For those of us who have now somehow made it to life amongst the ‘senior set’, we can happily and proudly look back at our busy family, friends and rambunctious grandchildren, and then hopefully sit back and flip through the photo albums while recalling the many fond and funny memories of our own childhood.
When we entered the first grade, most of us were very shy and frightened little duffers, but once we settled into our wooden desks, got to use all those neat and new learning tools and met the nice, soft-spoken teachers and a whole lot of other wide-eyed little boys and girls, we hit those hallowed halls running all the way to Grade 12, with a little luck and lots of tough love thrown in for good measure. All of us looked forward to recess, weekends and holidays, but somehow we just couldn’t wait for Monday mornings and another busy week of reading and writing and arithmetic and all the rest, as well as mom’s finest bag lunches, rooms full of new buddies to share stories and giggle with, and maybe just a little homework.
Along the way, through those wild and woolly adventures of education, the lessons got a little tougher and the books got heavier, but our heads should have been steadily gaining much more knowledge. Meanwhile, as the hormones began to roar, the social life in the hallways, at the glitzy Friday night dances and all around town became a whole lot more interesting with likely even just a little teenage heartbreak and stress thrown in to make it even more fun. Even though we never likely admitted it back then, or now, we really do owe a great deal to our parents as they patiently led us through our tender and tumultuous ‘growing up’ years with kid gloves, kind hearts, warm homes and a whole bunch of bendable but never breakable rules. It was drummed into our busy heads that we must always share, have fun, and make do with what we had through the good times and bad, with a whole lot of love and faith thrown in all the way thru those glorious school years, and way beyond. Somehow, despite many trials and tribulations, parents have and will always manage to come up with a practical, but far from perfect 24-7, 12-year family formula for generations of children to get a good education and a normal healthy lifestyle, along with lots of time for play and friends and treats and perks and chores and boy and girl friends and many other surprises, with just the fairest and right amount of pampering and punishment thrown in to make it all come together.
For those of us who were born in the middle of the 20th century, we certainly were a very long way from being ‘little angels’, who would try anything once or on a dare, and learned very quickly about the wrath of noon hour and after school detention, being ‘grounded’, and the dreaded ‘curfew’. On many occasions of pulling off a ‘no-no’, it was never our fault and we hoped that our soft-hearted mothers could convince our dads not to swing the ‘discipline stick’ too hard, because she actually believed that we were innocent, and maybe the bigger neighbourhood kids made us do it. When we were children, we spent a lot of time outdoors, got to see Tarzan almost naked, Cinderella got to stay out after midnight, Pinocchio told lies and his nose grew, Aladdin was a thief, Batman drove 200 mph, Snow White lived in a house with seven men, Popeye smoked a pipe and had tattoos, Pak Man raced around to digital music while eating pills that enhanced his performance, and Shaggy and Scooby were a pair of mystery solving hippies who always had the munchies. Most of us tried our first puff of a cigarette behind the shed and got real sick, played hooky from school and went to the local pool hall or ‘skinny dipping’ in the Battle River, and played funny but not nasty tricks on the little kids.
Whatever the case, we survived and for the most part we loved our childhood, will never forget it, and have strived to pass the very best parts and successes on to our children and grandchildren. I really admire the younger generation nowadays because they now have a whole lot more distractions than we did when we were growing up and they really have to work much harder to succeed. Ours was the ‘bobby sox and pony tail’ era where there wasn’t much mentioned about ‘peer-pressure’, each home had only one phone, friends were for just a little while or forever, bullies always lost, coming home was always sweet, and there were far more peddle bikes than fast cars. Bottom line, if we gave or are giving it our best shot during these mostly exciting and youthful adventures, the chances of success will be never ending, but please always try to take a little time to share with family and friends and have lots of fun along the way. In the meantime enjoy that fabulous fall frenzy, and have a great week, all of you.