Thinking back to some of the past generations - especially the 1940s and 1950s there are a lot of interesting things that we did that were all part of the times, and that we would never do in today's world. But with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.
No one asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked. You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time. And you got trading stamps to boot. One of my daughters was so fascinated when a woman actually serviced our car in this way (women had never been allowed to do such manly chores in the past) that she claimed that when she grew up she wanted to be a "gas station." Remember when a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car - to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarines roll. Keys were left in the car, with the motor running while shopping for groceries. The house was never locked.
A summer past time was lying on your back in the grass with your friends - and saying things like, "that cloud looks like a--------. And thinking it would be so cool to be up in the clouds and looking down on the earth then growing up and actually doing this from an airplane. Or sun tanning on your farmhouse lawn with no clothes on, and when you heard a car or truck traveling down the road - getting up and running to hide behind a bush.
Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game. When the worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. I was always picked last because I could not seem to hit a ball, so I was picked last and sent to the outer field. I loved being out there because the ball was hardly ever hit that far out, so I could daydream and watch the cars drive down the road and wave to them as they passed by. Those recess time games contained girls as well as boys in order to have enough for two teams. Sometimes the captains would make a deal for the team who picked me - "If you take her, you can have another round at the bat." But when we chose sides for running a race, I got picked first because I could outrun everyone.
There were no childproof lids on medicine bottles; as children we could ride in cars with no car seats. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat; when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads; we drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle; we shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this; we would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on; no one was able to reach us all day - and we were OK; there were no cell phones, no computers, no Internet and no chat rooms - we had friends - and we went outside and found them; we rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door, or just walked in and talked to them.
There were no health clubs where you could get some exercise - you just walked to most places (as there was only one car in the family and it cost money to fill it with gas) and you climbed the stair steps two at a time - and then got to slide down on the banister.
Our summers were filled with bike rides, Hula Hoops, and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar. Catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?
Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles. "Oly Oly oxen free" made perfect sense. "I double-dog-dare-ya!" also made perfect sense. Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mow, catch a piggy by the toe." While walking down the sidewalk we chanted "Step on a crack and break your mother's back." When really tired you said "I'm all fagged out." When disgusted you said "For crying out loud in the buttermilk," or "Cool your jets." "Speak softly, but carry a big stick." A newborn baby was "Cute as a bug in a rug." Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming "Do over!" "Race Issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. War was a card game. It wasn't odd to have two or three "best friends."
(Continued next week)