Monday, April 14, 2014

The Good Old Days

I always go on about the " good old days " like I'm 99 years old.

But when you're 54 and looking back it's only normal that you remember all of the good - I think it's a natural process because that's the recollection you have of YOUR life.

The thing that stands out for me the most - right at the top - is the respect that was instilled in us from the time we could speak.  We were a far more polite generation than today - sorry but that's just the way it is. And it was a time of freedom - we weren't leaden down with schedules as kids back then -
We ate - ran out the door - and more often then not - returned when the next meal was being placed on the table.

You've all read this I'm sure - with a smile on your face and a certain pride for being a child of that era

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up 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 and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
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 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, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet 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!
This generation has 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!
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 our lives for our own good.
And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

But we weren't perfect - oh boy - we were so far from perfect it's scary.

Look Ma, no helmuts - 
I can remember riding on the back of one of my Uncles motorcycles without a helmut - not far - just around the block - but no one ever thought to put a helmut on my 7 year old head - or on my 19 year old Uncle's head for that matter - every one had a big smile on their face - yelling " Good Luck - Have fun "  IDIOTS - we may look back and smile at this - but it was just recklessly stupid really

Duck - they're out for a Sunday afternoon drive -
There are so many infractions here I cringe to write it but here was a typical Sunday afternoon drive
in the 60's or early 70's.
Too many people in the car
NO seatbelts whatsoever
Babies sitting in laps
Garbage being tossed out the window - ( need to blow your nose?  ugggh - get rid of that tissue - just throw it out the window )
3 or 4 adults happily blowing smoke into that small enclosed space
Kids sitting with their heads hanging out the window

Driving while intoxicated or being driven by someone who was
If you're my age ( and obviously not Mormon ) you have some sort of memory of this.
I know we're all appalled by this today - but the fact still remains that this was a very common
practice back in the day - with some idiot proclaiming " I drive better when I've had a few drinks "
and a bunch of idiots piling into the back seat................though I never drove drunk I was a passenger many times of someone who should not have been behind the wheel.

Let the sunshine in 
Not only did we not wear sunscreen - WE ACTUALLY SMEARED OURSELVES IN BABY OIL -
to literally cook our skin - and bought these space age looking contraptions that were basically tin foil fold outs that we held in front of our face to make sure the rays centered there most of all !!!

Who let the dogs out?
Dogs were just let out the front door - it didn't matter if they were vicious - they roamed the streets on their own ( can you imagine - I mean really - can you imagine ? )  Did their business where ever they pleased - PICKING IT UP?  GROSS - ARE YOU NUTS?
Spring was always a great season - because when the snow melted - Voila - instant brown art everywhere
And most of us have a horror story or 2 about being chased by a stray crazed dog - jumping out of nowhere -

Don't be a stranger
Front doors were not locked - anyone could walk in and out - and if that weren't bad enough I can't recall an incident where a stranger wouldn't be invited in if he knocked on the door asking to use the phone -
In fact one of my girlfriends awoke one morning to her Father kicking a homeless man out of their home - he had wandered in and taken refuge on the couch for the night LMHO - really not funny at all - but really funny none the less!!!

Now aren't you all happy we're so much wiser now?

And guess what?  This wild and crazy bunch of teenagers - will one day be another version of US - looking back and smiling -
And looking in horror at what teenagers of the next generation do................

So.......................while we get all warm and fuzzy looking back - let's never forget how reckless and foolish we were - and yes - stupid.

The only difference I can see is that we were politely stupid.

Have a great day,
A survivor :)


  1. Such a fun read - and I have eleven years on you.

    One of the things I used to tell my middle school students was that I was sorry for them that they have cell phones. Kids don't know how to be disconnected and don't know how to just play. Oh the fun we had just hanging out.

  2. How true - got up in the morning had breakfast did our chores and out the door we went. Came home for lunch and back out to play and we always knew when it was dinner time. We had fun and played - you never head I'm bored, what can I do? And we were respectful to adults, no sir, no mam or you were told about it. Now the kids have to have play dates and can't even play outside unless an adult is watching them - how sad.

