Saturday, August 1, 2015

Right time, right place, no regrets (6WS)

My mother was a city woman, and the city held no terrors for her:  (this was also the 1950s, a very different animal)  when we moved there the year I was 9, I was stunned to realize that I was given almost complete physical freedom without the annoying mummy-daddy thing going on.

In the country,  where I started out, I was kept on a really tight lead:  my folks bought into the idea of lecherous truckers with candy and cute little girls at risk--it was drummed into me that you never never talked to strangers.   If I went anywhere, it was in the company of an adult.

The transition for a soon to be 9 year old girl was incredible. I must admit, I spent half my time lost in a school that had 1000 kids (four times as many kids as the pop. of the town I came from) or trying to find the Principal's office, or  learning city rules vs. country rules, but still...

In the city I acquired two bands of girlfriends, and I became a marauding, wide ranging kid, all over the streets, I had shortcuts to the library, the church, the school...god help people's lawns, lol--on Saturday I would disappear after breakfast and not surface until nearly supper time, just in time for Roy Rogers.  Never once did my mother quiz me (and a good thing too) about my day, she seemed blithely unconcerned.  Not speak to strangers?  my GFs and I spent all one summer making and selling potholders, door to door, 2 for a quarter.  We cleaned up.  If we'd had baby sisters or brothers we'd have peddled them too.

That was where I learned to ride a bike, and that, surprisingly, was limited to our parking lot (we lived in an apartment) and never on the street.

When we returned to NH the clamp came down again, but now I could ride the bike anywhere I wanted, even to school, 8 miles away.  Go figure.

I never had another bike and by the time I was 15 or 16 it was just too much effort to haul me and the bike up our steep hills so I became a walker. But the difference in attitude was stunning.

Those two years in the city were, as a kid, two of the happiest and scariest  years of my growing up. I wept when we moved back here...=)  sometimes I wonder what might have happened if we had stayed:  obviously there's no way of knowing,  or even guessing, but I would not be the me I am now. That much is clear.  What is also clear,  I have no regrets.  Right time, right place.  No regrets

24 comments:

  1. Lucky you. My youth was in cookie-cutter, crackerbox suburbia, which (I guess, given to total freedom to roam from sunrise to well after sunset) had its advantages, but...after all, it was cookie-cutter crackerbox suburbia.
    I lived in cities later, but I'm in heaven now.

    Nice write, JT.

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  2. I'm glad you have no regrets. Life's too short for regrets.

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  3. No regrets is the only way to be. A fantastic insight and read. xx

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  4. thanks, Ron. It takes time, but we do eventually, if we're lucky, find the right spot to settle into, like that butterfly on the right plant.

    And the freedom you had is not surprising, boys then were considered to be less of a risk/hazard than girls were.

    My husband was an only, as I was, but his family was so entrenched in this town (going back for two hundred years) that he was given total "little prince" freedom to wander anywhere he wanted. No one held his hand or said no you can't do that. Boys were less of a concern than girls, I think.

    Luckily he was a good kid at heart and never turned into the local arsonist or whatever passes for thugdom in a small town.

    but yeah, lucky me. At least I had two good years of it.

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  5. well, id not say I havent had a bootload of regrets, but for two years there at the start it was pretty cool. It was a good memory to hang onto for a very long time as something positive. we all need that, I think.

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  6. I enjoyed your post. I was surprised, though, that you were so closely monitored in the small town but given a lot of freedom in the city. It's kind of the opposite of what I would have expected. :-)

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  7. Well, we lived outside of town and from my mother's perspective totally isolated. no houses in view, even though they were there, just up the road or down. Her POV was City Woman In Scary Country. She was, frankly, a snob, and never quite lost that; in all her 60 years of living there, her only close friends were folks from away. sigh.
    It took me years to realize how isolated she must have felt. I didnt feel that at all, and right now my husband and I live so far off the main road we cant even SEE the main road. lol.
    But I suspect she'd have been just as nervous in town as out of it. Small town or not, they were still 'locals'.

    But I agree, and from what I see of city living today, no matter how neighborly the neighborhood, Id probably do some heavy thinking if I had kids, about where they go and what they did.

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  8. excellent attitude- you made the best of where ever you were!

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  9. Grew up on RAF bases in England. Same freedom.
    Moved to South Africa as an adult and wouldn't dream of doing half the stuff we did as kids.

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  10. Ark, exactly. It depends on time frames, place, and what you can get away with. Sadly, whether place merits it or not, parents now hug their precious charges to themselves and refuse to even let them sit alone on the steps to watch fireflies.

    when do these precious bundles have time to do nothing?

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  11. Never much point to regrets, Judy. Memories are better :)

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  12. how wise you are, Jo. thanks

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  13. I wonder if part of the change was the age you were? I guess we will never know that, either.

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  14. Everything changes us, Mlissabeth--I think about that now and then, and thats an excellent question.

    At that age, to be truthful, we're a bit like Gumby, not quite shaped out, and wide open to experience. It was such a radical shift for me to go from a country back road to the middle of a Boston suburb--it was two years of learning things that most kids took for granted. Someone actually had to show me how to play hopscotch, how to jump rope. I went from no close friends to two sets, in about six months. =)

    Sometimes it's fun to speculate about 'what if' and sometimes its just too complicated to deal with. Take a right turn, and miss the accident that you'd have been part of if you'd taken the left instead. and all that could have ensued from that. =)

    thank you for that question. Ill be gnawing on it lightly, for quite some time, just for fun.

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  15. I spent my life in the country, never thought I would live in town. I moved to town 9 years ago and I don't mind it. Im retired now so I can be just as lazy here as in the country. However our farm was only 8 miles from where we are now. I went to the country yesterday, Still like it there too.

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  16. All of my life except two years, the same. The difference was, this was a large Boston suburb, not a town. there were a thousand kids in the 6 grade school building I went to, three stories of them. And across town there was another grade school with just as many kids if not more.
    I wouldnt mind city life like that, but in a small town or community you generally have the privacy of a caged bird...that I wouldnt like. I guess for me it's all or nothing when it comes to where to live.

    And retired isnt all bad, is it. Pretty much do what you want. I like that part too. Lucky for us, what we want to do is what we have to do, too.

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  17. This is the same town where I attended school. I even worked in this town for awhile. not Boston, I have been there too, but not to live.

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  18. well id eat glass rather than live in Boston itself, but the outlying suburbs are doable. I just hope I never have to.

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  19. There was 32 kids in the 6th grade here, just about the right amount to me. They reorganized the school after I graduated, now the whole county attends one high school. I barely escaped that.

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  20. A great story ... you've caught the feeling of inevitable change that time brings with it ...

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  21. Thanks, Georgia. I hadnt thought of it quite that way, but you're right.
    It can be hard sometimes to realize that change happens not only to us but to people we used to know; they grow, morph, turn into adults with or without our permission or approval. Thats sometimes the hardest part.
    Like your site btw. It's quite lovely

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  22. So much that a bike can do. Awesome story. :)

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