I Miss the Good Ole Days!
I grew up in the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.
In the summer where I grew up, kids were like free range chickens. As a kid, I was encouraged to get outside after getting dressed and eating breakfast. All fueled up and ready to hit the streets. I'd hop on my bike or walk to a friends house blocks away, go to the park, unsupervised and no one knew exactly where we were. I mean, I’d throw it out there as the door slammed, ‘going to Christy’s house, see ya later’ or ‘going to the park!'
I’d be gone all day. Most days, my trail looked like Billy’s in a family circus comic in the Sunday morning paper, little dashed lines everywhere!
Some days I'd head down the street and by the time I got to the park, there’e only be one or two of us, other times we’d stop for other members of the gang (a gang of kids was 2 or more pretty well behaved kids just wanting to spend time together.) Sometimes we’d have little competitions, like who could stay on the pogo stick longest, twirl on the monkey bars more times without getting sick or how high could you swing against each other. We rarely bullied each other, we’d simply play together, head to somebody’s house or play in the canal.
But just like those free range chickens, as soon as that street light came on we’d be back inside for the night.
At night, Dad would be home from work as I came through the door while the sun was setting. I'd "wash up" and we’d sit down as a family, at the kitchen or dining room table, say a quick prayer, eat dinner and talk about our day; school, work, etc. There was no complaining about what we were having to eat. That’s right, we’d eat what was put before us, even the creamed corn, YUCK!
Most days, Dad would come home for lunch and we'd watch Andy Griffith and Dick Van Dyke before he'd head back out to work and I'd make my way back out into the world of friends and dirt!
After dinner, kids would take baths and we’d all sit around the console TV that brought in 3, maybe 5 channels with a good antenna that was called rabbit ears. We didn’t have a remote, we WERE the remote. “Change it to channel 3”, NO, don’t let go of the antenna, it’s better if you hold it…ooooh, right there, that’s it, ok, let it go…NO, it only works if you hold it. Click it…again…again, THERE! And Dad would say get me another beer when you were on your way back from a potty (bathroom) break. We'd watch The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, Archie Bunker, The Jeffersons, Carol Burnett, Mama's House, I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Flip Wilson and Sanford and Son. We'd usually skip Lawrence Welk! Dad would end the night with The Tonight Show, or what I called, the Johnny Carson show. I'd even get to stay up late when certain guests were on that Dad knew I liked. Tiny Tim was a favorite. Most times when it came on, I was out at the sound of 'Heeeere's Johnny' as Pat Severenson's band was playing.
Saturdays were seeing Dad fixing helping work on a neighbor's car, mowing the lawn, taking me to the recycling center to cash in on cans and newspapers I’d collected from around the neighborhood to earn some money or visiting relatives across town.
Sunday was church day. Clean up, dress up and head for church, go to Sunday school and sometimes have dinner with the neighbors that were like family.
I miss the good ole days!