Free-Range Kids..

2017-02-01_06-09-05.pngI know that free-range chickens are now quite a fad especially when you hear stories about the other method of raising them. I don’t know but I guess people tend to think that they taste better because they have a variety of weeds, stones, and such to eat. Myself I prefer the $4.88 roasted chickens from Sam’s Club. 🙂

This post is not really about chickens but a story about my youth. I was definitely a free-range kid.  I roamed the neighborhood, at least a couple blocks of it.  As long as I was home for supper I usually didn’t get into any trouble.

Well I admit that I did get into some trouble . Me and Johnny Gallagher liked to visit the mushroom factory a couple of blocks away. It really wasn’t a factory as such but more like a couple of metal building and a giant pile of cow manure out back. We especially liked to climb the trees out front. That’s where I got into trouble. While climbing one day I grabbed hold a a dead limb and fell out of the tree. Unfortunately I fell onto a old metal picket type fence and drove it into my back. That meant a trip to the ER with a nearly pierced lung. But in the end everything turned out OK.

While we were still a family, me and my two brothers walked to school each day. It was about 4 blocks from the house and we only had to cross one busy street so my parents thought that was ok to do.

One of my neighborhood adventures during those years was to visit a small lumber yard about four blocks from the house. The owner there would allow us to go through his scrap pile of loose ends from cutting boards to size. Over time I got quite a bit of wood from that pile but don’t really remember making anything with it.

2017-02-01_06-02-20.pngAnother memorable route was to the drug store on Pendleton Pike. It was about eight blocks from the house so that was usually the outer bounds of my travels.  They had a soda fountain there that for 15 cents you could get a “Suicide” which as a soda with a bunch of different flavors squirts. We didn’t go there often since my 35 cent weekly allowance was usually spent of a Saturday movie and with popcorn it took all that money.

I was a free range kid and except for the fall it didn’t harm me. In fact it taught me how to be adventurous. Even if I didn’t take that lesson to heart enough in my adult years.  I see that the statistics show that you are no more likely to be abducted now than you were in my adventurous days sixty years ago so I guess most parents are just much more cautious now. But I do wonder if kids were more free-range now would they get out from behind their video games and out into the neighborhood and maybe even grow up to be better adults?

3 thoughts on “Free-Range Kids..

  • My kids were “free range”, even overseas. They often walked to the pool in Hong Kong or the soccer field in Hawaii. My son’s kids are pretty free range, but they live on a military base. At three that means the older can go out to the backyard to ride bikes or play dolls. My daughter’s kids are closely held. One of her neighbors had CPS called on them because her girls were in the back yard, for several hours, alone! Gasp! Their mom was shocked when police and CPS arrived to tell her that they could not be out there without supervision (Kids were 5 and 3. Mom was in the kitchen.)
    Both my husband and I were free range. My range was the five miles to school. His was the entire town.
    How will kids ever learn to be independent without that range to move in?
    Free range chicken is a joke. They keep them in a house for their lives until the day of their pick up. Then they open the doors and “permit” them to go outside. Most birds do not venture out. ( Why people are called “chicken”.) The trucks come and load them up. LOL. Unless you buy from a family- those chickens are not really “free” 😉


  • Rod, i really enjoyed reading this blog. I feel sorry for children today. I grew up in a time where all the kids in my town were allowed to play all day wherever we pleased. My Mom did not know where we were and sure didn’t worry about us. We includes my younger brother and sister who I was the boss of.
    I cannot recall anyone trying to hurt or kidnap any of us. We were as carefree as young colts. In the dead of winter in Iowa, our mother made us go outside and play for a time. We never objected to it and played in the snow and with our one sled. I raised my own children the same way in a small town in Indiana. No one took or hurt any of them either. I don’t know what kin of memories today’s kids are going to have by staying indoors on electronic toys and telephones all the time. They are isolated. Too bad. And sad. Thanks for your writings.


  • Thanks Jan and Joyce for your free-range stories. It sounds like we all three experienced free-range childhood. It kind of surprised me to see that the statistics are about the same for child abductions then and now. Maybe it is just where you live? I suspect NYC is different from Indiana or Minneapolis. I don’t seem to have a lot of childhood memories left in my any more. I guess the years have driven them from memory but I do still have the powerful ones like free-range, and of course about life with mother… 🙂


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