Life used to seem simple....
Maybe That's Why I Was So Skinny!
I remember the roar of my Big Wheel! I was the fastest chick on the block. The power I felt beneath my feet and my sometimes, numb and aching butt! I was so cool. I thought at least! My parents would open the back door after 8:00 in the morning, say goodbye to us and say see you at dinner. They knew we would come home if one of the neighbors didn't feed us and they never once checked to see where we were during the day. That's because all of the kids in the neighborhood played outside all day. We rode our Big Wheels, strutted on stilts, jumped on pogo sticks, pulled our Radio Flyer red wagons around filling them with treasures we found in the neighborhood, or used our wagons to peddle our wares to adults and kids that might be interested in parting with a dime or a quarter for some used perfume, a well-loved toy or a neat rock that we found behind the garage.
As I grew up, my choice of wheels became my Schwinn bike; no power anything mind you, and I would ride that flashy baby around the 3 mile radius I called home. I wore stretchy, knit tops and short shorts and styled my hair like Farrah Fawcett. I rode helmet-less as the traffic hadn't risen to what it is today and the busiest streets in my neighborhood held around 30 cars on a good day. I was always moving. Always exploring. Fit and trim. That was the 70's for you. Neighborhoods could still be considered somewhat safe and not a potential resting post for a pediphile sitting in their vehicle. Drugs weren't sold openly on the streets and the biggest crime I remember hearing about was the neighbor boy who shop lifted an item from the store but later returned it when the police showed up at his door. He wasn't arrested, only admonished and his biggest fear came in anticipating the beating he would get at home later that night. We ran the streets until dark and sometimes, even played in the dark. I slept the minute my head hit the pillow and didn't feel every ache and pain like I do now. I secretly wish that during low points in my life, I could have returned to this period of time in my life where life in itself, had no responsibility, decisions beyond whose house I would play at that day and what I would wear.
Candy didn't seem bad for you then...
I was a sugar hoarder when I was young! I only received twenty five cents a week but candy cost a penny and candy bars only a nickle. Hostess fruit pies would take almost my entire allowance so I fiendishly "borrowed" money from my unsuspecting brother's change drawer if I felt like I had to pour more sugar down my throat.
I loved the lemon fruit pies the most. I would bite off the end and suck the filling right out. Then, I would relish the sugar coated crust left behind. Dot candy was tedious but fun to eat. You could get a 36 inch strip for about a nickle back then. Clark Bars were like I suppose the equivalent to crack (I don't know; never tried it) and Pay Day candy bars tingled my taste buds.
I puffed on candy cigarettes, even though I have never smoked anything in my entire life beyond these and I'd sip the minuscule liquid out of Nickle Nips and chew on the wax like bubble gum.
Coke was still served from a big red machine and Cracker Jack was the only caramel popcorn you could buy in the store. The corner store with it's dusty shelves and expired items became the hang out for all of the young kids; running through the door every "pay day" to gather wares to help us stave through games like Green Ghost or Tripoli.
Back then, there were no health warnings on many things and Burger Chef, Burger King and McDonalds only had a couple types of burgers to choose from and they were dirt cheap! We ate what we wanted and enjoyed time with friends.
A simpler life?
In the evening, I would sit on the screened in porch, knowing that the neighborhood boys were out walking the streets and I would hope they would glance my way and see me reading Mad magazine. It was the sophisticated choice of young people back then. Ha! I didn't understand much of what I was reading, but some of it I found funny.
After my nightly reading, I would go up to my room, draped by the large Maple tree outside and sit by my window sill. I would glance out and up to the stars and dream. What would life be like in my twenties? Thirties? How different will it be from now?
It's been good and bad. Exciting and trying. Scintillating and disappointing. It's been life and I guess that all of the moments of my youth have made me the person that I am today. It's always nice to walk down memory lane and remember it with rose colored glasses but the truth is, I had just as many moments of turmoil and glee that I have today. They are just compounded by responsibility and being an adult. I know that when I have chosen to look at things in a positive light, positive things come my way. The same is true for the opposite of this. In that knowledge, I can make my life simpler by viewing things as I did as a child. Through the eyes of simplicity and giddiness. By getting rid of the additions that get pushed into every situation I encounter, I can see through a child's eyes the raw material that I need to be dealing with. Take out the garbage, if you would. Minimize the situation. Wish me luck...