Tuesday, June 9, 2009
This just brings me back to my childhood.
In the late 60s, I would have been about 10, next brother was 8, next brother 7, and little sister 5. Baby Brother was still on the to do list. We watched all the goofy shows like this, Gilligan's Island, Saturday morning cartoons. Typical suburban yahoos. What is so different is the freedom we had.
My mother would throw us out of the house. It's a nice day outside. Go play. Off we would go. All day. No mom breathing down your neck. We would ride our bikes to the neighborhood 7-11. Yes, even the 5 year old. We played in the wash in our backyard. In the winter when it rained, a small creek would flow down the middle of it. We did some of the stupidest things imaginable. We ran up and down the fences in our backyards. We rode in cars standing between our parents. On long trips in the station wagon, my parents would lay the seats down and make a bed for all of us to sleep. We would drive through the desert at night. I loved it. You could watch the stars. We played with toys that would make some of these goody good moms palpitate. We fell out of trees. We rode little mini-bikes with loud sewing machine sounding engines. We played in the street. Played hide and seek at night. Blew up army men with firecrackers. We went trick or treating ALONE. No parents. (Which is partly the reason being the oldest that I am a bit bossy. I couldn't let the stupidity get too out of hand. It was my ass that got paddled if trouble got too out of hand.)
My sister and I took her boys one day to see a real Thomas the Tank Engine at a railroad museum. We got to ride in train in an open car. It was a beautiful day with tons of little boys hyperventilating with all the machinery and guy stuff everywhere. It was so cool. We sat in a car with 2 docents who were conducting tours and we had a chance to have a nice long talk with them. They were early 30s, maybe older. They were totally getting into talking about the things they did as boys. Blow up things with chemistry sets. Practically set the house on fire with the wood burning tool with the tiny little cord. They were totally enjoying their stories. They both had boys, about 8 or 9, as I remember. When I commented that their sons must have a blast doing all those things, too, they looked at me like I was nuts. What? No way. Their kids were not going to be allowed to do those things. It was dangerous.
Here were two men who you could tell were totally competent about taking things apart, putting things together, figuring things out, fixing things because they were allowed to do that as young boys and men, but they were not allowing their boys to do those same things. Change oil. Mow the lawn. Fix the dryer. Build something. Drill. Saw. Anything. Maybe even cook.
I love running into young people who can do things. I know a huge mistake I made with my girls was not making sure they had jobs to do. As part of a family, everyone needs to pitch in. We all had chores growing up. Man, the whining we did when we had to do them must have driven my mom nuts, but you did them. I knew how to keep a house when I moved out. Although to this day, I hate to vacuum. My mom had a canister vacuum with a long ass hose attached to it. No upright vacuum that leaves those pretty vacuum tracks that now I make sure that no one messes up for a few hours because they make a room look so clean. No, I had to get on my hands and knees with the little itty bitty attachment and do all the carpeting in the house. I can still picture that olive colored textured carpet. It was a bitch to get to look clean. I would rather clean the harvest gold formica counter top.
I need to ask my mom one day how she did not have fits when we would be gone all day and she would have no idea where we were. Does she realize how many times we were in the storm sewers riding our bikes? Sheesh. Those damn mutant turtles used to harass the hell out of us.
Posted by Happy Hour...Somewhere at 7:01 PM