Be Home in Time For Dinner!
Brooklyn, New York during the 1960’s was an exciting time. The neighborhoods were close-knit fabrics of a safe society where everyone seemed to know everyone. You never had to worry about much back then. In fact the the only thing you really had to worry about was being home in time for dinner.
There are those that say there are only two types of people in the world, those from Brooklyn and everyone else. Although I never really subscribed to that notion I must admit that even now, many years after moving away, I always seem to make a connection with people I meet that were born there.
It was a simpler time where we worried about the war in a far-away land rather than a terrorist war on our own streets in America. Parents worked hard and always stayed focused on providing a better future for their children.
As a young kid growing up I never considered my friends and I to be hoodlums although we did many hoodlum-like things. We never hurt anyone or intentionally did bad things but we always seem to get into trouble one way or another.
Our week days were very structured while attending we attending parochial school with severe restrictions and much supervision. The Catholic Nuns did a very good job keeping us in line. The weekend however was another story. Like sailors on shore-leave, we would run wild. A typical Saturday usually involved sneaking onto the subway and traveling to some far-off destination like Coney Island or Brooklyn Heights.
Thinking back now, I am amazed that we never worried about how, or if, we could get home. We were several miles from home and there were no cell phones or texting back then. I seriously doubt any of us would have been brave enough to call our parents anyway, even if we had to! We did however always seems to successfully calculate our estimated time of arrival to coincide perfectly with getting back to the neighborhood in time for dinner. As I alluded to earlier, there was very little forgiveness for this cardinal sin.
We always seem to be fighting but strangely enough no one ever really got hurt (a black eye was considered normal). Even though we were young we had a strict code to live by. There were several rules and you had to abide by all of them. Everything was of the utmost importance from “chips” on the ball to never being a rat.
Although it has been over 40 years since those days, in many ways it seems like yesterday. The old gang is all gone now, living in different parts of the country. I too have moved away, living in a different state and often think about those days. One thing I have learned is that you can take the kid out of Brooklyn but you cannot take Brooklyn out of the kid!