Yesterday I was out and about with Hannah and our conversation moved to what it was like when I was her age. Which got me to thinking, I have always talked about putting my memories down on paper, not because my life was that exciting, but I love history of all kinds. I loved hearing stories from my parents and grandparents, and so I wanted to leave my life memories for my kids and grandkids. And I figured that if I blogged my memories in a series "When I was..." then at least I will get some of them down. And if you grew up in my era, maybe you'll remember too...
When I was 12, we were living in the Sheridan Projects in Tonawanda, NY, in a 2 bedroom apartment with my large family (7 of us). I didn't want to live there, I was perfectly happy living as an only child with my daddy, despite living in the same house with Gramma Rose. But no one asked me what I wanted, so off I went. But it wasn't that bad. We were poor, only I didn't know we were poor because all my friends were poor too. I pulled the old house up on Google earth, and the house still looks pretty much the same.
Anyway, we're talking early 70's, and my first boyfriend was my best friends brother and lived in the building next door. There was a group of 6 kids my age and we would be gone from morning till bedtime, just wandering the neighborhood visiting other friends. You see, back then, neighbors knew each other and watched out for each others children. Cell phones were an just idea from The Jetsons, so I could not "check in", but my mom didn't worry about me. I was safe within that community. I would eat at whomever's house I was at at the time, my mom wasn't big on sit down family dinners. lol.
During the summer, when it got hot, we would plug up the street drains with newspapers and flood the street so we could "swim". The parents would sit on the porches and visit each other, and inevitable someone would call and complain about the water, and the city street crew would come and yell at us kids and take our pool away.
Most summer evenings you would find us kids playing hide and seek until dusk, then the siren from the local firehall would blow letting us know it was 7pm. No matter where we were at that time, when the siren blew we knew it was time to head back to our own street. There we would finish our games until the street lights came on and it was time to go into the house.
My very best friends parents had a corn roast every summer in their backyard. It seemed like everyone in the neighborhood would pitch in, and kids were running everywhere. In the back yard you could find trash cans full of beer (for the adults) and soda (for the kids) and then more cans full of corn on the cob, or clams, chilling on ice. When you got hungry you just grabbed an ear of corn (or a hot dog) handed it to an adult, and they would throw it on the grill. That was some of the best tasting corn ever!
When I reminisce on times like this, I feel sorry for kids today that have no idea how to amuse themselves or their friends. They are too busy on their cell phones to actually spend time together face to face, and when they are together, they sit on opposite ends of the sofa with their nintentoes playing games.
Yes, I feel sorry for them, because they are missing out on that basic need we all have, human contact and caring, and just plain fun!
(As I write this, my Hannah is sitting here staring at me because she's bored because I won't let her turn on the Wii today. so sad).
What was your childhood like? Do you think the kids of today have it better? or worse?