything important anyway. No it wasn't perfect, nothing is, but it was great. But growing up when I did gave me perspective that I appreciate today. And no, I wouldn't dream of allowing my son to do some of the things that I did. Times have changed. But they always do, my childhood was a lot different than the ones my parents had. And my son's childhood is a lot different than the one I had. It'll be the same with his children.
Have we lost something? Maybe. But maybe it is the cost of growing older, that we look back with a romantic, rose colored view of the past. It was a special time to us because we lived it. As all childhoods should be.