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Thread: Childhood Should Have Killed Us - OK, Boomer Edition

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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Childhood Should Have Killed Us - OK, Boomer Edition

    Better get this one going before the US holiday kicks in. This thread will either sink like the proverbial stone or go 87 pages.

    https://www.considerable.com/life/fa...ood-dangerous/

    I have often thought about being a kid today and how dramatically different growing up in the 50s through 80s was. Free range parenting was the norm and god, we took insane risks even in grade school. My family had a farm and I have tales of epic stupidity and risk-taking. I don't think I used a seat belt until well into high school. Anyone else interested in this?
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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    I remember riding my bike to Seward Park, about 13 miles from where we lived, when I was eight or nine. And I rode the bus -- alone -- into the U. District (20 mi.) to go record shopping when I was 15. Played outdoors in the rain all day when I was little, to the point that my mom had to hose me off before I could come in the house.

    My dad had a kerosine weed burner that we used to burn up all the grass in the vacant lot next door.

    On the 4th of July, my dad used to like to put firecrackers under tin cans and make 'em jump 40 feet in the air. I remember one time starting to do the same with a glass jar... and he stopped me. Damn over-parenting!

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I walked to kindergarten fairly regularly when I was 4 either with my 7 year old brother or usually with the 4 year old girl down the street, and/or her 5 year old brother, in Boston about 1/2 mi. away from home, and I'd sometimes walk home alone.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    To this day, I blame my parents' 1965 Buick station wagon with the rear window that rolled down for my ovbious drain bamage. Carbon monoxide poisoning.

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    On the 4th of July, my dad used to like to put firecrackers under tin cans and make 'em jump 40 feet in the air. I remember one time starting to do the same with a glass jar... and he stopped me. Damn over-parenting!
    Firecrackers were illegal in MA so we used to try to make our own explosive fun by collecting the gunpower from caps.
    funny-pictures-if-you-remember-these-your-childhood-was-awesome-758x479.jpg

  6. #6
    Riding bikes and skateboards at all hours without helmets in the middle of busy streets.

    Playing baseball all day long without
    helmets or sunscreen and no adults anywhere in sight for supervision.

    Tackle football with no pads or helmets

    Ice hockey with no pads or helmets on barely frozen ponds

    Hitchhiking

    Walking around all summer without shoes

    Sleeping outside all night in parks and the woods

    Driving without seatbelts while drinking beer

    Diving off steep cliffs into lakes

    Sledding down steep hills swerving between oak trees

    Setting off firecrackers at concerts

  7. #7
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Firecrackers were illegal in MA so we used to try to make our own explosive fun by collecting the gunpower from caps.
    We scraped sparklers.

    At scout camp, we held competitions for axe throwing, into a tree. If you didn't hit it dead-on, it glanced off and went... elsewhere.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartellb View Post
    Sledding down steep hills swerving between oak trees
    Cornell Avenue is a steep, steep hill about 7 blocks long. It ends in a busy intersection.

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    Member Garyhead's Avatar
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    Matches.....EVERYWHERE! Heck....they were Always laying in the tray of the cigarette vending machines...Right at the convenient kid-level. If you had enough money, you could even buy a pack as no one was watching that machine. Parents and their friends ALL smoked so matchbooks were everywhere.
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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    I had a very boring childhood, although....

    I remember very vividly (unusual for me) being about 4 or maybe 5 and playing with play-doh and after I had mashed it around for a while and gotten it all warm and pliant, taking a big hunk of this warm, pliant goo and going up to the open electric outlet and smooshing it into it while holding onto the doh.

    The play doh was pink/red.

    There was a buzzing / humming sound and I watched the radiating electricity slowly turn the play-doh from pink to brown/fried as it semi-slowly made it's way through the gloop and towards my hand. And as it got closer and closer Iwatched in fascination and dread and then when it got really close to my hand, I pulled it back pulling the doh out of the socket.

    I thew the fried dough away and no one ever knew.
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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Cornell Avenue is a steep, steep hill about 7 blocks long. It ends in a busy intersection.
    Not only sledding and inner tubing, but homemade go-karts when it wasn't snowy. My dad & I built one that was so heavy, I couldn't push it up Cornell. I couldn't stop it either.

