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Where Have All The Children Gone?

Updated on February 17, 2011
photo by forum_tr. @
photo by forum_tr. @

Missing Children?

I have had a recurring thought for quite some time now.

While out driving over the weekend through several neighborhoods, it occurred to me that I'm not seeing any children. I see no children playing outside, nor do I see any adults. It seems as though I've entered a twilight zone of sorts, with nothing but empty houses sitting on empty streets. I never see adults outside cutting the lawn, getting in or out of their cars, toting groceries, or chatting with neighbors. I never see children playing ball, playing with a dog, bunches of kids splashing in a pool, or riding bikes. I see no signs of life. This observation has been made practically everywhere I travel.

It brought to mind my own childhood. Ok, so I realize several decades have gone by. I was fortunate to live on a dead end street, which was surrounded by a field, woods and a railroad track. It was quite safe to be outdoors playing, as there was little to no traffic to concern ourselves with. The train that went behind our house was a freight train, which didn't come by every day, only once in a while.

photo by danjaeger @
photo by danjaeger @

My Childhood

On Saturdays or after school, the kids would empty out of their houses and call upon one another to come out and play. Within a one block radius, in my neighborhood, there were 23 kids. The boys generally got a ball game going, or would hop on their bikes and go riding. A lot of times, they decided to play a game of cowboys and indians which they played in the field behind our house or at the end of the street, over the tracks and into the woods.   Sadly, the tracks held a fascination for the boys, whose idea of fun was to hop the freight cars while the train was moving. If I recall correctly, we lost two, if not three boys to the wheels of the train. The story of the day was that the doctor who was called to the scene, vomited and left. Even with those tragedies, it didn't stop the other boys from continuing to jump the freight cars.

Let me paint the lost picture for you. When I was a kid, all you would see would be neighbors talking over fences, sitting on porches sharing lemonade or a morning coffee, teaching a child how to ride a two-wheeler or engaging in pushing a lawn mower and/or gardening. Everyone knew everybody. It was a friendly, noisy atmosphere with children laughing, dogs barking and parents talking.  

photo by mommytoo @
photo by mommytoo @

The girls opted to play jacks, hopscotch, jump rope, hide 'n seek or they would bring out their favorite doll and play house. Sometimes boys and girls chose to play dodge ball or a game of tag, but generally, the boys played with boys and the girls played with girls. Playing outside was the be-all and end-all. There were no computers, Ipods or any of the modern technologies. We listened to am radio, 8-track tapes, and if we were very fortunate, we owned a record player. TV was a privilege, with allotted times to be able to watch it as well as what could be watched. The best was Saturday morning cartoons. I recall with fondness Tom & Jerry, Felix the Cat and Winky Dink. Winky Dink was cool because all it was was a piece of pliable plastic which you placed on the tv screen. As Winky's adventure began, you were instructed as to how you could help him get through the precarious situations he found himself in. If he was on the edge of a cliff, you were to draw a line on the plastic to the other side, and Winky would then be able to get there safely. It had me fascinated :)

When the weather was bad, we had indoor games we could play. There were cards, modeling clay, finger paints, water paints, puzzles, board games and books. Yes, we actually read a book with real pages. It wasn't all fun and games, however, as we had assigned chores to do as well. I remember cleaning my room, vacuuming, dusting and helping my mom bake or prepare a meal. Doing dishes was another chore, with my mom washing, me drying and my brother putting the dishes away.


What ever happened to imagination? I, as a child, remember putting on plays, making dolls, putting on a puppet show, or playing house. My best friend and I took ballet and tap dance together. We imagined ourselves to be prima ballerinas. In fact, one day, we went into my yard, with our grass skirts on, and danced on a picnic table to the Hawaiian War Chant. Apparently, I made a misstep, and my friend elbowed me to let me know I goofed up. The best thing, or not, is that this was filmed, and my brother now has it on a cd. I don't think I've ever shown it to anyone, not my friends or kids. I probably should because it would give everyone a great laugh. Another time, my best friend spent the night at my house, and she and I stayed awake all night long making sock dolls. We had a great time sharing our imaginations about what each one would become.

A lot has changed since my childhood. The old, wonderful trees that lined our streets were taken down, having been replaced by new ones planted. It gives the town an austere look. The railroad train that ran behind my house is now defunct. A good thing, given the fact that my small town has probably almost doubled in population. Lots that were empty are now filled with new houses, both single and two family affairs. The empty field behind my house, between the old tracks and my yard are now filled with houses. The woods at the end of the street made way for a parking lot. I sorely miss the old home town I knew and loved.

