Kids; Now and Then

Do you remember doing things like this, or being a part of same, when you were growing up?

mike : whassup?
navvet1955: just finished dinner…how’s by you?
mike : doing good, making some home-made ice cream at the moment…
navvet1955: ahhhhh the good stuff!!
navvet1955: haven’t had any of that in years…dad used to have an ice cream maker
mike : yeppers…tonight’s recipe is strawberry-banana….
navvet1955: I like fresh strawberry ice-cream…and colonial ice cream used to have one called “Strawberry Cheesecake” that was outstanding!
navvet1955: but the fake/processed stuff makes me ill
mike : yeah, I remember that one….first time with this recipe, but strawberries and bananas complement each other, so should be good…
navvet1955: add a little rum to the mix and see what happens*grin*
mike : 1 qt. heavy cream, six bananas and a pint of strawberries, processed, three eggs, some vanilla extract, some lemon juice, 2 cups sugar, the rum, and four cups milk….in the machine as we speak….
navvet1955: mmmmMMMMMmmmm
mike : it should be fabulous, if the unfrozen mix was any indication
navvet1955: well there ya go! Someday will have to try and do the same kind of thing here too.
mike : of course, we’re using a modern ELECTRIC ice cream maker….the old fashioned way would have been out on the patio, a line of strong guys taking turns on the crank, and a line of kids to sit on the bucket until they got frostbite on their butts…
navvet1955: there is that…and a beer or four to help the fella’s doing the cranking keep their strength up*grin*
mike : that as well, although I am at least having the beer LOL
navvet1955: it’s the thought that counts!
mike : and the whole reason for the kids sitting on the bucket was….well, it made their butts cold, and gave them something to do LOL
navvet1955: yeppers, and they were “helping” so it made the ice cream taste all that much better…plus the older kids were wanting to have the privilege of “turning the crank” so they could be considered “closer to adulthood”…a minor but important rite of passage.
mike : ok, just added more rock salt and ice….should be about half-way thru the “crank” phase, then more ice and rock salt for the firming stage
navvet1955: like sitting at the adult table during thanksgiving dinner…and getting to help set off the fire works on the fourth of July.
mike : indeed it was Guy,…

The above conversation, between Mike (the old host of DGCI, now Head man in charge of the CIA…Cigar Intelligence Agency …check it out*grin*) got me to thinking about what it was like when we were kids…and some of the memories my folks shared with us about their youth as well. ‘Course some things are different now…at least in this (blue) state.
Fireworks are far too dangerous for mere mortals to buy and use….so the state must, once again, protect us. Rites of passage are becoming fewer and fewer as the years go by. Your kid wants something, be it sitting at the “adult table” or even a new (or heaven forbid a used) car, as soon as he or she gets their drivers license….well, you have to take out another loan against the house, or make room for one more body at the table (usually mom saying “That’s alright, honey, you can sit here, I’ll eat later”….or in the kitchen), we wouldn’t want to damage their self esteem. Or even, watch what you want on tv (or better yet, go watch it in your room on YOUR set).
We, and our kids especially, have it easier then ever before, and yet… they?
Used to be if you got in trouble at school, if the teacher didn’t *whack ya* the Principal did, followed by one or both of your parents once you arrived home. (And they would already know, cause the school called)…If you lived in a larger city or major metro area, and the “cop on the beat” (remember those?) saw you and your buddies hanging around on a corner…he might rap ya with the nightstick and send you on your way, and that had better be home, cause he was going to be checking up on you later…If you were caught with booze (and that meant beer on up to what ever you got your hands on), and or were found to be a tad intoxicated, the same cop escorted you home (and in the more rural/suburban areas…drove you there) and dropped you off in your parents lap…knowing you would be *attended to*…The same thing applied to curfew laws (remember those?).

