Roland Louis Hansen, The Wonder Years

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)

I remember small



About Roland Louis Hansen

I have been: an organization development consultant; a college-level instructor of political science, psychology, and sociology; a public administrator; a social worker; an elected official; a political operative; a community activist; a union official; a shoe salesman and manager, a factory worker; a fast food restaurant employee; and, a custodian.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Community, Entertainment, Family, Friends, History, Nostalgia, People, Personal, Sociology. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Roland Louis Hansen, The Wonder Years

  1. Dale Pertcheck says:

    To me, the biggest difference is how much more distant family is now as opposed to then. Not only did my only two parents stay together “Til’ death do us part,” but I also had my aunt and uncle living next door on one side, and my grandmother and physically challenged uncle living next door on the other side of our house. Almost every Sunday, a third aunt and uncle would bring their two children to my grandmother’s house and we all squeezed into her little home and ate dinner together. We often visited yet another aunt and uncle who lived near St. Vincent’s Hospital. Their nephew and I are still close friends to this day!
    None of my first cousins nor my two siblings live in the Toledo Area. Our daughter and her family are in Swanton. Our son and his family are in San Francisco. While we see our daughter and her family A LOT, we usually see our son and his family about two or three times a year.
    I, too, was born in Toledo in 1947. In the neighborhood in which I grew up, off Bancroft between Upton and Auburn, all the neighbors were to be respected. We couldn’t get into trouble without our parents knowing about it. Mrs. Maupin would tell. Or Mrs. Naus. Or Mrs. Eisler. Or police Captain Nassar. Our neighborhood was like one large extended family, too.
    You are so right about this! It was, indeed, a great time in which to grow up in Toledo, Roland!


  2. cwmartin13 says:

    A great time to grow up anywhere! So sad that kids have lost the desire to respect and the art of entertaining themselves without electronics. Time for some beans and weenies!


    • Dale Pertcheck says:

      CW — I agree with you as well. Wienies, however, are no longer on my list of foods I may eat.
      FYI –Packo’s is having a celebration this coming Monday through Thursday only at all locations. Their hot dogs will be $1.00. Limit one per person per visit. No take-outs. And you must order one additional menu item with each dog. I’m toying with the idea of getting one, even though all of my doctors would oppose it.
      I do occasionally eat a low-fat Hebrew National. They’re pretty good.


  3. Thank you for your comments, Dale and CW.


  4. Nate S says:

    A beautiful reminiscence. It recalled my own childhood in many ways, and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Roland.


    • You are very welcome, Nate.
      And, as Barbra Streisand sang in “The Way We Were” –

      Light the corners of my mind
      Misty water-colored memories
      Of the way we were

      Scattered pictures
      Of the smiles we left behind
      Smiles we gave to one another
      For the way we were

      Can it be that
      It was all so simple then?
      Or has time re-written every line?
      If we had the chance to do it all again
      Tell me, would we?
      Could we?

      May be beautiful and yet
      What’s too painful to remember
      We simply choose to forget
      So it’s the laughter
      We will remember
      Whenever we remember
      The way we were

      The way we were


  5. Judy Hansen says:

    Things end,
    But Memories last


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