Take a stroll with me, close your eyes, and go back before the Internet, before semi-automatics and crack, before SEGA or Super Nintendo. 'Way back. I'm talking about sitting on the curb, sitting on the stoop, about hide and go seek, Simon Says, Red light Green light.
Lunch boxes with a thermos. Chocolate milk, going home for lunch, penny candy from the store, hopscotch, butterscotch, skates with keys, Jacks, Hula Hoops and sunflower seeds, wax lips and mustaches, Mary Jane's, saddle shoes and Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom. Running through the sprinkler, circle pins, bobby pins, Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Kukla Fran and Ollie, Spin and Marty all in black and white. When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up, and your Mom made you turn it off if a storm came.
When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Climbing trees, making forts, backyard shows, lemonade stands, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, staring at clouds, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, ribbon candy, angel hair on the Christmas tree, Jackie Gleason, white gloves, walking to the movie theater, running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Remember that?
Not stepping on a crack or you'll break your mother's back. Paper chains at Christmas, silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington, the smell of paste in school and Evening in Paris. What about the girl who dotted her "i's" with hearts? The Stroll, popcorn balls, and sock hops. Remember when there were two types of sneakers for girls and boys (Keds & PF Flyer) and the only time you wore them at school was for gym? And the girls had those ugly gym uniforms.
When nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school. When nobody owned a purebred dog. When a quarter was a decent allowance, when you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny. When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces. When all of your male teachers wore neckties, and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels. When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time. And, you didn't pay for air. And, you got trading stamps to boot! When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed . . and did! When the worst thing you could do at school was smoke in the bathrooms, flunk a test or chew gum. And the prom was in the auditorium and you danced to an orchestra.
When a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady and girls wore a class ring with an inch of wrapped Band-Aids, dental floss or yarn coated with pastel frost nail polish so it would fit her finger. And no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked.
Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a . . . " And playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game. Remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger. And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace . . and share it with the children of today?
When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
So send this on to someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel & Hardy, Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Belle, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk . . as well as the sound of a reel mower on Saturday morning, and summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, bowling and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that!"