Life Today

So, I ask, where are the children today and what are they doing? I fear it all has to do with modern technology. Certainly, there is a lot to be said for our modern conveniences. The computer, while extremely entertaining, is also a wealth of information, and I'm sure many people put it to good use, children included. However, there are more, I believe, that would much rather be glued to a tv, computer, or their cell phones for entertainment. Sadly, parents have succumbed to these activities as well, and have allowed their children to do the same. I for one, am guilty of spending tons of time here at my computer. As much as I loved being outdoors as a child, I've become almost the complete opposite, choosing, instead, to be in the comfort of my home. I do think what we have today is wonderful, however, for many it has become an addiction and an escape from living. There needs to be a balance.  Finding it is the trick.


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    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi MizBejabbers,

      We did come from the same era, I too listened to 45s as well as 33s. I hate what they've done to my hometown. It is even more crowded than it was and they took away the beachfront, the woods and railroad tracks. My hometown was comprised of many 2 family homes, and all were on fairly small lots. Now they've jammed even more homes on what scarce property was left. In addition, they took down so many old trees that the town now looks rather sterile.

      I am a huge fan of true crime shows, which doesn't help my anxiety about letting my 11 yr old granddaughter go out to play. On the other hand, I don't have the right to cripple her with my own fears. It's a fine line to walk.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the vote up :)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      5 years ago

      When I read this my first thought was that we came from the same era, but then you mentioned listening to 8-tracks, and I knew you were younger. We played 45s, so that really dates me. When I go back to my old neighborhood in my hometown, all I see is commercial. We were on a busy county highway just outside of town, and across the street was woods for about a mile to the river. Now our one acre is totally covered by a big hardware store and there are also businesses across the street that back up to those woods.

      Where are the children? Most of my friends won’t let their children or grandchildlren under 10 years of age outside even in a fenced backyard unless they are accompanied by an adult. Times have gotten THAT dangerous. We were driven out of our former neighborhood in the central part of the city by drug dealers. We live in a much “safer” area now, but in the 18 years we have lived here, our property has suffered from petty vandalism seven or eight times: broken car windows, broken lights on our pathways, stolen potted plants, that type of thing. It’s a shame. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Voted up++.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Good morning Billy,

      You and I share many similarities. I grew up in a town that was only a bit over 1 mile square. The street I lived on was a dead end, surrounded by woods, a field and the railroad tracks. Easily, there had to be 25 kids living between two blocks.

      My childhood was magical, and I take great pleasure in the memories of it. I too have gone back to my hometown many times, and the changes sadden me. I only wish I had photos of how it used to be.

      Glad you stopped by and thanks for the compliment!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, we really are tuned into the same wavelength. I wrote a hub a week or so ago about my return to my old neighborhood and how wonderful it was growing up there and all the kids there and the fun we had.

      I just don't see that anymore and I echo your sentiments about neighbors being more aloof. It's a sad thing to see but then that's only my opinion. We had such a close-knit neighborhood, everyone watching out for each other, helping each other, and I just don't see that today.

      Anyway, great hub and I do enjoy your style!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi there Bard!

      I share your nostalgia. Interestingly, yesterday on my way home from work, our local radio station talked about just this issue. It was good to hear that all the callers shared the same thoughts and memories, and it was refreshing for me to hear that I'm not the only one who noticed the fact that children aren't outside from sun-up to sun-down. They also agreed that the fears of today, which are more commonly talked about, didn't seem to exist back in the day. A sad state of affairs, in my opinion.

      It's good that children where you live still enjoy the great ouddoors.

      Thanks so much for your compliment and the vote up! Good to see you :)

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      An awesome hub for which I just voted up! I share you sadness for the days gone by and personally wish I could go back to them! At least here in Tenerife you still see children out playing most places.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Susan,

      Isn't it sad? Not only was playing outside a wonderful thing for kids, the parents loved it as well, as it got the kids out of their hair for a while. Even when I was an infant, my grandmother made sure I got outside in my carriage for the fresh air and sunshine. I'm not so sure about how fresh the air is now though, what with all the pollution.

      Thanks for stopping by, commenting and the vote up :)

    • Susan S Spencer profile image

      Susan S Spencer 

      6 years ago from UK

      I live just outside of London in a small village. We have no children here either... Vote up.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you, sugarloaf10.