    Have a great week Suzanne

  3. Yep, there were un-sensible things in every generation but the best thing was people/children knew how to live I guess since we didn't do it right, the government tells us how to do it now~~~With a few exceptions, I'll take the old way any day! Great post~~~Easter Blessings~~~Roxie

  4. Ah, the good old days. I really enjoyed this even though I've read the 'story' before, but it always makes me smile and I visualize the home and neighbourhood I grew up in. We actually drove by my old house on Saturday while we were in Moncton. The neighbourhood seems so "small". Murray said, "Well, you were small". Yes, but I was also a teenager the same size as I am now and it still seems small to me. The neighbourhood is getting a little run down now and the huge trees that lined the street are gone. My best friend's house is gone and there's another one that is boarded up and should be gone! Makes me sad. Thanks for the memories of a great time to be growing up, Suzan. BTW we did lock our doors at night as we lived in an upstairs flat. I never did like the creepy back stairs! :)

  5. Oh dear, and you can add riding our bikes behind the DDT trucks in our neighborhood to your list! (And we were crying over the chemical spilled in our drinking water this past January, really??) My family of 8 other siblings spans the entire baby boomer generation and, sadly, ours was probably the last generation of good, clean fun....even if we were all crammed into the station wagon with no seatbelts (and remember that third seat in the back that faced the tractor-trailers coming straight at us?!) Thanks for the post - it was fun.

  6. And my generation went to San Francisco and wore flowers in our hair. There was free love and being a hippie was cool. We marched off to Viet Nam and got sprayed with Agent Orange...we may have lived to tell about it. It was an exciting time of life with a cause for everyone that wanted a cause. Somehow, I missed all the hoopla and was still respectful and "good" I did like the mini-skirt phase much to the church's horror. lol

  7. I love this piece. I remember playing outside the minute I got home from school and my mom yelling out the door when it was time for dinner. It was dark and she really did not know where I was, other than within the neighbourhood. I also remember us building big snow forts and hanging out in them forever during the winter months after school. Nobody ever checked that fort, or the fort we had by the creek that ran near out house. It was quite a sense of freedom when you think about it. Stupidity thrown in there too but I will admit that I think some of that free play we experienced then is missing on the youth of today. Parents seem to hover too much, involved in every move taken by their children. Although the other day I saw a parent supervising her children while glued to her smart phone.... wasn't sure whether her children were happy or disappointed.
    Oh is complicated.

  8. Yep, I am a survivor too! Can't imagine a better childhood than mine. We ran free all day long; played in the creek for hours. Our mom didn't know where we were and didn't worry about us. Played Kick the Can in the dark, rode horses all over our grandpa's ranch, ran from snakes ( yes some were poisonous) but we had fun! Now excuse me while I go roam the fields. :)

  9. I skateboarded down the center of our road. Rode my bike everywhere without a helmet. We made forts, paths, saved sick wildlife. I got bit by a gopher and didn't tell my parents because I didn't want the rabies shots. We had open campus at high school, if you didn't have a formal class you could just leave during that hour. I think it all made us learn limits, responsibility, and consequences. I get sad when I see how structured young ones' lives are now. Does it teach them discipline? Maybe. But couldn't they learn it 'deeper' if they figured it out on their own?

  10. Such a fun post, Suzan! And so true. The good and bad of our 'good old days'. There are things I miss, and things I'm glad have changed. One thing's for sure: I am SO glad that laws were passed and dog owners had to clean up after their pets. When I was a kid, the streets were littered with dog poop. It was disgusting!

  11. Oh yeah. The PRIME spot in the car was to lay in the back window!!

  12. Another survivor here... those were the days, my friend!

  13. Oh I remember those days well Suzan! We roller skated down the middle of the street, made up mysteries at the local creek where we built a fort to hang out in, just walked into friends houses without knocking, and took off to find that day's adventure. It was like we lived in our own little adult free universe, When I look back on my childhood I see the freedom that I had to just explore the world around me on my own and with my friends. What a great gift that was. I'm so grateful for it. Sure... we sometimes did stupid things, and made mistakes... but we learned from them. Most of the time. lol.

