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The Wild Children of Yesteryear
New York Times ^ | 5-31-14 | JON GRINSPAN

Posted on 06/01/2014 6:40:44 PM PDT by windcliff

PHILADELPHIA — DINNER with your children in 19th-century America often required some self-control. Berry stains in your daughter’s hair? Good for her. Raccoon bites running up your boy’s arms? Bet he had an interesting day.

As this year’s summer vacation begins, many parents contemplate how to rein in their kids. But there was a time when Americans pushed in the opposite direction, preserved in Mark Twain’s cat-swinging scamps. Parents back then encouraged kids to get some wildness out of their system, to express the republic’s revolutionary values.

American children of the 19th century had a reputation. Returning British visitors reported on American kids who showed no respect, who swore and fought, who appeared — at age 10 — “calling for liquor at the bar, or puffing a cigar in the streets,” as one wrote. There were really no children in 19th-century America, travelers often claimed, only “small stuck-up caricatures of men and women.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: History; Society
KEYWORDS: america; american; bar; british; children; cigar; dinner; english; fight; fought; kids; liquor; men; republic; reputation; revolutionary; smoking; summer; swore; travelers; vacation; values; wild; women; youth
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1 posted on 06/01/2014 6:40:44 PM PDT by windcliff
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To: windcliff

The day we started emulating the British cultural values, was the day our country started to deteriorate.


2 posted on 06/01/2014 6:45:10 PM PDT by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)
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To: windcliff

3 posted on 06/01/2014 6:45:17 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: windcliff

Kids will be kids.


4 posted on 06/01/2014 6:45:20 PM PDT by Sasparilla
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To: CorporateStepsister

Thats a pretty absurd statement.


5 posted on 06/01/2014 6:47:14 PM PDT by Wyrd bi ful ard (Pope Calvin the 1st, defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades)
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To: cripplecreek

No $10,000.00 broken arms or legs, either.


6 posted on 06/01/2014 6:50:17 PM PDT by Tonytitan
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To: windcliff

7 posted on 06/01/2014 6:54:33 PM PDT by windcliff
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To: windcliff

this describes me!!


8 posted on 06/01/2014 6:55:44 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: windcliff

Had to grow up fast in those days.


9 posted on 06/01/2014 6:56:00 PM PDT by Darren McCarty (Abortion - legalized murder for convenience)
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To: windcliff

10 posted on 06/01/2014 6:56:03 PM PDT by windcliff
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To: Wyrd bið ful aræd
Thats a pretty absurd statement.

It is! I visited Exeter in England in the 1970's and saw enough of the university culture ( at the summer break ) to have an epiphany that the American character and outlook is just that close to the British. Witness Monty Python. Say no more, say no more.

11 posted on 06/01/2014 6:56:10 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: cripplecreek

In the 60’s we rode our bikes everywhere. Helmets? those were for firemen. Many summer nights used to sleep outside in tents over friends backyards. Walkie talkies were the closest thing to a cell phone we had and with limited range.


12 posted on 06/01/2014 6:56:37 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: windcliff
OMG!! Get Down From There - You'll Kill Yourselves ~

 photo tumblr_mpi8j6esEl1rl5twmo1_500_zps6eadc5a6.jpg


13 posted on 06/01/2014 6:56:39 PM PDT by SkyDancer (If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers you are misinformed)
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To: cripplecreek

My 5 were born in the 60s——the 70s were chaos for me.

A rite of passage was jumping off of the high diving board.

It’s now gone.

Pathetic.

.


14 posted on 06/01/2014 6:57:34 PM PDT by Mears
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To: Wyrd bið ful aræd

“Thats a pretty absurd statement.”

It’s 100% accurate and a life we should return to!!!

I’m 77 and enjoyed every second of the 40s and 50s.


15 posted on 06/01/2014 6:58:14 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: windcliff

I used to walk home from school with my friends. Then we’d play outside—biking, or exploring the woods, or building tree houses from spare lumber that was lying around. I pulled the nails used to build the tree house out of old crates or anywhere I found them, then pounded them straight and used them over again.

One huge maple tree behind our apartment building went up more than four stories high, and I used to climb up to the top of it and walk across between the split trunks on a pretty thin branch. I have a natural fear of heights, but I managed to work around it and get it under control.

One of my friends had a divorced mother who used to spend most of her evenings in a bar across the street, and I remember I sometimes went over with him to the bar to persuade her to come home when it was his bed time. No one seemed to mind a couple of kids walking into the bar like that. My friend usually got himself dressed and made his own breakfast in the morning, since more often than not his mother was sleeping off a hangover. We always seemed to get to the bus stop in time to catch the school bus.