      Yes, it's a sad state of affairs. I so loved my neighborhood. I lived on a dead-end street so we didn't have to worry about traffic much. In a two block radius we had 30 kids.

      True, people are choosing to have either no kids at all or as you say, much later in life. Sigh.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • sugarloaf10 profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky USA

      Beautifully written, and so true in many ways. I have often wondered this same thing myself, having grown up on a quiet street where kids ran barefoot all summer long, made forts and ran through the fields behind the subdivision. It's a sad truth that this type of childhood no longer exists in so many places.

      I also wonder if the lack of children is due to the fact that there *aren't any*. People are having fewer and fewer kids these days and waiting longer and longer to have them. Sad, but true.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Marisue,

      I agree whole-heartedly. Certainly, worrying comes with the territory of being a parents and grandparents. It does not matter how old the children or grandchildren are either. They say worry is a useless condition and I agree, it solves nothing and simply creates more stress. Now, if only I could find the key that turns that off :)

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

    • marisuewrites profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      I hear you on the safety issue, I never ever let my granddaughter out of my sight outside! And, we keep our doors locked both day and night. Not paranoid, but home invasions are on the rise, and I at least want enuff time to dial 911.

      I worry about kids I see walking to school...young little ones. scary! Even years ago I saw mine to the school door!

      Still, we've got to brave the outdoors!! LOL under watchful eyes tho!!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Marisue,

      There is some truth that it is much easier to parent children indoors. Also the fact that the relative safety we may have enjoyed as children is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Our world is no longer safe.

      Then there's my granddaughter, who is very much her mother's daughter. They love going out, doing things and going places. The minute my granddaughter gets home from school she's running out the door to play. Yes, I worry, and it's hard to let go of the fear that something bad could happen, but certainly her mom and I need to give her a certain amount of freedom, trust and fresh air.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • marisuewrites profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      I loved this, Trish, it was yesterday for me too. I had similar thoughts when we landed at a children's ranch to parent foster kids. HM! this small ranch, it was a dead zone. Lonely picnic tables were under isolated trees, there wasn't a sound to be heard.

      Where were the kids at the kids' ranch? We learned later that they were seldom "allowed" outside. It was "easier" for the foster parents to parent them in small confined areas.

      Well, anything for the foster parents, right? We didn't last long at that ranch. The first thing we did was host a bar-b-que, but unfortunately, WE were the ones that got grilled.


      anyway, I say, turn off the boob tube and noise boxes, and get outside and play some ball.

      I'll watch on the sideline, or better yet, I'll cook the hotdogs...let the young ones run.

      =)) great hub and I hope young parents smell the fresh air here!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi RunAbstract,

      What a nice compliment, thanks so much! Glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • RunAbstract profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I love this article, and all the wonderful comments! Great writting!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi tony,

      Yes, I'm of the same mindset as your wife. There is a fine line between being over-protective and a bit more liberal. I think either way, you are left wondering are you doing the right thing.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Your thoughts are very wonderful to read. My daughter is eight and we are probably over protective of her. I let her ride and play with quite a lot of freedom, but my wife is not too comfortable about it. I think there is fear and there are also all the techno-gadgets that you mention.

      I like that you called some of these things ecapes from living, because that is exactly what they are, I think.

      Love and peace


    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi there bayoulady,

      Yes, I remember the good ole garden hose. It was great fun trying to hose down the boys, but usually, they got the better of us. It was sure welcome relief for the times we didn't have a pool.

      The good ole days, life seemed so much simpler :)

      Thanks for sharing your memories.

    • bayoulady profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Trish, same here. I can sure identify. It is sad that we now have TV adds encouraging kids to "go out and play an hour a day".

      My childhood summer days and school weekends went something like this.....Eat breakfast, brush your teeth, make your bed, and "Out you go, Mama's busy." We got our "drink" from the water hose, and only went in the house to use the bathroom.( Just between us and the gatepost, the boys disappeared occasionally behind the shed instead of going in the house to "use it".) was cooler outside under the shade than in the house anyway. We had our bikes,roller skates, hoola hoops, old maid cards,books, insects to catch,and a blade of grass to chew on so there was plenty to do.When the shade would move, we just scooted up our toys and moved with it.

