Remember when we rode our bikes without helmets, were gone until the streetlights came on, drank out of the hose when we were thirsty, and just walked up to our friend’s door (or even in the back yard!) to see if they could come out and play? What happened to all that?
Honorary Member of ‘The Gang’
We moved into our house when right before I turned 5, and the following year, my dad put up my swing set and built me a tree house. And because our yard was the only one in the neighborhood without any trees in the front yard, it soon became the kickball field for the older kids in the neighborhood.
My parents stipulated playing in our yard was fine, but they had to let me play, too.
My mother soon lived in fear of our picture window or even car window, being shattered by a baseball or soccer ball.
One kid fell out of the tree house and broke his arm. Another jumped from the five-foot platform and broke his ankle. Was anyone sued? No; it was their own darn fault!
I was allowed to play outdoors with them until the street light by our driveway came on, or in the evenings on the weekends when it was the optimal time to play Hide and Seek or ‘Ghost In The Graveyard’…“Ghost in the graveyard, can’t catch me…no sir, no sir, no sir-ee!”
As we grew older, the older kids began calling themselves ‘The Wea Woodlands Gang’, and since my yard was still the best one, I was an honorary member, even if no one made ME a shirt or gave me a fun name!
When our dads came home from work, especially the ones with trucks, we’d all run down to the end of the street and flag them down to pile into the back of the truck. That dad would graciously drive to the other end of the street to the school bus turn-around, then drop off kids at various houses. Of course, we knew another dad was due any time, so we’d run down to the entrance of our neighborhood and do it again!
Another fun activity was playing ‘Pickle’ with anyone playing ‘Catch’ in the street. The object was to run from one player to the other before he could catch the ball. If you did, you were ‘safe’.
One year, my BFF and I pretended our neighborhood was a town. Each driveway was something different, where we pretended to gas up our bikes, get groceries, visit a store, or go to the beauty parlor. Another time, a large black snake had been killed in the road; it soon became a contest to see who would dare run over it, especially once the head was separated from the body. Then the ‘dare’ was to see who could ride their bike through that space. Morbid, yes, but when you’re seven….hey, we thought we were pretty daring! I don’t know who finally picked up it up or if the buzzards finally got it, but it provided us with at least a few days’ worth of scary fun.
Later, when a new family moved in and put large boulders in their yard, it became fun to play King of the Mountain, and see who could go from one rock to the next without touching the ground. The larger of the pair had a slick section, and we’d spend many happy hours sliding down it:) It’s still there, but it’s been obviously rotated, since putting in a new driveway. Just doesn’t look the same, and I’m amazed at how ‘tall’ we thought it was back then, ha ha!
My parents took us to Colorado, King’s Island Amusement Park, and to Florida, esp when my grandparents moved to St. Pete Beach. It became my ‘Summer Home’ for ten years, and I have very fond memories of that place. When Grandma passed away in 1995, my last visit was to her funeral. I still hope to return someday, and return to the Tiki Gardens, Treasure Island, St. John’s Pass, and Madeira Beach. Also to Pass-A-Grill Beach, where no matter where we went to eat, a trip past P-A-G Beach was *always* on the way back to Grandma’s house!
What are some of YOUR happy childhood memories?
Update On My Mom:
She was allowed to go home today for half a day! The social worker inspected the house, and deemed it satisfactory for Mom to get around (my dad has spent the last 6 months moving things around, making a ramp for the wheelchair she uses, etc), and she not only was able to use her walker in the house, but was able to do things for herself that she hasn’t been able to do, pre-falling. Dad took her to her hair appointment, then out to dinner, before returning her to the rehab facility. Answered prayers; my mom is getting back on her feet!!!
As far as the vehicles go…..Dad was able to get the van fixed, and says he knows what’s wrong with the truck; just hasn’t gotten around to fixing it yet. I asked if I was needed this month; Dad said he’d let me know.
What lovely stories! You truly have a knack for writing about childhood. I also grew up on a street full of young families, and I have fond memories of running in packs and playing “Blood Man” on summer evenings–a ghost story game we used to scare ourselves silly.
Thank you Rhonda! I have some not-so-great memories, but chose to focus on the good ones this time. I’ve never heard of ‘Blood Man’.
Those are some great memories, Molly!
Thank you Kate:)