I grew up in Louisiana and southwest Arkansas during the 50s and 60s, a time when everyone treated each other like family. Our neighbors parents disciplined us like their own. We didn’t eat fast food….We drank Kool-aid or Tang, ate bologna & cheese sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, and had fish on Friday and chicken on Sundays. Stores were not open on Sunday, so we went to church, had dinner at home, and visited family and grandparents or went for a ride in the afternoon. We went outside to play games like red rover, baseball in a field with the neighbors kids of all ethnicities, hide and seek, marbles in the dirt, jump rope, hopscotch, kickball , had water fights, played football or basketball for hours and raced against each other down the street on our bikes. There was no bottled water. We drank out of the green garden hose. No cable tv, we had three channels if we were lucky. No cell phones!

We watched cartoons on Saturday morning went outside and played until dark. We would ride our bikes without helmets for hours, all without a cell phone or electronic games. We went to library for books and were in the reading club during the summer.
We weren’t afraid of ANYTHING except our parents. You LEARNED from your parents and grandparents instead of disrespecting them and treating them as if they knew nothing. What they said might as well have been the gospel. If someone had a fight, that’s what it was…a fist fight and you were back to being friends. we all had BB guns and .22s but would never thought of taking a person’s life, much less their own. Squirrels and birds, and later deer were fair game though. And you’d better be close enough to home to hear your mom or dad yell for you to get home at night, or be at a neighbor’s house!

School was MANDATORY. We had God, The Pledge of Allegiance, and we placed our hand over our heart!!! We watched what we said around our elders because we knew If we DISRESPECTED any grown up we would get our behinds busted, it wasn’t called abuse, it was discipline! You didn’t hear curse words on the radio or TV, and IF you cursed you did it away from the public or you got your mouth washed out with soap. Please and Thank you were part of our daily dialogue!

And the other thing I remember is that very few kids or adults had allergies… Because we played outside, got dirty, and our parents didn’t care!

Truly a world of difference from the children of today. Sigh…


TBT… — 21 Comments

  1. I was born in 1963 so remember that world too. It is so different from what our lives are now, its a different planet.

    I remember when people asked if it were okay to commit an action, people would respond with “It’s a free country”. You don’t hear that said much any more.

  2. We were exposed to germs that haven’t even been discovered, but we survived without a Z-pack and twenty trips to the doctor each year for sinus problems. That, and we didn’t have two dozen varieties of fast food restaurants. Mom cooked, we ate what she cooked, and we cleaned up our plate….or else.

  3. B 1960. I hadn’t thought of the playing outside but it dovetails in to my thoughts on allergies. In the 60’s and 70’s, home air conditioning was a luxory. Now it’s standard. All of the “bad” pollen is kept away from us. Still, I have always had allergies that start in August and torment me until it frosts. We used to call it hayfever…although it had nothing to do with “hay”.

  4. Fireworks, cap guns and in my case cannon blasts got little reaction and no police presence. My kids would be hauled away for enjoying the fun I did back in the day. Property damage was kept to a minimum and expected to be repaid when occurred.

  5. I do miss those days. Born in 44, grew up with kids whose dads were WWII vets from all services. Many great stories, few problems with my friends dad and booze, but he loved his family. The ONLY reason I wouldn’t go back now is, I need today’s medical achievements. Plus I’m too damn old to do the things I used to do… but I can still skinny dip.

  6. 1950 model here. In addition to things already mentioned, I was a free range kid within some limitations. Any chores that needed doing were done first, then I had an area where I could wander at will. I could leave that area if I notified a parent first. Permission would then be given or denied, though the latter was not without good reason. Dinner was served at 6 and I had better be there or there were consequences. My kids had similar rules and they turned out fine as well.

  7. Rode bikes without helmets, fell out of trees, swam in any lake, stream or pond we came across, caught snakes and frogs by the dozens. Camped out in old WWII pup tents and cooked beans on a open fire. Played baseball every day during the summer it didn’t rain, played tackle football without pads or helmets every day after school.

    I hope heaven will that much fun.

  8. Lots of the same memories, just throw in, learning to ride on grandpa’s pack mules & dad’s horses, pigs caught in the 4-H pig scramble, raising bummer lambs from the local sheepman, and taming wild ass steers to show.

  9. I remember — then my parents moved to England in ’72 and that seemed even more basic but not bad for all that. Totally different today.

    Took my two boys fishing the other year and sandbass were blitzing into the shoreline, caught a lot of fish, big excitement. But above us, on top of a small cliff/bluff overlooking the lake were 4 teens. They were catching fish electronically on their cell phones while looking at the water we were fishing.

    We had to laugh!

  10. lol I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit about those times too lately

  11. Taught to drive a jeep at 10, chores, walking down Main with a .22 and walking back with a couple of jack rabbits and offers from neighbors to clean them for one of them, never heard of a fishing or hunting license, party lines,Dr. house calls,the milk/ice/bread man…sigh.

  12. 1970s edition, free-ranged in Nebraska, parents would phone around to see where the pack had last been spotted and the closest neighbor/parent would holler at us to get home when we were wanted or needed. My first grade used McGuffy’s readers, then switched to more modern stuff after that. School was not optional, obeying adults was not optional, and everyone was in scouts or church groups or crossing guard or flag duty or some other organization to keep our mischief contained.

  13. 1951 here. Yes, I have plant pollen allergies, didn’t stop me from playing outside, or riding my bike all over town. Would also note that neighbors would discipline us if we got out of line. Corporal punishment was reserved for parents, but the ultimate threat was for a friend or neighbor to say “Do you want me to tell your parents?”

  14. All- Thanks for the comments, and I’m glad I’m not the only one that grew up that way…

    Posted from my iPhone.

  15. All of the above posts truly reflect what life was like growing up. Family was so important in teaching us how to live and treat others. None of that happens today.

  16. Born in the mid 50’s. Everything you wrote brought back a specific personal memory. I’ll just add that I started working after school at age 12, first cleaning pots (livestock trailers) with a scoop shovel and a water hose and then working for a veterinarian (cleaning large animal pens and small animal cages). Let’s just say that animal feces was my specialty.

  17. Gotcha beat! We had 4 channels: ABC, NBC, CBS, and DuMont. Watched Bishop Fulton J. Sheen on DuMont, and we weren’t Catholic.

  18. 55 model and still drive my 55 truck (4000m last year) and look with wonder when a young person gets in looking for the radio, a/c, and other modern conviences. I still get a laugh at the comments on how hard it is to drive, doesn’t seem so hard for me but neither does working and it sure seems hard for the younger generation. Just my observation.