We played with knives at school. I always carried a pocket knife. I also had a pineapple hand grenade that my uncle gave me when he came back from the front—with the explosives removed from it. I took it to school a couple of times to show my teachers and classmates. No fuss.


16 posted on 06/01/2014 6:58:43 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Mears

Pick up baseball games with no helmets or pads for anybody.


17 posted on 06/01/2014 6:59:19 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: SkyDancer

Not so many cars on the road circa 1958 so it was safer to ride your bike in the street, even without wearing a helmet.


18 posted on 06/01/2014 7:04:58 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: cripplecreek

We used to have neighborhood football games—tackle style. No helmets nor pads. Super fun to play when it was snowing.


19 posted on 06/01/2014 7:05:40 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: All
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20 posted on 06/01/2014 7:07:43 PM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: cripplecreek

Backyard tackle football, too.


21 posted on 06/01/2014 7:09:52 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: TADSLOS

We used to take off and ride bikes down the railroad bed a mile or so to go fishing at 8 or 10 years old.


22 posted on 06/01/2014 7:12:26 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: Mears

The high board proved you had guts.
Carried a knife from 6 years old.
Played sports with no protective gear.
Drank from the hose.
Mom kicked us out of the house early and didn’t let us back in until dinner.
Got injured. Got over it.
Drove at 14. Took driving test at 16 and passed.
First beer at 14. First cigarette then too.
Got into fist fights as early as 2nd grade. Never thought about pulling my knife.
Treated girls with respect. Treated elders with respect.
Thing is that kids bounce. Most moms now don’t realize that.


23 posted on 06/01/2014 7:13:18 PM PDT by Texas resident (The democrat party is now the CPUSA)
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To: windcliff

One thing I enjoyed as a kid was getting a flashlight, going down to the outlet at the nearby bayou, and entering and exploring the concrete ‘storm drains’ that ran underneath the neighborhood. Cobwebs, slime, cockroaches. I walked many blocks ‘underneath’ the streets. Gloriously spooky.

My parents would not have approved, had they known. But, when you were a kid back then, there seemed to be adventure awaiting around every corner. Watching “Tarzan” movies each weekend and reading “Sgt. Rock” comic books, I think it just instilled that sort of thing in you.

I just don’t see kids outdoors or doing much of anything anymore. Are they all inside with their smartphones?


24 posted on 06/01/2014 7:15:06 PM PDT by greene66
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To: Ciexyz

My great grandad grew up on the streets of Brooklyn. They played stick ball in traffic.


25 posted on 06/01/2014 7:22:45 PM PDT by SkyDancer (If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers you are misinformed)
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To: Texas resident

Your post is making me melancholy——those were carefree days.

I never drove my kids to school either-——ever. Everyone in the neighborhood walked no matter what the weather. (Inner suburb—no school buses).

.


26 posted on 06/01/2014 7:29:19 PM PDT by Mears
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To: onedoug

27 posted on 06/01/2014 7:30:41 PM PDT by windcliff
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To: windcliff

1. The rise of the perpetually annoyed class
2. The successful project by lawyers to turn anything that is usual or unusual into a lawsuit.
3. The unwillingness of judges to shut down stupid lawsuits.
4. The willingness of juries to award good sized money to plaintiffs who were plainly at fault in their injury.
5. Too many families without fathers.
6. Cable tv.

All of these have contributed to the demise of our children’s adventure based childhood.


28 posted on 06/01/2014 7:37:16 PM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: windcliff
We had mud-clod fights (you could really increase velocity-distance when you flung it from a stick), bottle-rocket wars, shot birds with a BB gun, played pickup football, baseball, and basketball, and had VERY unsafe playgrounds (got more than one concussion getting flung off the merry-go-round at the park).

When I built a tree fort for my kids in 2000, I decided to make it 6 feet tall (instead of the 2-4 feet they usually do today). Nobody got hurt, but we did have some parents who were nervous their kids came out to play in it.

29 posted on 06/01/2014 7:42:30 PM PDT by MuttTheHoople (Ob)
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To: cripplecreek

Looking back, I’m amazed I wasn’t suffocated from a cave in digging forts, or turning into a grease spot on the street pavement racing bikes barefooted, or getting my eye shot out by a bb gun.


30 posted on 06/01/2014 7:44:39 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: TADSLOS

APPLE WAR!!!!!


