Quite often, young people seem to have a hard time believing that any of us in the over-the-hill gang were ever young or ever led very active lives. When questioned, they sometimes admit that their parents don’t talk about their youth and what they did for entertainment, thus leading the youngsters to believe that they might have led quiet, sedentary lives.
Recently, a young man expressed some surprise that this woman from Ima had ever been involved in drag racing or even knew what it was. I guess he thought I just began life as an elderly person and missed the joys of growing up. Well, we might have entertained ourselves a little differently than do today’s youth, but we had a great time and were sometimes a little out of line in the mischief department.
As I look around, I realize that we lived more active lives and spent as much time as possible outdoors. Whether we were climbing trees, playing sandlot baseball, or racing each other on our bikes, we were anything but hot house plants. We were even more active when we lived in the country because we had our chores to do and the whole out of doors in which to play. We usually ignored some rules and rode the milk pen calves until we were caught and given more chores. We didn’t always have time to go to the far end of the pasture just to check on the fence and would sometimes file a few false reports until we were caught at that and had to change our habits.
About the only quiet times we had were those during which we would be reading a good book and would try to stay out of shouting distance until we finished the chapter we were working on. If we read in the house, we usually did that at night when the rest of the family was similarly occupied. Many of us did not have cars until we were grown and could pay for them ourselves, but we used our parents’ vehicles on occasion and learned the rules of drag racing and playing “ditch ’em.” If caught at any such activities, we didn’t have to worry about driving again for a while, but we had fun nonetheless.
We really didn’t mind walking all over town because we were used to it and were living during a relatively safe time. We often walked to and from the games and other night time activities and didn’t realize we were disadvantaged by today’s standards. Of course, we often walked in groups as we met other friends along the way. We certainly thought nothing of walking to and from school even during the lunch hour and were rarely late because we had our timing down pat whether or not we had watches.
Many of us were anything but model children, but we learned just how far we could go without getting into too much trouble. We certainly had a modicum of respect for our parents’ rules even when we would break a few now and then. We might not have had computers or television to take up our time, but we had plenty of activities to keep us entertained and to allow us to get rid of some of the mischief we felt as we were growing. We also had parents who talked to us about their youthful activities and who were understanding about some of our minor transgressions. Yes, we were an active lot and even kept ourselves guessing as to what we might do next. What fun we had!