      In the late afternoon, we would come in and watch a few cartoons ,drink a little sugary kool-aide and maybe a leftover pancake, then be ushered outside again til supper. You didn't dare linger, or you would end up shelling peas or peeling potatoes. Safety from chores was just beyond the screen door...hum..I feel a hub page comin' on about my mama and her philosophy of "kids underfoot and thinkin' they could sit on their bottom all day", but I'll have to ask her first as, I am still a little wary of her 'methods"!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

      And you too, are right. If we were indoors it was, as you said, because of a punishment, either that, or we were sick.

      I'm afraid imagination has fallen by the wayside in today's world.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      You are absolutely right, all the children are inside talking on cellphones, playing video games or watching tv. I too remember spending my childhood outdoors. If I was indoors it was because of a punishment. Children don't know what they are missing. We used our imagination to keep us occupied. Oh for the good old days.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Pcunix,

      Yes you're right. Once we had our breakfast, out we'd go. Then in for lunch and back out till dinnertime, then after dinner, we were allowed to stay out till the street lights came on. I never felt fearful growing up. I've become more so now that I'm so much older. Sadly, the innocence dies and reality takes over.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 

      8 years ago from SE MA

      Oh gosh, yes. When we were kids we'd just be gone all day - often off exploring in the woods. Nobody gave it a second thought!

      That was the fifties, though - different world.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I share that with you. I watch Nancy Grace and also Jane Velez-Mitchell. Not to mention, almost all true crime shows.

      It is sad.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • the pink umbrella profile image

      the pink umbrella 

      8 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

      I loved this article. I am so fearfull of my child getting abducted (i watch nancy grace alot) That i dont think i will let him out of my sight until he is 13. And even then, kids are killing other kids. Im almost 27, so when i was young, people hurt children, make no mistake, but now its like murders and pedophiles are everywhere. Its sad that we cant let our children play as we used to.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi there!

      No, I've already passed that stage lol. You're right, it is a big scary world out there. The things you mention certainly would keep the kids off the streets. It's just sad to me. The age of innocence is long gone, I'm afraid.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts :)

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I thought this was going to be about empty nest syndrome, lol!!!

      I am of the generation of parents paralyzed by fear the year someone tampered with and poisoned Halloween candy. After that, supervision of kids became a big thing and kids weren't free to roam as we did.

      Where I live, kids are in summer camp, sport camp, drama camp, year round school, hiking with the Boy Scouts, early morning swim team, dance lessons, tennis lessons, chess lessons, driver's education workshops, supervised trips abroad, creating graphic presentations online, texting friends, making silly movies with friends, and collapsed in front of the television recovering from all this work... LOL.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi James,

      You might be on to something there. I've so often wondered why does it seem that child molestations/abductions and murders are heard about practically every day . I know crime isn't new, nor is evil, but as a young person, I had no idea it was so rampant. These crimes against children either were kept hush-hush, or for whatever reason were just never made public. Growing up I was taught to trust a policeman, a pastor or doctor. What does a parent of today tell their child, when we now know that any of those men are pedophiles in disguise. I'll go a step further, as a grown woman, I don't think even I can trust that if I'm pulled over by a cop, that he's the real deal.

      We live in a very frightening world. Thanks so much for your perspective on this hub.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Your article is great! It got me to thinking—which is the best possible result or writing, methinks.

      I do agree with the computer taking away our time outside. And with the television providing passive entertainment, lessening the exercise of imagination. I would also consider that people aren't having children so much. The birth rate of non-Hispanics in America is down to 1.4 children per mother; far less than during the baby boom. To go deeper though, I think that when God was banned from the public schools in 1962, 1963, a new wave of sinister evil came as a result (maybe two decades later), with an explosion of child kidnappings, child abuse, child molestations, and parents being afraid to let their child play outside without an adult—much less sit on Uncle Joe's knee or be hugged by a teacher when they've been hurt.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago


      Yes, I think we can all agree that due to the technology, kids don't feel the need to be outside. And you're so right about the safety issue. I worry every time my granddaughter goes out to play. She is 8 yrs old and loves being outside. Don't know if that will change as she gets older, but for now, she doesn't have much interest in the computer or video games, for which I'm thankful :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi UV,

      I agree. As a kid, you wouldn't find me in the house, but like you say, we didn't have all these things that the kids have today.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • samboiam profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      It is certainly a different world we live in. I think the advancement in technology has a big effect upon it all. Plus in some areas it is not safe for the children to be outside.

      Great job. Voted it up.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      I've noticed that too. The kids in my apartment building are never out playing before 2 or 3pm on the weekends. On weeknights they are never out before 5.