    Oh, and I used to spend hours dragging a plywood hydroplane behind my bike -- watching it instead of where I was going.

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    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I guess I was a youngish teen at the time, mid 1970s. A group of us took a long bike ride to Mt. Tamalpais. It was an 11 mile ride up a winding road to the top.

    We all hitched a ride on a huge flatbed truck. All of us just threw our bikes on the truck and hopped into the bed and road all the way up to the summit. Insane. It was snowing up there too.

    We didn't stay up there very long. We all sorta scattered and got separated as we made our descent, 11 miles down the winding road with hairpin turns and all. At one point my brakes were down to bare metal. Somehow i got home okay. Most fun i ever had in my life.

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    Member Lopez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyhead View Post
    Matches.....EVERYWHERE!
    I used to play with matches when I was little. It's a wonder I'm not a professional arsonist today. What cured me was lighting up the dry pine tree in front of the barber shop where I was supposed to be getting a hair cut. I was in my Cub Scout uniform, too. When I saw the flame go out of control, I ran into the shop yelling that the tree's on fire. The fire engine arrived, and the cops arrived, and my mom arrived, and I was in hysterics. All I could think of was getting committed to Sockanosset, the boys reform school in Cranston, R.I. near where we lived. My mom let me have it when we got home, and then so did my father when he got home.
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    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    We used to do lots of stupid things. We'd be gone for hours riding bikes, wandering in the woods, fishing at the river, building hay forts and swinging on ropes in the barn with no adults around.

    I saw this recently and thought the stories from the guy at the 11:50 mark were pretty funny. When he says "brook" I'm pretty sure he meant the Connecticut River:

    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  15. #15
    Age 5: Kindergarden

    I walked to school: Path: walk down our dirt road, cut across a farm, which opened up to the back of the High School parking lot, cut through the parking lot, cross a street to get to the Elementary school....today, that would be child endangerment !!!

    ...never used sun-screen until I was an adult.

    Mom had only one rule: Be home in time for dinner.
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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    kindergarten was ... about 1/2 mi. away from home, and I'd sometimes walk home alone.
    Weenie. A few years ago I returned to the neighborhood where I grew up, and used the odometer on my car to check the distance I walked every single day between home and elementary school. It was 4.2 miles each way.

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    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    The house I grew up in backed onto a large, open field with lots of hills (which meant tobogganing in the winter, often resulting in injuries from kids who would inevitably wind up face first into a rock in the creek) and little patches of wooded areas. It was an amazing part of childhood for all of our neighbourhood. There were many hours where my parents wouldn't know where I was - no cell phones back then. We rode our bikes along the train tracks, we jumped from the trees into what I now realize was quite a shallow creek, we played sword battles with broken hockey sticks. We walked to and from school, and whipped icy snowballs at each other with all our might.

    But we always made it home in one piece for dinner. Evenings were 'indoor' time. Nowadays, I'd wager most kids spend considerably more time indoors in the daytime than we ever did, and get driven to school. When I was in school, the only kids who didn't walk to school were the ones who took the school bus. I never once saw someone's parent drop them off, or arrive in taxis.

    Last time I visited the area I grew up in, I was dismayed at the urban growth. That enormous field is now row upon row of houses and commercial buildings. There isn't even a hint of what it used to look like. Only the old pioneer cemetery remains, and even that is tucked behind a plaza. The whole area is a different world, it was almost shocking to me to see it.

    I don't know if my childhood was 'better' than the ones today, but I know I wouldn't trade mine for theirs. They have a lot of conveniences and amazing technology that I didn't have, but all I really needed back then was my bike and a few friends to go exploring with.
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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    Matches?

    Yup! We used to burn those bright orange Hot Wheels tracks , fanning those flaming noxious globs at each other.

    Match fights were the norm , as were neighborhood fires that we could barely contain.

    Fireworks?

    Yup! M80s were highly coveted for they were supposedly a quarter stick of dynamite and those fuckers were LOUD!
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  20. #20
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Weenie. A few years ago I returned to the neighborhood where I grew up, and used the odometer on my car to check the distance I walked every single day between home and elementary school. It was 4.2 miles each way.
    And it was uphill in both directions.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    I don't think I used a seat belt until well into high school.
    For YEARS after seat belts were introduced, my mom used to slam us in our chests at stop lights with her right arm. It was habit.

