I am not the author of the following words; they came to me in a random email and the original author is unknown. They are so profound, however, I could not pass them up…with a little embellishment from myself.
To Those of Us Born between 1935 and 1970
At the very start, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. Our mothers took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes…or much of anything else. Then, after the trauma of birth, we were put to sleep on our tummies in our baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, worn tires, and weak brakes. We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat, and, when thirsty, we drank water from a backyard garden hose and not a bottle. We shared one bottled soft drink with four friends, and no one died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar…and we weren’t overweight.
We were either in school or we played outside. If the weather was nice, we were seldom inside our houses. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, coming home only for snacks and lunch, but we had to be home by the time the street lights came on at night. No one was able to reach us practically all day…and we were okay. We guys would spend hours building our go-carts out of wood scraps and wagon wheels and ride them down the hill realizing then that we should have considered brakes. After running into bushes and hitting street curbs a few times, we solved the problem.
We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos, and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no iPods, so smart phones, no internet, and no chat rooms. We had real human friends, and we went outside and found them.
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones, and teeth…and there were no lawsuits…even if it happened at school or someone else’s home. If we got a paddling at school, we got another one at home, because our parents supported our teachers. We received spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, a leather belt, or just a bare hand, and no one called child services to report abuse. We ate worms and mud pies (real), and the worms did not live in us forever. We boys were given BB guns and pocket knives for our tenth birthday as a rite of passage. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were warned by our parents, we did not put out too many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door. If no one answered, we would just walk in…the door was unlocked anyway. Little League had tryouts, and not everyone made the team. Those who did not learned to deal with the disappointment. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of…the parent sided with the law.
Using the warped guidelines of the current crop of child psychologists and human development theorists, each of us who grew up in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s would have been classified “severely at risk.” And yet our generations have produced some of the finest problem solvers, risk takers, and inventors in history. We experienced success and failure, freedom and responsibility…and we learned how to deal with it all. To each of us who truly experienced life and survived…cheers!