Free Range Kids…

I am going to tell you a story about when I was growing up in the 1950s and then put a modern twist to it.

I don’t have a lot of memories prior to my eighth year of life. I vaguely remember spots here or there before then. But I do remember when we moved into our brand new $14,000 tract house in the suburbs when I was 8-years-old. There were five of us living in a 900 square foot, three bedroom, one bathroom house. Compared to where we lived prior to that this was a modern mansion.

My new suburban neighborhood was an adventure waiting to happen. We lived 4 blocks away from the Catholic school I attended so I and my two brothers walked that distance every day. There was also a gas station across the street from the school that infatuated me. I spent quite a bit of time watching them gassing up cars, checking the oil, and of course, cleaning the windshield. That gas station proved invaluable a couple of years later when I broke my collarbone trying out for the school football team and as a result, wore a very hot and itchy plaster vest through the summer. With the station hose, I blew a stream of air under the plaster vest to make things at least tolerable.

We lived eight blocks away from the drugstore with a soda fountain. It was on a busy road and we weren’t really supposed to go there but on occasion did so anyway. I always ordered the “suicide” which included squirts of a half-dozen of the flavors available.

Then there was the mushroom factory about four blocks away from home where we loved to climb the freshly delivered piles of dirt which in reality were piles of composted cow manure! We didn’t know that is what they were but that would have made it even cooler. (ha). But, there was that day when I was climbing the trees in front of the factory and fell down on a sharp wrought iron fence due to climbing out on a broken limb. They told my dad in the emergency room that the fence came within an inch of puncturing my lung! But, except for a “bragging” scar no real damage was done. That episode did make me more aware of the dangers around me. That proved to be a valuable lesson I’m sure.

I’m running out of space here but I did want to mention the lumber yard that was about 6 blocks from home. We got much of the material we needed for our adventure projects from the scrap pile there. The owner sometimes gave us small pieces of wood that he cut off customer orders and sometimes we would sneak in on our own to get them. It was kind of like a commando raid for us.

The moral of this story is that I learned to be an adventurous person from my childhood years. I learned what it was like to be out on my own. All those lessons would help shape my adult life.

I was a free range kid…

Finally getting to the point of this story, I saw something recently on the PBS Newshour that the average ten-year-old has likely never been more than two blocks away from his home unaccompanied! There is apparently too much parental fear of abduction and such now. But, the statistics just don’t bear out this fear. In reality, kids are much safer today than they were in my day.

Are we stunting our kids by keeping them homebound and not letting them be free-range as we were in my generation? Are we preventing them from the adventures of discovery? Are we stifling the future inventor and innovators? That, along with the fears should be on the minds of all parents today.

What do you think?

Being Alone…

2018-08-27_08-16-02Even after 32 years of marriage being alone is something I still relish. It seems I must have my alone time. That seems to be especially true now that I am in my senior years.  But, I have always been pretty much a loner. I just never have seemed to know what to do in a group.

I suspect a big part of this is probably due to my self-proclaimed Asperberger’s Syndrome. Interactions with others have always been difficult for me.  It takes a special person to accept my nuances and call me a friend. I have had a few in my life.

Being alone is self-empowering to me. It is when I have my most creative thoughts. My daily routine includes several “alone” times.

After my daily shower, I am alone to digest the latest news via my Internet feeds. I admit that that particular alone time is shrinking by self-choice as I just can’t seem to stomach what is going on in America today.

Another serious alone time is my man-cave otherwise known as the barn. I am fortunate enough to have a 24 x48 ft pole barn where I do all my physical type things.  It is where I spend quite a bit of time working on uRV ( my micro RV). This weeks project is to rubberize the roof to keep out all those pesky leaks during downpours.

Another alone time is “going up to the mountain”. That is the highest point on my property where I have a six-foot glider.  I spend many warm weather hours up there swinging and reading and just plain looking at the sky and thinking.

