But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
A few neighbors had bomb shelters to be used when the tornado sirens went off and if Russia hit the button. There were something like 42 kids younger than I was in our immediate neighborhood and a couple older. I was the first year of the Baby Boomers born in 1946 through 1964. We battled polio and some lost, my sister was one of them who had it and she is still alive to tell you about it today. It really didn’t slow her down much even when she was using braces and crutches.
We played. Yes, outside with all those kids; kick the can, red rover, badminton and croquet were some of our favorites. We made tents over the revolving clothes lines. Mom didn’t need a dryer, she had two daughters to hang clothes which came in the house smelling like fresh wind and sometimes a bit of rain. Yah, they were stiffer that those eventually dried in the drier but that smell!
We took pride in not making anything from a dreaded “box mix” but all goodies were from “scratch”. Our 2 chest freezers consumed more cookies, cakes and breads that any two families on our block. They were packaged and frozen and where did they go?
Years later my sister and I confessed that when mom left a note telling us to have ONE cookie we’d sneak down the basement and clean a whole top layer off the frozen ones and ,munch contentedly in the basement without mom having a clue even on the days she was home. We were all sitting on a water bed for the telling of this tale and we laughed so hard that mom almost fell off the bed backwards. She really didn’t know. She was home until my sister got into junior high and I was in senior high when mom went back to work to earn money for our college education.
We were allowed to watch TV three hours a week, IF our homework and piano practicing was all finished. Bonanza and Rifleman were our favorites. What in the world did we do with the rest of our time? When we were younger we played with Ginny dolls by the hour and actually read library books, imagine that! We also maintained at least a B plus average in school.
Our bicycles took us to friends, the “little store” which was about 5 blocks away and to school. When my sister was much younger I pulled her to school in our wagon as she couldn’t walk that far with her polio.
It was a kinder and simpler time. One family around the block didn’t even have a car and I don’t remember any family who had two cars. The city bus stopped 3 houses away and came about every half hour so why would you need two cars?
We canned, froze and sewed. We did the canning during HOT summers with 98%humidity and 98% temps even in the middle of the night – no air conditioning in Minnesota during those years and I don’t even remember having an oscillating fan. I do remember many sleepless nights dripping with sweat in front of an open window. That part I don’t miss at all.
Neighbors brought casseroles if someone was sick or had to go to the hospital. We shared home-made jam and bread with people who moved in to the block. The ladies had coffee together and the kids played and played outside.
People cared, people prayed, people gossiped and were judgmental even back then. People helped one another and actually knew who lived next door to them. Kind of like what Mick and I have been blessed to find now, some 60 years later in the mountain meadow we call home. I am glad we found this sense of community once again.
(C)Marijo Phelps all rights reserved - use giving proper credit only.