  14. It's definitely a different world we live in. I don't even like to think of my little grandsons playing in their backyards if someone weren't there constantly looking out for them. When I was a kid, we could roam the neighborhood in the country and no one worried. What I do see that makes me sad is that homes are sprouting couch potatoes, rather than kids who are engaged with real friends. They can multi task, but can they do any task thoroughly? Can they persevere, even through difficulties, or do they simply give up and move on to something easier?

  15. Great post, Suzan!! I remember those good old days...and what fun we had. Times sure have changed since then.

  16. LOL those crazy kids! I remember riding to town in the back of the truck and no bike helmets. Sometimes I miss all the stupidity.

  17. We did every dangerous thing possible on our farm, things we would never ever allow our own kids to do. Life was different then.

  18. You're a genius. But you knew that already. I actually DO drive better after a few drinks.

    Of course, I'm talking about a golf ball silly.


  19. I love the piece about the - no seat belts- heck my dad had a hardware store and used a stationwagon styled van as our family vehicle and the delivery truck.... there were no seats in the back only three hassocks for my two sisters and I - we fought over the one that had no legs because the others slid around the back whenever dad had to stop quickly or made a sharp turn.......and I am only a couple of years older than Suzie so it wasn't really so long ago...right? .... but I smile when I remember that old vehicle...

  20. I know... how on earth did we live to be this old! Almost all of these applied to my life growing up. Amazing!

  21. We used to go into the woods around our neighborhood and stay there all day. My mom was glad for us to be gone! We didn't have an air-conditioner until I was in 6th grade. Oh and no dishwasher either. Rode bikes everywhere and didn't even know what a bike helmet was. The only regret is the whole tanning thing. Bad sun damage on this body and face!

  22. Oh so true, sad but true. I remember smoking while I was breast feeding about 38 and 34 years ago!! I can't imagine that now, it horrifies me to think about it. And people smoked in line at the bank, while grocery shopping...boy I'm glad we all were taught differently. If we were bored as teenagers, we'd hop on the subway and ride it from one end of the city to the other a few times. And it was not cool to wear shoes in the summer, the bellbottom jeans had to be so long they got ragged from walking around the Ex and Toronto Island with no shoes. Yes, one girlfriend did get a nasty gash after she stepped on a broken pop bottle someone had thrown out their car window. Ahhh the memories...
    Debbie :)

    1. Doctor's smoked - right there in front of the patient - there was ALWAYS an ashtray on their desks lol - the clueless generation - which was fantastic in some aspects and horrific in others I suppose :)
      I'd like a little more " cluelessness " in my world today - I walk around with such a heavy heart from all of the grief being at our finger tips :(

  23. I just wonder if the world is a more dangerous place these days or whether the media and access to the internet just makes us believe it is. There were child murderers in the 60's, very famous ones, but I still went out everyday in the summer holidays straight after breakfast and only came home for meals. I was told not to talk to strangers or go anywhere with an adult I didn't know but apparently most children are abused by people they do know. We took ridiculous risks (go carting down the very steep hill I lived on with no brakes, digging tunnels in the woods looking for old air raid shelters, trying to find the source of our local river by wading along it to name but a few). We didn't wear seat belts and my parents both smoked, in fact nearly everyone smoked, but somehow we survived. It didn't get any better when I became a teenager. I once got in a very small car with about 10 other people (it was like something out of the Guinness Book of Records) not realising the driver had drunk 8 pints of beer (you might need John to translate that) . Needless to say he lost control going round a corner and we hit 5 parked cars - it was like being on the dodgems. Miraculously no one was hurt! Maybe we do need saving from our own stupidity but no matter how much they regulate our lives bad stuff will still happen. Isn't it better to take a few risks than live your life in fear?

  24. Perfect thing for me to read, because, yes, I am of that generation, and also, I have a teenager who will probably start doing all that stupid stuff!


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