Did you have a normal childhood?

Did you have a normal childhood? Like I said on my bio page, growing up between two brothers and in a neighborhood of boys, I either ran with the pack or found my private corner of books and paper dolls.

The very senior people in one of my writing groups have been talking about such games as Red Rover – Red Rover, Eeny Einy Over and Kick the Can. I don’t go as far back as Kick the Can, but I have to admit, I’m guilty of sneaking out with my brother, during long summer evenings, to play Red Rover up on Oak Street. Oak Street, where we weren’t allowed to go, with the rough boys, we weren’t allowed to play with. Just before dark we’d hear Mom calling, trying to find us. All the kids around Oak Street got to stay out after dark. Then there was Eeny Einy over where we threw the ball back and forth over someone’s roof. Another game Dad would have hollered at us for, if he’d known we were playing.

When I became a pre-teen, we moved to a more girlie neighborhood. Like any busy/dizzy teen there were girl parties here, girl parties there – with the Girl Scout Troup or Job’s Daughters. My daughters and granddaughters roll their eyes as I tell them of kid-nap-breakfasts in our PJ’s. Guess that isn’t done any more, huh? (Sometimes I feel so retro.)

Today I live in a winter wonderland. Lots of time for writing when going out means getting stuck in the long driveway. The photos on the front page are scenes from past years around my home. Twelve inches expected today. We’ll be looking like the photos before the day is through. The green shot is for contrast. It shows the real reason we stay in this frozen tundra.

Deep snow sparked my imagination for another manuscript, Secrets in the Snow. It’s set in Northern Minnesota. Not sure the snow in my yard sticks around long enough to hide bodies. “Oops, don’t be giving it away!”

In the future, I’ll be commenting on the hidden statements here (very senior, girlie neighborhood, retro and more). Please share any thoughts and/or memories awakened by the words on this page.

Photographs are Copyrighted by, and used with permission of, Rancho Riescho Productions.


15 thoughts on “Did you have a normal childhood?

  1. Not sure what a normal childhood would be exactly. My brother and I grew up with a single parent and I guess nowadays that would be pretty normal. It wasn’t considered normal by many people I knew back then. I do remember my brother and I sneaking off and playing with the other kids my mom considered as troublemakers. I do not recall them being any more interesting then the kids my mom approved of. Maybe it was just the thrill of getting away with something that made us do it! 🙂

  2. Boy, can I relate! I love seeing children outside playing in the yard. Not enough of that is happening to children or adults as we become attached to our gadgets. Loved your blog…it brought back fond memories of playing football with my brother’s friends and I was the only girl….not that anyone noticed!

  3. Husband and I grew up playing in the streets all day and night until it was dark and our Moms called us home. Back then no adults ran games or organized anything. I grew up with only one younger brother, but there were about 8 girls my age on my block and we fought over everything! Alliances changed daily, and fistfights were common. We’d all make up afterwards and at our high school reunions we laughed over how we were all tomboys and didn’t even realize it!

    We made a conscious decision to raise our 4 in as close to a fashion as we could manage, to the way we were brought up. They did play a few organized sports like soccer, but mostly they hung out in the neighborhood. I made them promise to spend an equal amount of time outside, as they spent inside playing video games or watching TV. When they told me they were bored, I told them only boring people were bored. When they asked what there was to do, I told them to go lie on their backs and study the clouds then report to me what they saw…or to go study a bug or a tree and report what they had learned. They quickly learned to stop telling me they were bored! We took them to town fests in the summer and to the zoo every month. We took them to the only surviving drive-in movie and let them play on the equipment with dangerous sharp metal edges that their father had played on as a kid (since removed, more’s the pity!)

    They are all smart and independent. They still play more video games than I like and spend time on their computers or watching TV. But I hope when they have their own kids, they remember the halcyon days of their own youths and try to recreate it.

  4. Loved reading your comments about your childhood, as I was part of it. I have a lot of memories of us doing things together….we had a great time. Can’t wait to see future posts, so glad you created this blog.

  5. Love your blog.

    My memories of our family run to the Mack gatherings at Grandpa and Grandma Macks when all us cousin would play out in their big front yard in the fall amongst the leaves from the huge maple trees or out back in the barns, walking the old stump lane to the woods and back; of holiday gatherings with us all spread out all over their house for a meal; and of us getting together at your parents home for holiday gatherings also.

  6. Hi Jerol: reading Joanne Maul’s (“Joannie” to me) tales of her youth with her cousins brought many memories for me, too. I’m afraid I did have a very normal childhood in nearly all aspects, Jerol. I’m one of those who played outside those same games in summer nights until my Mom or Dad called us to come home and get ready for bed. One of the kid’s parents in the neighborhood “gang” had a police whistle they blew when time was up and that whistle probably made it unnecessary sometimes for the rest of our parents to call us home! I also fondly recall times spent with my cousins, including you, Jerol, at reunions and just plain family gatherings for a picnic or somebody’s birthday.And boy oh boy, how many hours didI spend in the stump lane, the barn, and the woods at Grandpa and Grandma Mack’s farm near Edmore. I remember my mother, Katherine, getting stuck part way up a large tree in those woods that was partially fallen and that she had tried to climb or really scoot up the tree. She got perhaps 10′ or so up the tree and could not proceed or get back down much to the delight of all of us watching! I think my Dad finally helped her scoot down the tree. Later, as a teen, I could take my .22 rifle to those woods and shoot a few times at nothing in particular…no animals or birds! Do you cousins remember the little pond at the end of the lane behind the large rock where a few ducks would land? Wonderful and comforting memories, Jerol!

  7. When I was young, my siblings and friends and I had so much freedom. We’d roam the neighborhood and undeveloped areas nearby until my Dad whistled to call us in for dinner. We sometimes got bit by chiggers or scratched by branches or dirty, but those were good times!

  8. Jerol – since you are married to my big bro – you’ve heard many stories of our overlapping childhoolds; including the many times he would pay hush money to keep me from tattling about his various misdeeds.

  9. Jerol, I love your site and the photos. Since I live just down the road from you I can relate. I have lived in so many different places and fallen in love with some aspect of each. I agree that there is no such thing as a normal childhood but as I look back I feel so priviledged. We lived just adjacent to a big farm, later turned into a park. It was the early 40’s (we were too young to take the war seriously) and my sister and I could sit in the field by a creek and play with our dolls. Mom’s whistle came loud and clear when it was time for supper. We did play all those games plus softball in the street out front. In winter we hauled the family toboggan over a mile with our friends and rode down a hill that ran over a road. Now when I think of that, scary. To this day I watch very little TV. I just spent 4 days in one of the loveliest places in WI: Two Rivers. I took my dogs and stayed at an inn on the beach, a place that also serves wonderful food and has lovely llighthouse paintings all over the walls. Talk about exotic. I never turned on a TV, radio, or talked on the phone. My head is clear. Coffee next week, Jerol??

  10. Thanks for your blog on gardening. It’s always a pleasure to see your garden. We’ve now been in our new home for a year. Gardening has been relegated to fixing the lawn. Between weeds and digging up part of the yard to fix an electrical issue, the yard needed some help. Now that that is moving along, we are planning on setting up an herb garden like we had at our previous house. It will include taragon, a couple types of mint, lemon balm, fennel, stevia and a couple more we will decide on. Once that is up and running we can look at putting in some vegetables. Lindsey makes some great tea from the herbs that we all like. I look forward to having it again.

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