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by Kenzie
Rated: ASR · Non-fiction · Experience · #1181353
I know people get tired of hearing about the 50’s and 60’s, but may be things to learn.
Those Really Were the Days
By Marilyn Mackenzie

I was born in 1952. I know young people today get tired of hearing what great times we had in the 50’s and 60’s, but there is much truth to our stories.

In my childhood days, there were few fat kids. In fact, I only knew one really fat kid, and I ended up marrying him. He got fat as a baby, when his mother forced way too much baby food down his throat. She continued forcing him to eat more than he should have at each family meal. “Eat the rest of this; I don’t want to have to throw it away.” She hated saving leftovers.

My friends and I were pretty healthy kids, and I think we were typical. In my own backyard there were two kinds of cherry trees – sweet and tart - plus a peach tree. Around the neighborhood there were grape vines, raspberry vines, crab apple trees and pear trees. If we were hungry, we stopped at one of these natural fruit stands for sustenance. In the afternoons, my next door neighbor invited us to meet her at the fence where she gave me and each of my friends a freshly picked tomato and a salt shaker. There was no better treat than a fresh tomato.

At dinner time, our mothers knew that having a “colorful plate” would mean that we had a variety of foods and a variety of nutrients. We also had to drink milk with our meals. On most days, we didn’t argue with our parents about cleaning our plates. Our outdoor play made us hungry.

We had salty snacks available to us, of course. They were not considered a daily food, but a treat. I remember when Frito’s Corn Chips were being pushed as a new treat. My mother purchased them about once a month, and we thoroughly enjoyed them with homemade onion dip. Yumm.

In the summer, we were allowed only one glass of Kool-aid. I imagine that it didn’t take long for our parents to figure out that too much of that sweet treat caused us to have a sugar high. After dinner, we were rewarded with a half of a Popsicle.

In the afternoons, we wouldn’t be caught dead in front of the television. The only shows were soap operas, which our mothers and grandmothers called their “stories.” We kids could not imagine why they watched such boring shows. When they were fixing dinner, there were some kid’s shows on, but if the weather was nice we chose being outdoors to being stuck inside.

Our outside adventures usually included lots of physical activities. We roller skated, rode our bikes, climbed trees, and played kick-ball and four-square. Sometimes we played softball or whiffle-ball. Sometimes we jumped rope. We competed in hula-hoop contests. If we were tired, we just played jacks for a while.

When we weren’t in school, we missed being there, so we did play school. We also played detective, since we all enjoyed Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. We read a lot, and often copied the innocent activities in the kids’ books that we enjoyed. One year, my friends and I started a neighborhood newspaper after we read about kids who did that very thing. Our newspapers were hand printed and copied, so we really did not want to sell hundreds; we were pleased to sell them to our friends and parents.

We walked through the woods (where we found wild onions growing). In one of our favorite “forests” there were huge vines hanging from the trees where we could swing out over a fairly decent hill and drop and roll to the bottom. I’m sure our parents would have been horrified to know how “dangerous” those adventures were.

In today’s world, it isn’t safe to let kids roam the streets, let alone wander in the woods unsupervised. Unless they’re on a farm, most kids won’t ever see fruit trees and vines. Even riding a bike or skating has to be done in view of the house, so it doesn’t provide much exercise.

And those salty treats? They’re something that most kids eat on a daily basis.

Our children and grandchildren sit in front of TV’s and computer screens for hours and hours each day. They get little exercise. They eat meals that are quick and full of preservatives, rather than just natural nutrients. Is it any wonder that they – and we – have weight problems now?

Those new game systems just released are not really bad. What is bad is that adults and kids play them for hours and hours.

The game graphics are so good, that the figures appear to be real. That is not bad in itself; what is bad is that the most sought after games are those inflicting wounds and spilling blood.

So much has changed in the 54 years I’ve been on this earth. What is sad to me is that rather than learning to incorporate technology into our lives, we have chosen to allow technology to rule our lives.

I wish kids could experience life as it used to be. Sadly, time and technology goes forward. We cannot go backwards in time. Oh that we would learn to go forward in a different way so that our children and grandchildren can one day look back and think, “Those really were the days.”

© Copyright 2006 Kenzie (kenzie at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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