We all had lots of fun just being a kid

Having been a kid long before the age of computers, cell phones, video games and expensive running shoes, I would quickly learn to never complain to my parents about being bored or having nothing to do.

Having been a kid long before the age of computers, cell phones, video games and expensive running shoes, I would quickly learn to never complain to my parents about being bored or having nothing to do. All of us will fondly remember that our beloved mentors were always very quick to answer most of our verbal explosions in many wonderful but firm ways such as: if you’re grumpy go clean your room or have a nap, cut your fingernails, go play with the cat or your sister, weed the garden and on and on.

At an early age, whether it be rain or shine, we always had a secret list of inside or outside fun things to do and didn’t dare make excuses for fear of suffering the dire consequences of being grounded, loss of allowance, or receiving extra chores. As a dad and grandpa I always try to encourage my young siblings to get outside and enjoy nature and fresh air, to join a team, make lots of friends and don’t be afraid to share your ideas and adventures with the rest of the neighbourhood. If all else fails I dig out that tattered old treasure chest of games, nick-knacks, keepsakes, and pictures to show them how we kept busy as kids and survived on a 50 cent a week allowance. This week I would love to share some of those with you, and hopefully bring back some great memories of childhood.

*If it was our pet we took turns walking it or we were in the doghouse.

*We did play sandlot baseball, football, soccer and whatever on a vacant lot. We had a chunk of plywood for home base, three old pillows for bases, garbage cans for goal posts and hoops and usually one ball or bat to share with the whole neighbourhood.

*There weren’t too many bullies then because everyone had friends and watched after each other. Our most cherished possessions were our bikes, our shiny bag of marbles and the bugs and worms we caught and hid under the bed in a jar.

*We had to stay at the table until everything was eaten; especially veggies and porridge and we were the automatic dishwashers.

*Summer holidays were endless adventures of forts, tree huts, play-wars, swimming, games, sleepovers and campouts. Our floatables were patched up tire tubes, mom’s old washtub, or a Huck Finn raft made out of scrounged wood, wire, or binder twine.

*The greatest adventures included: sharing suckers at the CPR dam, chasing gophers, climbing the highest tree to be boss for a day, damming up the river, or staying out late to raid gardens or count the stars.

*Most usually had only one family car so when we got a chance for a ride we sat still, and were not allowed to play with the gadgets or munch on sticky stuff.

*To make some extra money for a bike we set up a lemonade stand, did odd jobs for nice neighbours, delivered papers, or collected bottles and hauled them all the way into town in an old red wagon and got to buy one treat.

*We had to shine our shoes and wear a tie for school, church and special occasions; and under no circumstances were we allowed to burp, speak out of turn, or make strange noises in public.

*We were reminded that many times that it was homework and chores before play, to respect our elders, and that lying and stealing always resulted in a punishment that left us unable to sit for a few days, or much more.

My special list of Remember When from back then:

I know that many of you will fondly recall: Dinky toys, five cent packages of baseball cards with bubble gum, Topo Gigo, Howdy Doody, car hops, Jiffy popcorn, Drive-In movies and restaurants, cork pop guns, gas for 25 cents a gallon, Reel-to-reel tape recorders, Chatty Cathy dolls, Brylcreem, watching and sniffling through Old Yeller or Lassie movies many times, five cent stamps, 15 cents McDonald burgers and five cent cokes, Studebakers, Chef-Boyardee, hoola hoops, 45 and 78 r.m.p. records on a turntable, the TV test pattern, washtub ringers, hand-me-downs, pogo sticks and so much more.

Whether your room now contains a computer, lots of electronic gizmos and all that new stuff; I still spy those classic plastic models hanging from the ceiling, your old team pictures, a messy cupboard full of books and magazines, walls full of hero posters, a school bag full of homework and your favourite memories and toys in each and every corner. Always remember to seek lots of fun and friends, get lots of exercise, share your skills and ideas with others, enjoy being a kid to the fullest, and that your family will always be there for you, now and into the future. Have a great week, all of you.