Monday, June 22, 2009

To the Kids Who Survived the 20s Through the 60s

[Sent to me by friend Sherm, with comments added by me, of course.]

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while
they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or
cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads. As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

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 ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. Why? Because we were always outside playing....that's why! 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 O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride
them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendos or X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms. We had friends and we went outside and found them.

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who
didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem
solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If you are one of them, congratulations. You might want to share this
with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives "for our own good." While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

[This originally came to me with a "quote" attributed to Jay Leno
attached. I did the responsible thing and went to and checked it out. It was an urban legend, not a true quote, so I have deleted it. I don't distribute fallacy.] The rest of this is great. I can add to it that I also remember playing with the mercury from thermometers. In fact, I remember having a little bottle where we kids kept the stuff when we broke a thermometer, which we occasionally did intentionally. (Gee, Mom, we're so sorry!) I also remember running behind the DDT truck, while it sprayed great clouds of insecticide. That was great fun. Instant fog machine.

I'm still alive to tell about it. Kind of makes you want to run
through the house with scissors, doesn't it?


Jim said...

we were just talking about the DDT trucks at Joe's retirement and how when we were kid we would ride our bikes behind them. Was it John Wayne who said, "If it don't kill me, it'll only make me stronger"?

Ben said...

I agree that some things are a bit overboard, but I believe that most of the lawyers and politicians we have now were born in those decades, right? :)

More importantly, average life expectancy is WAY up and infant mortality is WAY down. I'll take my lead-free paint any day. :)

Kathleen said...

I have to agree, Ben. Still, life was way less scary, more free, and the future, although shorter, sure seemed brighter. This cradle to grave stuff is robbing humanity of their drive and ingenuity... not you, of course. Too many people would rather wait for a handout than work, though.

Sharon and Marvin said...

I have to agree that kids need to be outside TALKING TO THEIR FRIENDS rather than texting/e-mailing them...way too much TV, DVD, games. What ever happened to sitting on the porch visiting with neighbors? I loved our back yard full of kids playing on the swing set, sandbox, dirt hill, monkey bars.