Black and White…

You could hardly see for all the snow, spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.

‘Good night, David. Good night, Chet.’

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food poisoning. She used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can’t remember getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE… and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked’s (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can’t recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now. Flunking gym was not  an option… Even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.

We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses?   Ours wore a hat and everything.

I just can’t recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

We played ‘king of the hill’ on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn’t sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked. Now it’s a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $99 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn’t act up at the neighbor’s house either; because if we did we got our butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home.

We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn’t even notice that the entire country wasn’t taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive???


TBT… — 23 Comments

  1. Daisy pellet rifles (880s) were in my brothers and I daily adventures, stalking orange / grapefruit orchards hunting rabbits. A nearby drainage canal furnished bass, channel cat and bluegill fishing opportunities within a 5 minute distance to our house. Not a lot of competition.

    As we aged, neighborhood kids had tackle football in their / our yards. I once got close lined by a tree branch very neatly. I was really moving and avoiding a tackle, took it to the throat (no damage thankfully). Wasn’t even worth mentioning – just part of the fun.

    I learned to drive when I was 14, Mom’s Pontiac ’67 Tempest. Later, I once clocked 114 mph on a backroad – that was fun !!

    That world is long gone now.

  2. Your school nurse wore a hat? hopefully it wasn’t a local version of nurse ratched.


    • Our school nurse wore her hat atop her red hair that was worn Betty Page style … complete with bangs.
      Her uniform was possibly a size too small.
      White stockings with, yes, seams up the back.
      And decidedly NON-regulation shoes with rather high heels.
      And that explains a WHOLE lot about my later life.

  3. We played outside in the summer until the streetlights came on. When things were quiet, the local police officer would join in the football game. However, if he said ‘Go home, boys’ we went without question. We shared bottles of lemonade without wiping the neck, ate seaweed fresh from the beach. One playground was a disused sand quarry where we sledded down the sand heaps using fertilizer bags as the sleds. I wish my own children could have had such carefree times.

    Did I mention this was in Ulster in the 70s, the height of the Troubles?

  4. A better question than “How did we survive?” is “Why didn’t the next generation raise their kids the same way?”.

  5. My friend threw a rotten potato that we found in the alley over the fence into my neighbour’s pool. Man did I catch hell for that, and it wasn’t even me. Karma for laughing or something I guess.

  6. How did we survive? Quite well!
    I was on the end of that growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s. I saw the effects on my classmates as cable TV, and later the internet, became common.
    It was clear to me from early on that newer is just newer, often not better.
    To me, the best is what stands the test of time, but I’ve always thought I would have preferred to come of age in the 50’s.

  7. The neighborhood kids started shooting at each other with rubber band guns when we were pretty young – maybe even 5 or 6. When we got BB guns a bit later on, we learned real quick that we better not shoot those at each other (both from the pain of the shot but also the pain of the butt whipping our dads gave us!).
    We were free range kids all summer, just coming back to the house for food or at the end of the day. Sometimes we’d ride our bikes several miles away to play in some creek bottoms behind a junior high school.
    All that gave us the opportunity to be independent, free thinking and taught us a lot of common sense – quite a bit of those are lacking today from what I can see

  8. That was my life, except that I was dosed with iodine.

    Can you imagine the owner of a gravel pit allowing kids to play there these days? Never. But a gravel pit is a fun place to play. You can build forts and throw rocks at each other endlessly.

  9. No, I didn’t walk 5 miles to school uphill in a snowstorm.
    According to Google maps it was .6 of a mile, and yeah, it snowed once in a while. It was no big deal.
    Today my parents would be in jail, and I would be in a foster home.

  10. You forgot getting our mouth washed out with soap if we dared utter “swear” words.

  11. I was born in 1952. I inherited my father’s Daisy BB gun before I was strong enough to cock it, and in fact the stock was too long for me to actually put it up to my shoulder; I’d hold it under my arm, point and shoot. I got pretty good with it.

    I got my first rifle when I was nine. An Ithaca, model 49 single shot. It featured a lever action and open hammer design, so even if you were all ready to go and decided you didn’t want to shoot, all you had to do was open the action.

    I was a free range kid. I had a bicycle and a baseball glove, but being raised on a horse farm, I also had a horse and saddle. I was used to taking care of myself and a stable full of horses – by myself.

    Our families would help each other out. One morning a friend of mine showed up at the house early. He’d done himself a mischief and had a badly cut lip. Mom cleaned him up, patched him up, and he went about his business with thanks to Mom.

    One of the best days of my young life was the day I stopped and asked a neighbor if he needed any help with his leaves. I’d work hard, and he could pay me what he thought it was worth. I don’t know what he expected, but I was used to working outside with grown men, and I never once asked for help – and some of that was hard labor. My hands were calloused. So I worked all afternoon until it got to be dinner time, and the neighbor paid me a dollar. A whole dollar! That was big money back then, and I told I thought it was too much. He just smiled and sent me on my way. That was the first money I ever earned, and my folks complimented me on a good day’s work.

