Gut Rumbles

June 27, 2005

sad, but true

I frequently wax nostalgic about my boyhood. I lived a great life as a child. I ran free.

But this woman is correct in what she has to say on that subject. The world just ain't what it once was. I hate to admit it, but it's true.

That's one of the reasons I grieved badly when I lost the mini-farm in my last divorce. I loved the farm, but more than anything else, I thought we had a place where my boy could grow up a lot like I did. He could run free.

You cannot allow a child to do that in many places anymore. Too many deviants and predators out there. Any parent who lets a kid suck down breakfast at 8:00 AM and then haul ass out the door to play in the woods until dark would be considered unfit today.

If that's true, then I had unfit parents. So did all my friends, because that's exactly what we DID, all summer long. Every summer. Every year, for a long time.

The world is a different place today, and kids are worse off for it.


It wasn't just southern boys that did that back then. This midwestern boy spent many of his formative years running here, there, and everywhere around my boyhood home.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on June 27, 2005 07:18 PM

As did this eastern girl :)

I agree though...the world today is a very sad place to be a child. They have NO idea what they're missing which is possibly the saddest part.

Posted by: Chablis on June 27, 2005 07:27 PM

There are still plenty of places in the USA where you can raise a child in "the wild".

Good luck finding a decent paying job there, though.

Posted by: rightisright on June 27, 2005 07:43 PM

Good Sir-- Do you remember when elevatorshad operators?

Wasn't it nice to step into the car toawarm smile and friendly greeting.

Posted by: desertman on June 27, 2005 08:15 PM

that was my summers too, and I'm from Chicago.

the lakefront, the school playground, out back, out front, roof hopping, you name it. It was great.

Posted by: zeluna on June 27, 2005 08:24 PM

The only times we came out of the woods was when mom sreamed out the back yard that she had food on the table and then she watched as her 4 and all our friends came out of the woods to eat. And 30 minutes later as we ran back. She wouldn't see us for hours at a time and never once seemed to worry about it.

Posted by: Symph on June 27, 2005 09:05 PM

I spent my summer days on horseback, I rode that poor horse every where. Summers at the lake house of a friend, swimming, boating and bbq'ing. Riding our bikes up to Stroh's for ice cream. I NEVER sat in doors.
I miss my carefee youth. Wish my son could have the same simple pleasures of open spaces and places to explore like I did.

Posted by: Maeve on June 27, 2005 09:05 PM

We had a cabin in the mountains, national forest - Totem Lodge. I'm gunna write about it sometime. Happiest days of my life - that's the closest I'll ever get to Heaven.

Posted by: Bonita on June 27, 2005 09:15 PM

i was an army brat. and the cool thing about that was that there were always skads of kids your age around. i played all day in the woods too.

i teach martial arts now, and i see parents bringing their kids in and enrolling them just to try and get their kids off of the couch and doing something physical. i feel so sorry for kids now.

Posted by: mlah on June 27, 2005 10:21 PM

Yep. Too much "compassion" and not enough "12-gauge".

Posted by: Cythen on June 27, 2005 11:40 PM

I was born on a farm in South Carolina. Grew up. Went to the city. Picked up and dropped a couple of fortunes here and there. In 1976, I won the highest award possible in my line of work. Seven years later I was bankrupt.

I now live on a farm in Ireland, and all in all, I'm happy as a clam. If you don't pay any attention to what side of the road Irishmen drive on, you would say it looks pretty much like it does on any farm in the US. Everybody's up at the crack of dawn just like here and the work is just as hard. The days just as long. There's nothing like it.

in mp3 format, here's one of my takes on the farm.


Posted by: James Hooker on June 28, 2005 12:15 AM

There are lots of woods located in odd spots in LA of all places and we used to play in them. Now days they're walled off or filled with homeless types.

Another thing we did that my mom didn't know about until last week (I'm 43) is either bicycle or skate down these very steep hills. We didn't need no stinkin' helmets or pads and we were haulin' ass. We never so much as skinned a knee.

I went to check out the hills and they don't seem so steep now, but when you're under five feet, everythings looks steep and tall.

And, no, no girl child living right now could ever have the freedom that I had and it's sad.

Posted by: Juliette on June 28, 2005 12:44 AM

I did the same in Western New York. Park, playground, woods, golf course and if you could scare up a dime, the local swimming pool. It was probably a two mile walk, but worth every step.

Posted by: StinKerr on June 28, 2005 12:56 AM

Where do we get this idea that "these days" things are so much worse? Violent crime rates peaked twenty-five years ago, for crying out loud.

Posted by: Brett on June 28, 2005 01:27 AM was the same for me as a boy. Cowboys and Indians, mini-bikes, catching snakes and salamaders and frogs in the creek and ponies all the time.
We didn't have video games, let alone a TV with more than 3 crappy West Virginia channels anyway.

Went to a horse auction this past weekend that was attended by primarily Amish (we were very much the minority) at a local country fairgrounds with a creek running through it. It was nostalgic to me to watch all those barefoot little Amish kids wading in the creek catchin' all kinda critters on a hot summer day. I imagine they're the only kids left that get to have that childhood we all seemed to have had (and loved).

Posted by: marcl on June 28, 2005 04:15 AM

I used to leave at 7am and not come back until dark....My friends and I didn't think anything of going ten miles away on our bikes and playing by the river, and neither did our, I can't let my 10 yo leave the back yard...same city, but a whole diffrerent, and dangerous, condition of living.

Posted by: delftsman3 on June 28, 2005 05:03 AM

We grew up in a small town and it was nothing to get up, have breakfast and be gone most of the day; only coming home to eat again. I remember one summer in particular. Someone had made a rope swing over the river and it was all we wanted to do. We'd hurry up and scarf down breakfast, then run to the river to see who got it first. I have since moved to NC and back to PA, but haven't lived in my hometown for more than 6 years. I went back in April for my father's funeral and just took it all in. I have since been reminiscing about the Good Ole Days!

Posted by: Stephanie on June 28, 2005 06:06 AM

It wasn't just the boys. I did my share of it.

I'm in a pretty safe area right now where they have a little room to roam. Not as much as I had...but enough and I'm ever so grateful for it. Truly.

Posted by: Kelly on June 28, 2005 07:27 AM

Yes, I ran free in the City of Detroit in the 50's. There were just as many perverts. Just not so much paranoia promoted by the Big Brother media.

Posted by: Ivan Ivanovich on June 28, 2005 08:31 AM

The world hasn't changed, only your awareness. In the days of our childhood there were just as many predators out there.

When discovered, they were hushed up, not reported. When they were reported, it stopped at the local paper. 24 news channels, the web, and crime-tracking databases has just made us more aware.

We were in just as much danger as our children. Our parents just didnt' know it.


Posted by: Lamont Cranston on June 28, 2005 12:36 PM

I spent my summers on a lake in Wisconsin. Among other things, you can get your boating license at 12, which on a lake is as good as a driver's license. Conveniently, pretty much all my friends lived on the lake.

See ya, Mom.

When we were a bit closer as hand, Mom had a big bell she rang to announce dinnertime to pretty much anybody in a half-mile radius. Even farther over the water....

Three words: Heaven on Earth.

Posted by: Strider on June 28, 2005 12:40 PM

One summer when we were twelvish, 2 buds and I camped by the river for about two weeks. Fished, swam, tubed, etc. Every other day or so, a parent would come out to see if we were still there.

Posted by: Larry on June 28, 2005 01:20 PM
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