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosebone View Post
    We used to burn those bright orange Hot Wheels tracks , fanning those flaming noxious globs at each other.
    Never did that, but those were good for slapping brothers.

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    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Oh yes, and 90% of which the parents (both worked) were blissfully unaware:

    Playing with matches, lighting shit on fire, setting off illegal fireworks, making pipe bombs, smoking stolen cigarettes, drinking pilfered booze
    Wandering for miles, riding bikes in traffic, following streams, out past dark, trick or treating all without parental monitoring
    Sledding down steep trails at breakneck speed, sliding down steep grassy hills in boxes
    Jumping inside cars with no seat belts, throwing footballs at cars, later drinking and driving, driving off road, on sidewalks, peeling out on lawns, having car chases though residential neigborhoods - real madness!
    Fist-fights, bullying, viscous crab-apple fights, shooting and getting shot with bb guns and other obtainable weapons
    Climbing on roofs, through sewers, up abandoned towers, invading vacant buildings
    Insisting a neighborhood girl drop her dress and panties so I could check out her equipment
    Light bags of dogshit, ringing the doorbell and running

    ...the list of delinquency is endless. I feel sorry in a way for my kids that never experienced this stuff, but grateful at the same time they did not.
    Last edited by Buddhabreath; 1 Week Ago at 12:27 PM.
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    Pikachupacabra spellbound's Avatar
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    Long bicycle rides to and from school without helmets (we had never seen a bicycle helmet and didn't even think about them). Or a long walk if you chose to hoof it. No one ever asked why there were no buses. We didn't live near the school. We counted ourselves lucky because our Dad told us he had to walk 10 miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways.

    On weekends, even longer bike rides with friends, exploring for some distance, going to the trainyards to flatten coins on the tracks. Going through the trash of businesses and industries looking for treasures. Breaking bottles. Firing BB guns. Burning model cars. Balls of matchheads rolled up in aluminum foil. A cannon made of tin cans powered by lighter fluid (which anyone could buy) that fired tennis balls at great velocity. Go-karts. Got hit by a truck once while riding on a city street alongside the curb. Destroyed my bike but all I got was a couple bruises and went on my way, walking the broken bike. There were no bicycle lanes anywhere, as far as I can recall.

    Fireworks were legal, firecrackers and cherry bombs were not, but seemed to be omnipresent anyway. Minimal supervision for the legal ones, none at all for the explosive ones we weren't supposed to have.

    If you dared to be indoors on a sunny day, your parents would always say, "Go outside and play," which was parent-speak for "I don't care where you go or what you do, but you can't do it here." But be home in time for dinner. Summer nights we went back out after dinner until, or after, dark. Despite the seeming apathy, we knew our parents loved us.

    If sunscreen existed, we didn't hear about it until we were grown. Sunburn and peeling skin were normal.

    Teenage years were even crazier. I recall riding with my friend in his pickup with no exhaust pipes, sitting in a folding lawn chair in the cab because the truck seats weren't installed. Carbon monoxide was all we breathed on that loud and mercifully short ride.

    Drive-in theaters.

    Television without FOX or FOXNews. Only three networks and a handful of local channels. Nothing digital. For a long time, no TV remotes. No videotapes.

    We regularly rode in the open back of pickup trucks.

    Despite all our experiences involving fire, we never started an out-of-control blaze. But when we spotted a small wildfire in the weeds by the roadside on a nearby hill, we were the kids who ran home and called the fire department. We were nuts, but not irresponsible.

    We spent so much time having fun and laughing. Does anybody remember laughter?

    We survived all this, only to be "OK Boomered" by sedentary young people who assume every member of the baby boomer generation is the same.
    Can this be the swan song? The final elbow?

  25. #25
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    For YEARS after seat belts were introduced, my mom used to slam us in our chests at stop lights with her right arm. It was habit.
    Yep. There were no belts and the dashboard was entirely made out of metal. As an extra bonus, our car was a 2-door Dodge Dart sedan and the front bench seat folded forward to permit access to the back seat, but the seat back didn't lock into position, so in the event of a panic stop the seat would fold forward with the added weight of whatever kids were standing in the back pushing against it.

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