Being alone is something I can very much handle…

On Vacation Until ??

canstockphoto19651352.jpgI’m taking some time off from RJsCorner to do some yard work and other special projects.

One of those projects is to bring up a new website for my photo portfolios.  Flickr and such just don’t meet my requirements so I am designing a site of my own.  My Information Technology (IT) experience comes in handy even in my retirement years. 🙂

I’ll let you know when that is up and what the URL is.  I expect it to be finished in a couple of weeks. I don’t know how long I will be gone from RJsCorner.  If Congress can take a vacation from their madness, I guess I can too.

Thinking About Life

2018-07-27_08-00-21.pngThe picture here from my Facebook friend The Idealist brought back some rather pleasant memories. In the past and to a much lesser degree even today I have often sat out on a starry night and talked to myself about life. These were often times where I was approaching meltdown due to having so many people around me.  One of the main purposes was to be alone with my thoughts so, no, there was no one with me.

Many of those 2am nights were while I was attending college at Purdue University. It seems I was never along except for these times. I shared a room with Bob for four years and even though I really liked him I needed my alone time.  So, about once a month you could find me at 2am along the railroad track out by the airport looking at the sky and dreaming about life.  I often played a game where I tried to imagine what I would be doing 20, 30, or even 40 years in the future.  On a tangent note, there just doesn’t seem to be as many stars in the sky as there were during those years. 🙂

 

 

About Our Personal Mortality…

My father was one of those people who could not deal with his own mortality.  When a discussion was about death issues, he would say “this is too gruesome” and leave the room. He just didn’t want to think about it.

I, on the other hand, have no qualms about discussing my own death. In fact, I am ready to accept it as each day comes and passes. That doesn’t mean that I welcome death, I would like to have a long and fruitful life still ahead of me, but if that doesn’t happen then so be it. I just don’t need to fret about it.

canstockphoto3200467.jpgIn the last year or so I have lived my life with a one-day-at-a-time philosophy. During my morning shower, I always thank the Lord for yesterday and the day just starting. I don’t worry too much about the future anymore. Presently to me, the future means tomorrow but I do still allow myself to dream about days sometimes way beyond tomorrow.

I also no longer worry about the past or the many mistakes I made along the way.  You can’t do anything about them so I have finally accepted that worrying about them is useless. What matters to me now is that I live each day with the possibility of it being my last. To me, that concept is not morbid instead it is freeing as it forces me to enjoy all the time I have left.

Dad, like his father and grandfather, died in his 78th year. If that is the case for me then I have about 2,300 beautiful days on this earth to enjoy yet.  I plan on cherishing each one 🙂

 

The Hardest Years…

I suppose the title of this post has different meanings to different people.  From recent comments, it is used to describe the “post-truth” era that many seem to think we are in.  To many, the hardest years are the ones that they are currently living in.  Being a history guy I have a longer view than that.  But this is not at all what this post is about. 🙂

These are the first words from a quote from Helen Hays shown below

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I couldn’t agree more. At the tender age of ten, I had just taken up a Jack London book entitled “White Fang”. That was my first serious look at the world beyond my front door.  It opened up a world I had never imagined.  Due to circumstances, I was pretty mature for a ten-year-old.  My narcissistic mother had just abandoned me, my younger brother, and my dad for greener pastures.  I didn’t really know what was going on but imagined it was my fault. I knew my life was going to be quite different than it had been.

canstockphoto8329344.jpgBetween ten and seventy were episodes that challenged me. I struggled to pay my own way through college by working forty hours a week in addition to a near full course load. I knew my social skills were lacking but I never realized the extent until years later.  I would become deaf at the age of forty and was laid off at the age of fifty-four.  Thankfully I had saved enough money and had enough years of employment to earn a significant pension.

It was not until the age of seventy that I finally decided that my hardest years were behind me. Social status no longer meant anything if it ever did. I simply didn’t care what others thought of me. The age of seventy was indeed at the end of my hard years.

Thanks, Helen for helping me realize that fact.

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