I am not generally one of those who shout “back in my day” or “let’s go back to the good old days.” I don’t see how anyone who has a cable modem and a blog could go anywhere near that. Besides, which “good old days” do you mean? Do you really want to go back before you had all your toys? No PC’s, DVD’s and MP3’s? Hell, I don’t even want to do without self-flushing public toilets!
And yet I found myself looking at this list from Tanya and saying, “Yeah, we did all that stuff.”
How did we survive?
When I was a wee tyke, we lived in Wallingford, Connecticut, for a couple of years. I went to kindergarten and first grade there. It still amazes me that I walked about four or five city blocks, including crossing a main street (with the help of the fat, friendly cop) – by myself! I can’t imagine letting my 13-year-old walk by herself through the streets of Wallingford, much less a 5-year-old.
One summer, we rode across the country in the back of a pickup truck with a cap on it. Seat belts? Where would you put them? Three kids and a big dog in the back, my parents, baby brother and a poodle in the cab, hauling a pop-up camper from Maine to Denver, down through the South, and back. We got caught up in nearby tornadoes one night in Illinois. Our dog accidentally bit one of my cousins in Mississippi. One of my brothers got sick in Tennessee (probably from eating undercooked catfish).
I used to “surf” in the back of the pickup, seeing if I could stay standing as we went around corners. I used to bike to my best friend’s house 15 miles away, then hop in a canoe (without a life vest) and paddle down Kenduskeag Stream. I used to snowmobile to another friend’s house. (Oh, the ecological devastation and waste of precious energy!)
We played softball, football, soccer, basketball and everything from badminton to volleyball all the time in the summer, and the only time we ever had a problem with fights and injuries was when we tried to get into “organized” baseball.
But the one thing I miss most of all was the freedom to run out in the woods and play a “mean game o’ guns.” You know the drill: “I shot you! No you didn’t! Yes, I did! I shot you first! Nuh-uhhhhhh.” Almost every night, we’d be sneaking around in the trees until dark, laying ambushes and killing our friends (except during hunting season – we weren’t stupid!). I think that’s why I love MOHAA so much. It’s a virtual “mean game o’ guns.”
Excuse me. I have to go kick the kids off the PS2.