Some thoughts about my early years growing up – The Wonder Years:
I was born in 1947 and grew up on East Northgate Parkway in the City of Toledo, Ohio and graduated from Whitmer Senior High School in 1965. For the most part, my growing-up years were during a period of time when everyone treated each other like family.
As young children and as adolescents, we went outside to play, we got dirty. We bought penny candy from the corner store. We played Red Light – Green Light, Red Rover, Simon Says, Hide and Seek, King of the Hill, Statue, Dodge Ball, Baseball, Basketball and Football. We could ride our bikes to the store, or the park, or down a country road and stay all day. We even swam in the nearby pond, the River Raisin across the State line in Michigan, and Lake Erie when we had the chance.
We ate hot dogs and beans, homemade (from scratch) macaroni and cheese, tomato soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bologna sandwiches, and such for lunch at home. We carried lunch in brown paper bags to eat in the school cafeteria. We ate our meals as a family at a table together; and then, we cleared the dishes off the table and washed the dishes by hand and dried them with a cloth towel. We had chores to do around the house and yard.
We walked or rode a bike everywhere and never worried about safety. We never thought to lock our windows or doors at night.
We weren’t afraid of anything, except our parents. If we fell down, we would just get back up. We challenged each other from time to time. And if someone had a fight, that’s what it was, a fight, then, we got over it and played together again.
We respected our parents, our teachers, and our elders.
We left our houses as soon as we could in the morning and right after school until our neighbors would yell out for their children as a reminder to get in the house for the night. If one kid was called for dinner, then we all knew it was time to go home.
We watched our language around our elders because we knew If we disrespected any adult there would be a price to pay. We had manners and respect; otherwise, we knew that someone else’s parents would put us in our place.
I would not trade anything for the childhood we had, for we had enough; we had love and all that made us the adults we are today.
I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo in 1969.
The year before, in 1968, Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin had a Number 1 hit in the UK — “Those Were The Days” which was produced by Paul McCartney.
Addendum (April 17, 2017)