      This winter I maybe saw 3 kids out playing and making a snowman.

      When I was a kid I was barely inside. Of course, that was before the Internet, video games, 200 tv channels...

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I couldn't agree more, Micky!

      Thanks for commenting :)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Our children are our greatest resource. Thank you Trish!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      hi carolina!

      Great observation. I wonder now too, now that you mention it. Certainly, their brains get exercise. Certainly the kids who have a good metabolism, will have no weight problem and won't have to worry about that. But the others? Hmmm,,,maybe they'll be lucky and realize that hey, I need to get more physically active.

      Thanks for stopping by, nice to see you :)

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Anne,

      Oh! Halloween, you are so right! I loved it! We were allowed to go out and get our bags filled, go home, empty it, then go out for more. In my neighborhood today, you don't see many trick or treaters, even though this place is filled with kids.

      I also like the idea of the friendliness factor. There were two old maid sisters who lived in my childhood town, down on the corner. They were the orniest ole biddies! You weren't allowed to walk on the sidwalk in front of their house. The boys lost many balls as well, because if they landed on or near their property they scoffed em up and wouldn't give them back. My brother and I used to joke that whenever those two met their maker, someone would find closets filled with balls LOL.

      Thanks for your thoughts :)

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      It certainly is a different world... I have no idea how the kids are getting enough exercise!!

    • annemaeve profile image


      8 years ago from Philly Burbs

      What a great hub, my dearie! My best childhood neighborhood memories center around a very small group of kids, even though I know my neighborhood was full of children. I guess I chose for myself the quieter activities, though a block party does sound like fun!

      The best neighborhood day always seemed to be Halloween, when every house was open and kids ruled the streets. That's one thing I really miss, living on a some-what busy road with no sidewalks, set back from the street.

      You've given me lots to think about! I know realtors always go on about school districts, sewers, and taxes, but there should be a grade for neighborhood friendliness when you're houseshopping. That way, all the quiet crabby people can have their own street, and all the kiddos can have theirs!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi ladyjane,

      You're right, I agree. For whatever reason, life seemed safer back then.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      Great article and something that I have wondered myself from time to time. Nowadays children cannot wander outside as we did for fear that they may literally disappear and be the victim of some horrid crime. Times have definitely changed. Thanks for the ride down memory lane. Cheers.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Feline,

      Yes, it is nice to know some children still go outside. I'm left wondering though whether or not the games they choose to play outside are any of the ones I used to play. I imagine there are a few.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      Fortunately the kids in my neighbourhood still 'go out to play'. I imagine they also spend a lot of time huddled over their computers and other modern conveniences (or irritants!) but it is nice to see them engaged in childish pursuits. Of course their childish pursuits are a lot different from ours! :)

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi blondepoet,

      I agree, and it's very sad but true. It's so hard to know who to trust these days. On the one hand, you want to tell children who they can trust, but how is that possible when even adults have a problem with knowing who?

      And yes, I do believe imagination has gone by the wayside.

      Thanks so much for commenting.

    • blondepoet profile image


      8 years ago from australia

      It is so sad the way the world keeps changing where even I would never walk the streets at night without fear. As you said there were the days that kids were kids not robots in front of video games and computers. Those were the days!!

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Sally,

      We are very fortunate to have had many nice childhood experiences in each other's company. As you see, they bring back very fond memories.

      I agree with you that parents have their children terrified of strangers, but with good reason. It's very sad however. I myself find myself thinking, what if a cop pulls me over, and he turns out to be a predator in disguise? It seems as though that's what our world has become, a frightening place. And it puzzles me as to why, in this day and age, the fear seems greater. I am sure, when we were growing up there were as many predators out there. I'm guessing our parents did a great job of insulating us from knowing about awful scary things. For one, as I mentioned, watching tv was limited. In fact, I don't ever recall watching the news.

      Glad you enjoyed :)

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Nellie,

      You brought to mind the block parties. I had forgotten about those. Also, visiting with neighbors to play cards. I remember many of those nights. My parents also were very social, and every year would throw a Halloween and New Year's party. I used to look forward to those. My mom allowed me and my best friend to make the invitations, which was right up our alley since we were both creative. I loved to watch my mom do her makeup and hair. Sometimes she let me fix her hair. She'd then get dressed, put on her jewelry and her favorite scent, Avon's Cotillion creme sachet. She would then ask my opinion about how she looked. Of course, she was beautiful :)

      Thanks for sharing your memories and commenting on mine.

