Looking back, it's hard to
believe that we have lived as long as we have...
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.
My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it
raw sometimes too, but I can't remember getting E-coli.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets,
and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.
We played with toy guns, cowboys and Indians, army, cops and
robbers, and used our fingers to simulate guns when the toy ones or
my BB gun was not available.
Some students weren't as smart as others or didn't work hard so they
failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. That
generation produced some of the greatest risk-takers and problem
solvers. We had the freedom, failure, success and responsibility,
and we learned how to deal with it all.
Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead
of a pristine pool (talk about boring), the term cell phone would
have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school
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.
Every year, someone taught the whole school a lesson by running in
the halls with leather soles on linoleum tile and hitting the wet
spot. How much better off would we be today if we only knew we could
have sued the school system.
Speaking of school, we all said prayers and the pledge and stayed in
detention after school and caught all sorts of negative attention
for the next two weeks. We must have had horribly damaged psyches.
I can't understand it. Schools didn't offer 14 year olds an abortion
or condoms (we wouldn't have known what either was anyway) but they
did give us a couple of aspirin and cough syrup if we started
getting the sniffles. What an archaic health system we had then.
Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.
I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was
allowed to be proud of myself.
I just can't recall how bored we were without computers,
PlayStation, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital cable stations. I must
be repressing that memory as I try to rationalize through the denial
of the dangers could have befallen us as we trekked off each day
about a mile down the road to some guy's vacant lot, built forts out
of branches and pieces of plywood, made trails, and fought over who
got to be the Lone Ranger. What was that property owner thinking,
letting us play on that lot? He should have been locked up for not
putting up a fence around the property, complete with a self-closing
gate and an infrared intruder alarm.
Oh yeah . . . and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when
I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!
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 and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a
trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49
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 (physical abuse) . . . and then we got our
butt spanked again when we got home.
Mom invited the door to door salesman inside for coffee, kids choked
down the dust from the gravel driveway while playing with Tonka
trucks (remember why Tonka trucks were made tough . . . it wasn't so
that they could take the rough Berber in the family room), and Dad
drove a car with leaded gas.
Our music had to be left inside when we went out to play and I am
sure that I nearly exhausted my imagination a couple of times when
we went on two week vacations. I should probably sue the folks now
for the danger they put us in when we all slept in campgrounds in
the family tent.
Summers were spent behind the push lawnmower and I didn't even know
that mowers came with motors until I was 13 and we got one without
an automatic blade-stop or an auto-drive. How sick were my parents?
Of course my parents weren't the only psychos. I recall Donny
Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the
front stoop just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that
she could have owned our house. Instead she picked him up and
swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amok.
To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that
they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have
known that we needed to get into group therapy and anger management
classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that
we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!
“... do not
worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or
‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek.
For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But
seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these
things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day
is its own trouble."