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Childhood memories

by Lee Naylor 2 years ago in humanity
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Growing up before the world fell apart.

Growing up in the 70's was fantastic. The early years, I of course don't have very many memories but there are a few. My family lived with my Grandma in Sugar house, Utah. We lived on a tree lined street in a single family home. There were two bedrooms upstairs however one was being used as a den. The basement is where our family lived. My parents had the family room, and my older brother slept on cushions on the floor. I slept with my Grandma in her Room upstairs.

Just off of her room was a small room, this was her sewing room and I loved this room. It was stocked with piles upon piles of fabric, any color you could need. She made clothes, quilts, and various other things. My favorite thing to play in, was the button tin. She had spare buttons that she had probably been collecting her entire life. There were cool shaped buttons, plain buttons, small buttons, big buttons. I loved finding her buttons for her projects and trying to guess what they had been on originally.

During the day, my brother and I would spread the cushions around the floor and jump from cushion to cushion, pretending they were islands in boiling lava. We would sit in the laundry basket and my brother would push me down the stairs. Fun, yet bumpy. These days probably a safety hazard. They didn't have a dryer to dry the clothes, once they were washed they went outside to the laundry line. My grandma had one that was like a square on a pole, you would hang clothes on one side and then spin it and the next side would get filled over and over. You didn't have to move. My job was to hold the clothespins, and then once my mom had the clothes hung she would put me in the laundry basket and carry me inside.

My grandma grew Rhubarb out back and strawberries as well. They never got very big but they were still fun to pick and you could eat them right off the plant, warm from the sun. The rhubarb was cut and put into Strawberry Rhubarb pie, sweet and sour, delicious. My grandma made the best pie crust I have ever tasted. My favorite pies however were the cherry. Sweet juicy cherries, with the thick pie crust, just a hint of salt in it's brown flaky layers. Summer seemed to last forever when you are young. The neighborhood smelled of flowers all summer long and the trees touched over the street, sending shade down the paved road.

We attended church on Sundays and on the fourth of July the whole family got together, usually at the closest park, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, everyone gathered together eating, balls being tossed around, Frisbee's thrown. Watermelon juice dripping down our chins as we bit into the sweet fruit. When night came, and the moon was shining bright, stars scattered across the sky, the fireworks would begin. Shot high into the sky announcing the celebration of Independence day. Back then there were no bands playing, no rides, or glow sticks, just family, the stars, and oohs and aaahs of the children and adults alike.

My brother went to school, I wasn't old enough yet and back then we didn't have pre school. My mom and I would walk to his school and pick him up in the afternoon, the crunchy leaves underfoot, scattered across the sidewalks and streets. The smell of Halloween approaching and the lazy days of summer behind us.

When I was five years old we moved into a duplex not far from my Grandmas house. I had my own bed for the first time, and although at that time I shared a room with my older brother, we loved the new house, the new neighborhood, there were kids everywhere on our block. This is where we lived when I started school.

Kindergarten for me was amazing. My teacher's name was Ms. McIntosh. She was like a friendly Grandma. We learned letters and numbers and how to spell our names. We had reading time and nap time, but my favorite was play time. Not recess, but play time. In our class we had the cutest wood kitchen. It had a little sink, cupboards, and wood food painted to look real. We were treated like children, given juice or milk in little cartons and graham crackers or cookies, and our Moms or Dads picked us up in the afternoon, we didn't have to know everything before starting school like now, we just had to show up and have fun.

Holidays at school were the best, we got to do art work that went with the holiday theme, Black cats and scarecrows for Halloween, and pumpkins made of plates and yarn. If Halloween was during the week, we got to dress up in our costumes, plastic costumes that went over our clothes, and masks that were also a thin plastic and had an elastic that went around your head to hold it on. Some of the kids had home made costumes, I was a clown one year and a witch another year, but when times were tough my mom would dress me as a gypsy. We had a parade at school and walked around the playground. Our parents would line up and take picture of us and we would get treats in class that our parents made, such as cupcakes, and home made sugar cookies. We played games and watched spooky movies.

In the 70's we didn't have video games to occupy our time. We changed into play clothes after school and hit the neighborhood with friends. Riding bikes, playing dolls, board games, and barbies. No barbie dream houses, only the doll houses that some of my friends had, that their Dad's made them. We headed home when the street lights came on, took baths and got tucked into nice clean sheets to sleep and dream of what wonderful things would happen tomorrow. There were no worries, it wasn't scary to walk down the street alone, traffic went slow and life followed along.

We didn't have cell phones, we rarely used the one attached to the wall. We awoke full of hope, learning to get along as we played all over the neighborhood. We didn't sit at the t.v. unless it was Saturday morning cartoons, the occasional sitcom after school while having a snack, but otherwise we were outside swinging on the swing so high the poles would lift out of the ground. Riding our bikes from the top of the hill hands high in the air, hair flying out behind us. We had clubhouses and climbed in trees. Holidays were celebrated, we delivered Christmas presents in snow up to our knees, the crisp air freezing your lungs. We delivered valentines and cookies to each others houses for Valentines, and had birthday slumber parties where we did scavenger hunts, or went rollerskating.

As I've grown and had children of my own, it seems they missed out on so much. School is more work than learning fun, holidays are offensive, and they have such hectic schedules and after school activities they barely have time to spend with children. Parents don't stay together and the ones that do, still don't get to be home with their kids, they are both at work and still trying to make ends meet.

Video games have taken over the bike rides and war in the streets. Cell phones and t.v. are brainwashing the masses and they haven't even had time to grow. Parents no longer can let them stay out alone, always afraid they'll get stolen. Always on guard for gangs, kidnappers, pedophiles. I'm so glad to have grown up in the 70's. It was blissful, peaceful and happy. The days were longer, the time went slower. The air was cleaner and everyone cared about each other. Grateful that I grew up when I did. Back in the day before the world fell apart.


About the author

Lee Naylor

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