Growing up Without a Helmet

Today’s world has changed so much from the fifty plus years ago that I grew up in.  I’m lucky I survived.  Or maybe today’s world would not have survived fifty years ago.

How we survived is a miracle in itself.  Bicycle helmets were unheard of in the sixties.  Elbow and knee pads, are you kidding me?  We took our chances and actually showed off every skinned knee and elbow like a badge of honor.  We relished the retelling of our accidents with great animation and embellishment.  Of course after shedding huge tears and getting swabbed down with iodine, which stung much worse than the scrape.

My first trip to the emergency room was when I was three years old.  I was hot rodding on my tricycle and fell forward splitting my chin wide open requiring three stitches.  After that was when I grabbed a knife by the blade, of course, at four and sliced open my left hand.  I didn’t go back to the emergency room until I was eleven when at a huge family get together, I was showing my uncle how good I was at walking on my stilts.  My cousin sprayed me with a hose, causing me to lose my balance and the right stilt slipped and stabbed my left leg below the knee, leaving a huge gash.  That required thirteen stitches, three of which I promptly broke.  I didn’t have any more bleeding accidents after that, but suffered two broken toes and twisted ankles too many times too count.  I was not any more graceful growing up than I am now.

Today you get a ticket if your kids are not in safety seats or strapped in with seatbelts.  When I grew we sat on our parents laps or even stood up in the front seat while driving down the road.  Cars didn’t even come with seat belts.  We rode around in the back of pickup trucks and even sat on the tailgate while the truck was moving.  Granted I’m not advocating that, but we survived.  Today, no way, not with all of the lunatics on the road that are doing everything behind the wheel but driving.

Our parents would send us outside first thing in the morning and tell us not to come back inside until lunch.  There was no adult supervision while we played guns and war, had hideouts and forts in the woods.  We played on swing sets, swinging as high as we could then jumped off the swing just to taste the brief moment of flight.  There was also no predators (the human kind) either.  Today children are not allowed outside without adult supervision and rightfully so, because of the evil that lurks everywhere.

Today our parents would be arrested for child endangerment if we were allowed to live and play as we did fifty years ago.  We survived in spite of ourselves.  I know that a lot of the safe guards in place today are needed, but I also believe that some are too intrusive.  I for one am glad that I grew up when I did.  I don’t think I would do as well growing up today.