And if you screwed up at home, well, the results of your “youthful indiscretions”, were dealt with quickly and with little doubt left in your mind that you had indeed, screwed up. Those of us with half a brain, rarely if ever repeated the same offence twice. There was no trying by parents to get “in touch with” their kids feelings. Or any major concerns about self esteem, or any other nonsense being peddled these days. They were the law, their word was final, and any disrespect or major infractions got them “in touch with” your butt…where most adults figured your feelings were located anyhow, and would gain the most impact.
Not that kids didn’t have fun, or had the chance to blow off steam…they did…and knew what was allowed for, and if wanting to raise a little hell, knew what the consequence of their actions would be, if caught…We played kick the can on late summer evenings. Chased fireflies, rode our bikes for miles, fished in the creek or local pond, had a paper route, collected and returned soda bottles for the refund, built model airplanes/boats/cars, shot off bottle rockets, played baseball-basketball-tossed the football in the back yard, built telescopes, read comic books.
And when older,(generally into your teens) snuck peeks at the old man’s girly mags, cut the grass, raked the leaves, pruned the trees, snuck a beer, learned to drive, went on dates, got summer jobs (and usually had a job or two during the school year too), went out for sports/marching band/drama club/science club/, went to the prom, homecoming, …graduated. Fell in (and out of) love, got a *real* job, got another *real* job, perhaps joined the service (or were drafted, got married. Granted, this is but a thumbnail sketch…with many things missing…but from about 8 years to 25 years of age, chances are you experienced at least some of this. Although you were legally classified as an adult at the ripe old age of 21, you really didn’t cross that final hurdle to *full adulthood* until you tied the knot and, most likely 9 months later, became parents. (Though wartime service usually brought you into the fold at a somewhat earlier age–least it used to be that way.)
We weren’t any smarter, and neither was our parent’s generation. We didn’t have an easier time of it…nor did we feel any less the pressures of raging hormones and wanting to be accepted by our peers. There certainly wasn’t any greater understanding between parent and child (Other than the rules were much more straight forward and clearer. And parents had a freer hand in the manner in which they were able to raise their kids.) Our parents and their parents before them, upon welcoming home “the new arrival” did not get a manual on “The proper care and feeding of carpet crawlers” © They did the best they could with what they had.
Kids don’t have the chance of being kids anymore. Now, if kids show any sort of spirit at all while in school, they run the risk of being diagnosed with “ADD”. If they break any of the rules at said school, the very least they can expect, in these days of “zero tolerance”, is a suspension. Often times the law is called in and charges are filed. (This was going on 10-15 years ago, when I was recruiting for the Navy. We had kids coming in that had arrest records for stuff we were either taken home for, or given holy hell over…but not arrested.) The sociologists, the nanny state, the schools, and the parents, all share part of the blame for the way things are today. No one wants to take responsibility for there actions, so how on earth are the kids supposed to figure this one out? More and more, kids are being treated, as little adults…partially because they physically appear to be maturing at an earlier rate. And yet emotionally, they are not even close to being ready for adult responsibilities. (how can they be…see previous statement about responsibility). Yet we wonder how tragedies like Columbine happen, how respect toward adults (in general) seems to be non-existent, why wanting to serve your country, in the armed services, is on the decline, (compared to what it was like only a couple of generations ago) when the nation is in need, why they expect the government to take care of their needs and wants (especially after they have left the nest and mommy and daddy are no longer doing that).
But not all kids are this way…..and I believe, with few exceptions, most kids would welcome, (though they wouldn’t be caught dead saying so) the same standards, conditions, rules, and guidelines, which were still in place only 50-70 years ago. (depending on where you lived…even then some areas were starting to see the forerunners of today’s sad state of affairs) Don’t we owe our kids, and future generations the chance to be a kid again? Shouldn’t they have the same opportunity to be able to grow up having the tools on board to become fully functional members of an adult society, just like most of us did?
Is there more then a kernel of truth here…or am I dangerously close to becoming one of those fellas who yells at the kids as they go by on their bikes “Keep off my lawn damn it!!” What do you think? What do you remember about growing up (especially those of you who did so in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s)



Filed under Harbor Life

2 responses to “Kids; Now and Then

  1. Stephen J.

    I feel as though my generation to a degree was the last one to experience those neighborhood games of baseball, basketball, kick the can, tag, etc. Looking on my little 13 year old brother and his lack of enthusiasm (as well as his friends) for the joys of playing outdoors, it saddens me. Kids are too easily occupied with video games and computers.
    I would say the one way that parents can help to instill the childhood back into childhood is to show your kids how to play the games you played as kids, and try to find other parents who have the same kids with “nothing to do”

  2. There is some truth to what you are saying….but I don’t recall my parents showing me how to play it (kick the can). I *do* remember mom kicking all of us out of the house, unless it was a rainy day. The only restrictions we had; Be back for lunch and dinner (We had a bell on the side of the house next to the back door…if we heard it ringing, we knew to come home ASAP. If we were going to be beyond the range of the bell, we had to let mom know where we were going, and aprox how long we would be gone. By the time we were in our mid to late teens, Dinner was the only thing we had to show up for, barring work keeping us from home, or the phone call saying we were eating with friends.
    Now, mom and dad did tell us stories about when they were kids, and the things they did to have fun, so “traditional game information” was past down to us that way. But that was the extent of it. The parents also had much more control over the TV and the amount of time the kids spent in fromt of same. This would probably be applicable to the video/computer game useage of today….so in that regard you would be right on the mark. I will be watching with interest, how the generation, 15-20 years from now, spends their free time.

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