    • trish1048 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Diana,

      You reminded me of the cherry trees I had in my back yard. How I loved picking and eating them. Even in visits to my grandparents' home, I spent a lot of time out in the yard in their gardens.

      Thanks so much for commenting.

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Trish, I am so glad I live in a community where younger and older families have homes, and where our association provides plenty of playgrounds. It's a nice mix, and even occasionally there are the backyard chats and a neighborhood party or two.

      But this community, I think, is not the norm. And even here, there are some who berate young parents for letting their children play in the "street", which is a joke here, as you know, because aside from the main access roads, there is almost no traffic on individual streets.

      Still and yet, it is not like when you and I were growing up. I think it's because there is less trust and more guilt. Kids have been taught to be terrified of strangers, and working parents often can't or won't make the time to participate in a neighborhood to make it a more friendly place, and they feel bad because of it.

      I love going to Perth Amboy and South River for the vibrant street life. It's so vibrant that the 25 mph speed limit through town is strictly enforced, because anything faster would put most of the population at risk of being mowed down.

      You captured aspects of our childhood beautifully. Thank you for this wonderful trip with you down childhood's memory lane.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Excellent article, trish! Well presented. You write beautifully.

      Well, on my street there are several dynamics in operation.

      The first that comes to mind is that there ARE no children living on my end of the street, unless they are visiting their grandparents! It's an older street in a settled neighborhood. When my husband and his first wife bought it new back in 1962, the street was rapidly filling with younger couples with kids. They had block-parties, in which the whole street was blocked off and residents both on that block and the adjoining ones all came with "pitch-in" food and everyone had a great time, adults and children. Other times there were other get-togethers at homes - for cards or whatever - and kids playing in each others' yards. Now almost all the back yards have huge tall opaque fences! None in front -due to a Dallas building restriction! We don't have one of our own but on either side - the neighbors' 8-foot wooden fences separate the yards and onl the back strip by the alley is open to view or to waving at a neighbor across the alley who may be out in the yard! Only grandkids are ever seen there either - those houses face the next street - where the situation is like ours.

      Of course, as happens, time marched on and the kids grew up & moved into their own neighborhoods or other cities - wwherever the jobs lured them. Eventually one far end of this street has become populated with overflow from an ethnic area not far distant & several families or extended families often are crowding into "single-family" residences. There are often several generations living together or nearby. More like 'old times' - pre-WWII, actually.

      When one goes to a nearby store through that end of the street, there are kids everywhere, as well as cars & trucks crowded into driveways, even on the lawn & lined up all along the street curb (especially after working hours).

      In fact one must drive slowly to be sure some small person doesn't run out from between two cars into the street, which is rather narrow anyway. If there are are oncoming cars moving on the street, in fact, - one of them must pull over into any empty curbside space which is yet unclaimed to let the other pass by!

      My end of the street - quite a ways further toward its beginning - remains sedate, quiet, cars only in garages or driveways, lawns tended, minimal activity, etc. I've been known to make a spectacle of myself out raking leaves or gathering them up when all the other lawns had only professional help doing that! I don't do mowing, however!

      In a way - this contrast of the opposite ends of Wyatt St. always impresses me as healthy, though.

      Oh - we've had a nearlby house or two become vacated on our end of Wyatt, probably as a result of death of its senior citizen owner; then, of course, resold and who buys houses these days but younger folks?

      The rare time or two - there were even a few young children among the new residents. But due to high mortage payments, or perhaps a better job offer for the parents - they didn't stay long.

      However in the town where I grew up -- there is still a mixture of generations, at least as much as I can tell when there. But it happens to be a 'border town' with a significant ethnic population all over it, so all I can conclude is, perhaps, there are more children being brought into the world in these areas and that they don't become as sedate quite as young! I dunno.

      Not far from where I live, though, there's a 1000 acre lake with hiking and biking paths around it, non-motorized boats on it - and it's a pretty lively place! Not as much so as when I was in college here and it was further out of town and was the favored 'smooching' haunt for students, perhaps. hehe

    • dianacharles profile image


      8 years ago from India

      Yes, it is a pity that one does not see children outdoors as much as we used to be out, when we were young. Even the games they play are so different. I see youngsters huddled over their cell phones, playing games on them or at the Malls shopping or stuffing their faces. I remember flying kites and playing seven tiles and climbing trees for the sourest of tamarind and just hanging out.Yes, life has changed indeed.


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