Saturday, December 07, 2019

In My Day We Used To…

I am old enough now to officially say; “In my day we used to…”

When I was young we used to be outside from sunrise to after sunset playing.

In the summer we used to go into the woods behind our houses and make tree forts or we would ride our bikes all over town. At the local ice cream shop (that made fresh ice cream from their own cows) besides ice cream they had great burgers (also from their own cows), during the day you would find 10 or 15 bikes out in front or we would walk through the woods to it.

There was a brook through the woods that was dammed up where we could go swimming but you had to watch out the snapping turtles and pick the leeches off afterwards.

Some friends used to play in the Little League and they had games only on Saturday, there were no bleachers or lights; some little brother or sister was in charge putting the score up on a green sheet of plywood. If you wanted something to eat or drink you brought it in a cooler.

But most of the time they played in “pick-up” games in someones back yard.

In the winter we used to go sledding down through the backyards or down to the local pond to go ice skating.

My parents house was on the bottom of the hill and the hill was about 150 feet high over the length of four house lots and we sled down the backyards from morning and in to the night (everyone would turn on their backyard spotlights) or slide down the really big hill one street over on the road on the road itself. But the backyards were best because we could build jumps for the sleds.

If you wanted to see if the ice was safe enough you went out to the middle of the pond and we all jumped up and down and if we didn’t fall though it was safe enough and we went home and got your skates (if it wasn’t we went home soaking wet and our clothes started to freeze on us).

We used to walk a block to the elementary school in the street because there are no sidewalks. In high school we had to walk up the hill to wait for the school bus and if it was snowing or raining the family at the bus stop used to let us wait under their garage door overhang out of the weather.


You never see any children outside playing.

There are Little League games every night of the week in the summer. There are bleachers and lights along with a concession stand and there is a big shiny green electronic scoreboard.

The local dairy farm has been sold and there are a hundred homes their now. There is a Dairy Queen in town with a drive though and not one bike can be found out in front during the summer.

At the school bus stop there are SUVs waiting for the bus and at the elementary school there is a line of SUVs waiting to drop off their children instead of them walking a couple of blocks. Or if they take the bus it stops in front of their house.

Many of the houses now have stockade fences around their backyards making them look like they are Fort Apache and no one sleds there anymore. You have to go to a park now to sled.

The pond almost never freezes over enough for skating and when it does you have to wait for the town to put up a sign saying it is safe.

In all fairness I have to admit that my house is where one of the old dairy farms used to be, about a mile from where my parents used to live.

What got me thinking about outdoor activity was this article,
Why Kids Playing Outside Is Beneficial, According To Experts
By Ellen Schmidt
November 30, 2019

Ah, the great outdoors. While science has long known the positive benefits of adults communing with nature, research shows that children playing outdoors is beneficial to them as well. Experts have found that from improving eye sight and reducing stress, to supporting creativity and problem-solving, the positives of outdoor play cannot be underscored.

In an interview with Romper, Angela Hanscom, pediatric occupational therapist and founder of Timbernook, says, "We are learning there are endless benefits to playing outdoors. One of the greatest is the sensory benefits when children spend time outdoors from a very early age. When you step outdoors, multiple senses are engaged. More synapses are firing in the brain. The child's chances for sensory integration (organization of the senses) are higher when in nature. This organization of the brain lays the foundation for learning later in life. The first seven years are critical for neuro-development. Therefore, getting little ones outdoors from infancy on should be a top priority for families."
So as the school holidays ramp up and you find your children exceedingly loud, send them outside. Their sweet imaginations will come up with some incredible stories, and it'll be great for their development. (And your sanity.)
How many children over the holiday recess will be staying indoor on their new video games?

My other pet peeve is organized sports.

There are many benefits from organized sports but there are also drawback. Some of the warning signs according to Psychology Today.

  • Psychological Risks of Youth Sports
  • Self-esteem is tied to sports performance…
  • Coaches who demoralize and bully…
  • Delusions that sport will provide college scholarships…
  • Strained relationships with over-invested parents…
  • Unhealthy performance pressure…
  • Inappropriate feelings of superiority…

And I would add from the Romper article, the lack of creativity. 


  1. I have these same observations and thoughts all the time. I know there are a lot of kids living in our neighborhood, but we never see them. When I grew up here there were "herds" of us running around all over the place.

  2. They most likely like their parents are glued to their phones playing nothing and talking about nothing like their parents and the rest of amerikkka. No wonder brains are dulling and our politicks stink. Every need a big breath of fresh air outside.