When Youth Ran Free

When Youth Ran Free


I grew up on the west side of Madison, WI. On Sundays you didn’t ask if you were going to church you got ready and went …It was during a time when everyone treated each other like Family. We went outside to play, we got dirty…. We bought ice cream from the ice-cream man. We played Red Light, Green Light, Kick the Can, Simon Says, Hide and Seek, Dodge Ball, Red Rover, Baseball, Stickball, Softball and Football. We could ride our bikes to the store, or the park, and stay all day.

We ate beans & hot dogs, mac and cheese & peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches. We walked or rode a bike everywhere and never worried about safety. We never thought to lock our windows or doors at night. We had chores to do around the house, we helped clean off the table after a meal and ate our meals as a family at a table together. We weren’t AFRAID OF ANYTHING, ‘cept our parents. If you fell down you would just get back up.

We challenged each other everywhere…King of the hill. If someone had a fight, that’s what it was…a fight. Kids weren’t afraid of fake guns when I grew up. We respected our parents, our teachers, the American flag, the principal AND God. We said the Pledge of Allegiance every time we went to school.

We left our houses as soon as we could in the morning and right after school till 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 to go home. We watched our mouths around our elders because we knew If we DISRESPECTED any adult there would be a price to pay and we had manners and respect otherwise someone else’s parents put you in your place. I would not trade anything for the childhood we had, for we had enough and we had love and all that made us the adults we are today.


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