A Good Time to Grow Up

Betty Cooper and Harold Dale, both graduates of Livingston Academy, back in their courting days.


A good friend of mine shared the following with me that someone else had sent to her via the internet, and I believe it is interesting enough to use as an entry in my journal this week. Iíve made some minor changes and/or additions of my own. It goes like this:

"According to those officials today who are perceived as being overly concerned with procedural correctness, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, and 60's probably shouldnít have survived. Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids or locks on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets. When we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks some of us took hitchhiking. Roller skating on the side walks all over town was something else we did, without the use of knee pads, elbow pads, and again, no helmets.

As children, we would ride in cars that were not equipped with seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with real sugar in it, but we were rarely overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one soft drink with sometimes as many as four of our friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this. We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps, and then rode down a hill only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned how to solve that problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back home when the street lights came on, or if you lived out in the country, you knew to be back home before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones! Unthinkable!

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no cable TV, video tape movies, surround sound, personal computers, or internet chat rooms. Even a black and white television set was something very rare in our homes. We went to the library to check out books, not to use their computers. Comic books were a very big thing then too. Most boys carried pocket knifes without giving a thought to this being considered as having a weapon or even dangerous for that matter.

And another thing we had was friends. Together, we played dodge ball, and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut, had broken teeth or sometimes a broken bone, but there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were just that ... accidents. No one was to blame but us.

There was no such thing as shirking responsibilities at home. We knew what was expected of us and we did just that, or suffered the consequences.

We had fights and punched each other, and got black and blue, and learned to get over it. We made up games with sticks and balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out any eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friendís home and knocked on the door when we got there. Those who tried out for ball teams sometimes didnít make the first team, but each one learned to live with the disappointment.

Some students werenít as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Tests were not adjusted for any reason.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of parents bailing us out if we got in trouble in school or broke a law were unheard of. Parents actually sided most of the time with the school or law enforcement officials. Imagine that!

Those who grew up during this period of time had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility and we learned how to deal with it. If youíre one of that number, congratulations! Please pass this on to others who might like to know how life was during a time most consider the best of times to grow up in."


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