On a list I'm on, people were reminiscing about their childhoods and how kids could use their imaginations more because they played outside--no one organized them. Things have truly changed and I think it's too bad--and the main reason is because it's too dangerous.
Back in my younger days, I have a feeling there were just as many bad people around, we just didn't hear about them so much.
I had lots of freedom. Mom really didn't seem to care where I went as long as I was home by 5 for dinner. Also, if we heard my dad whistle, and he could whistle really loud, we better hustle on home. I did not grow up in the country, our home was in Los Angeles. We had hills behind our house where the Glendale Freeway is today. We usually didn't hike in the hills unless we had a grown-up with us because hobos lived in the hills. And yes, they really did, we often saw their encampments though never them.
We did a lot of roller skating down the sidewalks, we lived on a hilly street and usually stopped by crashing into someone's garage door. We also rode our bikes everywhere. I often rode off alone in the summer with my writing gear in my basket and a book to read, and parked myself several blocks away under a lovely willow tree on someone's front lawn. (No, I didn't know the people.) I would write and read and enjoy myself and no one ever told me to move along.
I can just imagine the people of the house saying, "There's that strange little girl again."
Though I spent a lot of time with my friends doing all sorts of things like digging tunnels in the vacant lot (to escape from the enemy--I grew up during WWII) and cococting poisons, putting on plays with the neighborhood kids, I also wandered around a lot by myself. Sometimes I even managed to get lost.
When my cousin and I were 10 our mothers let us go downtown (downtown L.A.) on the streetcar by ourselves. (What we didn't know is they followed us on the very next street car.) We had strict orders to stay in the block between 5th and 6th and to only go in those stores. Because we did as we were told, we were allowed to go downtown by ourselves whenever we wanted after that. Back in those days you could buy a lot at the dime store with one dollar.
Visits to the library were a weekly event. Mom had to drive us there. I always got 10 books and read them all before the week was up.
When I was a bit older mom subscribed to a book club and she told me I couldn't read the books--but I did after she finished them. (I'm sure she knew.)
My growing up years were filled with freedom and I truly know how blessed I was.
Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith