I remember sharing tales of my childhood with my niece. She found it difficult to understand how much freedom we had at a young age. My sister and I were free range children. We stayed home alone and roamed the streets until the street lights come on. Her eyes were wide as we explained how during the summer we were not allowed inside until the adults returned home from work, were done with their naps after working long days or having sexy times. I’m almost positive that last one was a reason.
We didn’t have lunchables. We didn’t have bottled waters or cell phones to get us through the day. We actually had to forage for nourishment throughout the day. Sometimes during the entire summer. We had to interact with strangers to find out where the candy houses were located. The search for these strangers homes was a fun adventure. We used the loose change we found on the ground or saved up in our penny banks for funding.
One could actually buy candy, (good candy) for a penny or five cents. Chips and Soda cost $.50 and I think pickles were either $.25 or $.50 as well. The children in the neighborhood would pull their resources together to get snacks to sustain us throughout the day. Honestly, I’m surprised that we don’t all have diabetes. Anyway, as I digress. If we were thirsty, we drank from water hoses. Sometimes that unfiltered water was the best tasting thing ever on a hot summer day.
We didn’t have cell phones. We actually had to search on foot or bikes to locate our friends. In doing so, may have picked up a few new friends on the way. I feel sorry that my niece will never now a time where she could go out until dark without worry. That she will never know what it’s like to catch frogs in a creek. I feel sorry that she would never know the of being a free ranged, carefree kid because there was a network of retirees who watch out for us. Older siblings of the kids we played with warning us of the houses to stay away from to keep us safe.
We were allowed to be kids. We were allowed freedoms that her generation will never know. Sometimes I wonder how my friends and I ever survived. I remember a few friends and I being so trusting that we got into a white van with some white men. These men ended up taking us to a church camp where they feed us lunch, taught us fun church songs then carted us back home safely. As a matter of fact, I need to ask my mother if she knew about that? Did they get permission? I could have ended up in the trade. Anyway, I survived.
I cherish those days and I feel sorry for the generation who live in a world full of villains. A world where innocence is preyed upon. A world full of cynicism and hate. To not have everything posted on the Internet. They don’t have to rely on their memories to recall fun times. They will never know the joys of playing kickball in the street with an audience of neighbors cheering us on. It really did take a village to raise us. I’m so glad that I experienced that life. Those truly were some good times.