    We said the pledge of allegiance and the Lord’s prayer every morning in school.

    We got paddled in school if we cut up. Actually, students could get paddled for about anything. Our parents didn’t object.

    And that’s pretty much how it was.

  12. Royal- We did… in spite of them… LOL

    jrg- Sadly, yes. Kids today are so coddled it’s not funny.

    Grog- Ummmm…no comment?

    Bad- At least you had streetlights! We didn’t… And you made it through!!!

    ASM- I don’t have a good answer…

    Hereso- LOL, yep!

    Jonathan- Interesting perspective, thanks!

    Tom- Ah yes, free range kids! And yes, we ‘learned’ common sense. I think…

    LL- LOL, that…would get EVERYBODY arrested today!

    John- Oh yeah…

    Roger- Yech, yeah, I remember that, more than once.

  13. Kids today are still kids but face pressures we could only have imagined. I meet several walking the dog. They are uniformly polite and love petting him. The future they create will not resemble ours much, but I do believe decency will prevail.

    Remember the rumors about what happened in the next town over when we were in school? Today they see it live on their tablets. I suspect they are mentally tougher than we ever were. It is like most of them are combat veterans if I can draw that analogy.

  14. Good with the bad, good with the bad.
    My sister and I were the only kids on our dirt road in Georgia who didn’t have a two-parent family, until my mom remarried in 1958. I was in the fifth grade before I ever met another kid with a step parent.
    But my across-the-street neighbor Butch and I used to collect coke bottles the cars threw out, and cash them in at the store for two cents each. You could get AMAZING amounts of candy that way.
    It was much different for my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, growing up in rural North Carolina at the same time.
    Good with the bad, good with the bad.

  15. MJ- Yep, we knew what WORK was, even as kids.

    WSF- One can only hope…

    Free- Oh yeah, free form tackle football, with NO adult supervision! 😉

    Pat- Good point!

  16. ‘slightly’ later than the kid happenings – basic training – EVERYTHING done in combat boots and fatigues……………oh and AIT as well 🙂

  17. > Flunking gym was not an option…

    I did. Repeatedly. Until I got to a school where it wasn’t mandatory.

    Yes, I was I big kid. No, I didn’t want to play feetball. And their over-the-top, crossing-the-line-into-child-abuse insistence just made me dig in and refuse. Not just feetball, but *everything*. Whereupon they weaponized their “teams” to add a little pressure. And I took them on, too.

    To any of the “coaches” or paddle-wielding principals who haven’t shuffled off this mortal coil yet; “bite me.” And to the “teams”, any who aren’t in prison or meth’d out, the same to you.

    • I started to respond like you did, TRX, but didn’t, simply because I didn’t want to poop in the Wheaties of all the jocks. But, since you got the ball rolling…

      Rant mode = on

      Yeah, gym class or PE or whatever. I’m sure it was okay for most normal kids, but if at 14 you are a tall (6’2″) very skinny, very UN-athletic kid, gym is pure hell. I hated it with a purple passion. I was taller than most so everybody kept telling me: “You should play basketball”! But to do that, you have to be coordinated enough to run and dribble the ball at the same time. I hated basketball. Not only was I no good at it, but to this very day, I consider it one of the most boring sports there ever was – beaten only by soccer. (…the sport Europeans watch in order to wind down from an exiting day of watching paint dry.) But, then again, I don’t begrudge anyone their own personal preferences in entertainment. Just don’t make me pay for it in taxes to build useless stadiums.

      But, if dealing with the other kids weren’t bad enough, then there were the, supposedly adult “coaches”. Yeah, I’m sure some of you had coaches that were stand-up guys. Unfortunately, all of mine were assholes and meaner than snakes. “Over-the-top, crossing-the-line-into-child-abuse?” They all seemed to take perverse pleasure in making the “non-jock” kids life miserable, so yeah, there was a lot of that. Even today, over 50 years since my last gym class, anyone with the title of “coach” immediately drops in my estimation.

      Fun fact: Did you know that in the majority of the 50 states, the highest paid state employee – is a sportsball coach? That, all by itself, is a good indicator of why our country has fallen so far, so fast.

      Yeah, I have some stories about “youth sports”, but I have ranted enough already. So…

      rant mode = off

  18. Posts like that strengthen my resolve to resist where we’re headed. My generation was the weird in between of oldschool and new. Cell phones were uncommon or non existent, and the internet didn’t really exist until I was a teen.

    I have no interest in living in the world they’re pushing.

  19. My dad was born in 1929 and as many other Depression era youngsters he had to quit school and get a job to help support the family.
    My aunt, his younger sister by several years, started high school and after her this first day she was relating her experiences around the supper table.
    My dad, as the oldest, was and is very protective of his siblings and has a hot temper (everything you have heard about redheads is true)
    My aunt’s tale was going along well until she said that she had to strip for gym.
    Dad bristled and wanted to know who in the hell this Jim guy was.