I think I grew up on a different planet. I’m not sure how I made it here to the planet Earth, but here I am. I look back at my youth and realize that I must of been transported here from the U.S.S. Enterprise or by a group of Aliens.
I didn’t own an X-Box, Playstation or Wii. To entertain myself, I’d often go outside and imagine different scenarios. I turned the beaches of Oregon into the beaches of Normandy. A small piece of driftwood became a machine gun. Add a cowboy hat and I was the Sheriff in pursuit of outlaws. My buddies and I shot at each other on a regular basis. I was out with the Salem Police Department hunting the prisoners that escaped from the State Prison.
My Mom and Dad both worked full time. Nobody was around when I came home from school. Nobody was there to take me two different after school activities each day, and nobody was standing guard to protect me from harm.
I didn’t have a cell phone. When it was time to come in my Mom would open the door and yell my name. If I wasn’t within earshot, I wouldn’t be playing outside again for a few days.
My parents didn’t help me with my homework as I got older. I learned to manage my own time – sometimes by getting a failing grade for not having my homework finished. I learned that I was responsible for those grades.
I played baseball and got struck out after only 3 missed pitches. I didn’t get a trophy for participation. I played on the school football team. We lost a game or two. Nobody took me out and made me feel like I was still a winner. I learned to accept that sometimes my best efforts just weren’t good enough to get the job done. I learned that experience is just a fancy word for learning from your mistakes. I also learned to celebrate the wins because while they didn’t come easy, they were worth the effort.
I remember feeling like a donkey as I pulled a railroad tie around the yard of my parents house to level out a dump truck of dirt. As the grass seed finally grew in on the new lawn, I learned that things worth doing were worth doing right.
I pulled the weeds from the blind neighbors yard. I knew that she wouldn’t be able to tell if I did a good job or not, but I did the best I could (I also knew my parents lived next door and COULD tell if I’d done a good job or not).
I went to church on Sunday mornings, again on Sunday evening and frequently on Wednesday evening. I enjoyed the Sunday dinner with the family at a restaurant. I remember visiting relatives and being bored beyond belief. Yet somehow, I managed to learn to value my elders. I look back now and realize that I loved my time with Aunt Loreen while my parents visited Grandma. She had spent her life teaching children at the one room country school and she had a ton of experiences that she shared with me.
On the rare occasion that I did something wrong, I received my punishment. Sometimes with a belt. Sometimes with a kitchen spoon. Sometimes just a stern lecture. But receive it I did. I recall being grounded all summer for trying to take the motor home to school on the last day of the year. (That taught me to be precise. Measure how close to the house the motor home is parked so that you can duplicate it when parking it.)
Not sure where I’m going with this post – except to say that we used to entertain ourselves. We used our imagination more than I think the youth of today do. Today its structure and organized events. I fear for the future of the creative jobs….
Sorry for the rambling…