Hello everyone! Today is the first of a long series. I am going to try my best to participate in the MFRW 52 Week Challenge. Each week they have a prompt on the subject that is predefined, so there is an automatic topic. Not every one of them is something I would have chosen to divulge or share, but I didn’t make the list. When we get to those, I’ll have to see how I feel about the prompt that week.
I missed the first prompt last week as I was just recovering from the flu or cold crud or whatever the heck it was that had me down. Instead, I’m jumping in on Week 2: Childhood Memories: A Walk Back in Time.
Step into the time machine with me as Sherman operates the controls. *wavy lines as we travel back through time*.
Memories of my childhood . . . wow, that’s a big can of worms to unleash.
Let’s start with my earliest memory. Now I know a lot of people say that you can’t remember things until you are 3 or 4, but I distinctly remember playing on a blanket as my mother hung our clothes on the clothesline and the neighbor girls were sitting with me, playing patty cake. I had a bottle and was wearing a diaper and couldn’t quite walk. I could stand up, wobble then plop down, to which they would applaud me wildly, prompting me to do it again. What does that have to do with anything? It was a happy memory and the earliest memory.
I grew up in a rural area south of St. Louis, Missouri. Life was simpler back then. Middle-class America, small town where everyone knew everyone else and neighbor’s watched out for each other. We didn’t have cell phones, we didn’t have handheld games unless you consider slingshots and BB guns. I could hit a crabapple from twenty yards away with one rock. We had our imaginations, the outdoors, and real-life friends to hang out with.
The movie the Sand Lot is a good idea of the neighborhood ballgame we used to play. We gathered on a vacant lot next door to one of my friend’s house. I brought a bat, others brought gloves and balls. We rode our bike to and from the lot. I was usually early and would sit on the ground with my friend Eddie until others arrived. I don’t ever remember getting into any kind of fight with Eddie, not even through high school. Since then we’ve lost touch but I often wonder what he’s up to.
We spent every minute we could outdoors. Because if you were indoors, then Mom could tell you to do additional chores. Who wanted that? We caught lightning bugs and made glow in the dark jewelry by pinching off their butts. I know, it sounds gross now and cruel but we didn’t think about that as kids. We rode our bikes throughout the day without the aid of Fitbits. Who knew how many miles we racked up and who cared! We would go as fast as we could, taking the corners at an angle, just to see who could do it the lowest.
We had three spots where we gathered: the empty lot for softball, the corner at the upper street next to Mr. Aubuchon’s farm, and the entry to the quarry at the top of the hill, both of which were stopping points for riding our bikes.
None of us had water bottles. Occasionally, we’d stop at someone’s house and often take drinks from the hose.
We didn’t have to worry about stranger danger, everyone knew who was from around there and who wasn’t.
There were no known incidents of child abductions. There were a few kids who ran away from home into the woods behind our small community but were later returned home. I ran away a couple of times myself. The first time I ran away up to my Aunt and Uncle’s house that lived on the street above ours. When it was time for dinner and I didn’t come home, my mother called my aunt and she said yes I was in the backyard with my cousins playing ghosts in the graveyard. They were never worried.
Another time I had read a book from the Scholastic book fair, about a boy who lived on the other side of the mountain and lived on acorns. I packed a backpack, stuffed some ritz crackers and a jar of peanut butter in my pack, a couple of shirts, a couple of apples, and a paper lunch sack full of my mom’s oatmeal cookies. I made it as far as the remains of a log cabin that had burned down many years before. There was a stone fireplace, a few rotted logs, and some wrought iron sticking out of the ground. It was getting near dusk and I heard coyotes. My little legs moved as fast as they could back home. Washing in the sink in the typical bird bath style when told to wash up before dinner.
When asked where I’d been all day, I said exploring. I told them about the rocks I found in the creek. I shared about the bunnies and the snake I came across. I told my dad all about the “ancient” cabin ruins, asking him to take me back there because we might find some archaeological discovery that we would need to send to the museum.
My mother was a girl scout leader and had taken her troop to the St. Louis art museum a few weeks before and I was fascinated.
My mother asked after regaling my father with my explorations if I had taken some of her cookies. I jumped down, got the bag or what was left of the bag from my backpack and brought them to her simply saying “explorers need snacks.”
Nowadays, an 8-year-old girl wandering the woods alone would be cause for alarm. Where are her parents? Why is she in the woods alone? She’s in danger! The only time I felt in danger back then was when I heard the coyotes and realized I didn’t have any place to be safe overnight.
Life was simpler. We had to use our imaginations, something I feel that today’s kids are handicapped by not using.
What are some of your favorite childhood memories? How do you feel about the times when you grew up as opposed to today’s youth? Be sure to check out the other authors participating in this blog tour!
Write on my friends, write on!
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