If you are old enough… take a stroll with me, close your eyes, and go back. Before the Internet. Before semiautomatics and crack, before SEGA or Super Nintendo. Back… way back.
I’m talking about hide and go seek at dusk. Sittin’ on the porch, Simon Says, Kick the Can, Red light, green light, lunch boxes with thermos. Chocolate milk, going home for lunch, penny candy from the store, hopscotch, butterscotch, skates with keys, Jacks , Mother May I?
Hula Hoops and sunflower seeds, Old Main and Crazy Eights, wax lips and mustaches, Mary Janes, saddleshoes and Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom, running the sprinkler, circle pins, bobby pins, Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Fran and 0llie, Popeye… all in black and white.
When around the corner seemed far away and going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Bedtime, climbing trees, making forts, backyard shows, lemonade stands, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, sittin’ on the curb starring at clouds, jumping down the steps, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, getting “company” ribbon candy, angel hair on the Christmas tree, Jackie Gleason, white gloves, walking to church, walking to the movie theater, being tickled to death, running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt, being tired from playing. . .Remember that? Not steppin’ on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back, paper chains at Christmas, silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington. . .the smell of paste in school and Evening in Paris.
What about the girl that had the big bubble handwriting who dotted her “i’s” with hearts? The stroll, popcorn balls, and sock hops.. . Remember when . . .when there were two types of sneakers for girls and boys (Keds & PF Flyers) and the only time you wore them at school was for “gym.” And the girls had those ugly uniforms.
When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up. When nearly every one’s Mom was at home when the kids got home from school. When nobody owned a purebreed dog.
When a quarter was a decent allowance and another quarter… a huge bonus. When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for penny. When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then. When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces. When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done everyday and wore high heels.
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked and gas pumped without asking, all for free every time. And you didn’t pay for air. And you got trading stamps to boot! When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.
When any parent could discipline any kid or feed him or use him to carry groceries and nobody even the kid, thought a thing of it. When it was considered a great privledge to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed… and did!
When the worst thing you could do at school was smoke in the bathrooms, flunk a test or chew gun. And the prom was in the auditorium and we danced and all the girls wore pastel gowns and the boys wore suits for the first time and we stayed out all night.
When a 57 Chevy was everyone’s dream car. . .to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races and people went steady and girls wore a class ring with an inch of wrapped dental floss or yarn coated with pastel frost nail polish so it would fit her finger.
And no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition and the doors were never locked. And you got in trouble in you accidentally locked the doors at home, since no one ever had a key. Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying things like “That cloud looks like a…”
And playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game. Back then baseball was not a psychological group learning experience… it was a game.
Remember when stuff came from the store without safety caps because no one had tried to poison a perfect stranger and… with all our progress. Don’t you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children now.
So send this one to someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Doody and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, Roy and Clark and Trigger… as well as the sound of a reel mower on Saturday morning and summers filled with bike rides, playing in cowboy land, baseball games, bowling and visiting the pool and eating Kool-aid powder with sugar.
When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of drive by shooting, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and our grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we all survived because their love was greater than the threat.
Didn’t that feel good, just to sit back and say, YEAH I remember that!
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