31 posted on 06/01/2014 7:45:42 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: Texas resident

We too were kicked out of the house...sometimes locked out...LOL! We lived in the Country and could always find something to do.

Started driving when I was under 10 years old.

Same as you, played all kinds of sports. I see the softball players now with the face cages and protective gear and just roll my eyes.

Rode on the tractor fender right above the wheels...had to hang on tight as it was pretty bouncy as Dad drove through the fields.

Drove a tractor through the side of the barn when I was about 5. Baled hay and worked on/around extremely dangerous equipment from the time I was a tiny kid.

Rode my bike 5 miles into town by myself to see Grandma...did that a lot. Grandpa paid me to pick up nails after they added onto the house (when I was 4 or 5); gave me a penny for each that I found. Kept me in candy for most of one Summer (I think he was putting out new nails...LOL!)

By the time we were 10-12, we all had mini-bikes and snowmobiles.

Spent a lot of time in the emergency room, but had a lot of fun.

Oh...the local bar was the only place that had video games...so we were always running in and out of there. Good hamburgers, too.


32 posted on 06/01/2014 7:46:46 PM PDT by garandgal
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To: Ciexyz

Not so many cars on the road circa 1958 so it was safer to ride your bike in the street, even without wearing a helmet.

I call BS to that. I was on great blocks the last few days here in Montco Texas and I pictured kids riding their bikes. The problem is kids would rather stay in and play video games or watch TV.


33 posted on 06/01/2014 7:48:21 PM PDT by Undecided 2012
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To: SkyDancer
My great grandad grew up on the streets of Brooklyn. They played stick ball in traffic.

I also grew up in Brooklyn. We were still doing it in the 70s.

34 posted on 06/01/2014 7:48:27 PM PDT by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: cripplecreek

LOL! for me, on the Colorado prairie, it was dirt clods and swimming in the livestock tanks. I guess it’s really a miracle I’m alive and my parents weren’t sent to prison for child endangerment by today’s standards.


35 posted on 06/01/2014 7:49:25 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: windcliff

“Hello Uncle George.”


36 posted on 06/01/2014 7:50:41 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: Gabz
Great! So the sport is not dead yet. He was doing it in the 50's. Sorta like this:

 photo thidHN_zps34cba80b.jpg

 photo thidHN_zps11692fe8.jpg

37 posted on 06/01/2014 7:53:11 PM PDT by SkyDancer (If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers you are misinformed)
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To: garandgal

great post, I’m so thankful I too was raised to have freedom. Although it could be my mom had 6 kids and couldn’t keep track of us all as we grew up since household duties laundry shopping etc etc had to be done. What was kool was you could always make money in the city. I honestly don’t know what is wrong with kids today.


38 posted on 06/01/2014 7:55:20 PM PDT by Undecided 2012
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To: SkyDancer

yo great post, have you ever played half ball?


39 posted on 06/01/2014 7:57:00 PM PDT by Undecided 2012
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To: TADSLOS

Looking back, I’m amazed I wasn’t suffocated from a cave in digging forts, or turning into a grease spot on the street pavement racing bikes barefooted, or getting my eye shot out by a bb gun.

Wow you are so right


40 posted on 06/01/2014 7:59:26 PM PDT by Undecided 2012
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To: Ciexyz

Uhh, Dude.

If you’re in a bicycle/car accident, it is possible a helmet may be of some value, but it’s not likely.

A helmet is mostly of value when you crash solo and bounce your skull off the pavement, and not always then. I speak as someone who crashed that way 10 years ago, broke his pelvis in five places, and didn’t put a scratch on the helmet. Still use it, in fact. LOL


41 posted on 06/01/2014 8:02:07 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Undecided 2012

What’s half ball? My dad showed me stick ball. Mom didn’t care so much since we took the handle from a broom. We both went all over trying to find a pink Spalding. No luck so we used a tennis ball.


42 posted on 06/01/2014 8:02:38 PM PDT by SkyDancer (If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers you are misinformed)
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Please Contribute Today!
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43 posted on 06/01/2014 8:11:35 PM PDT by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
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To: SkyDancer

We’d cut a pimple ball in 1/2 and play baseball in the street. It was tough to hit and didn’t break many windows either probably because it was so hard to hit.


44 posted on 06/01/2014 8:16:13 PM PDT by Undecided 2012
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To: Undecided 2012
Like this?

 photo pimple_ball1_zps59d5e18c.jpg

Then of course there was the wiffle ball you couldn't smack twenty feet. But my g'pa showed what happens when you hit a golf ball with a stick. Whoo hoo!

45 posted on 06/01/2014 8:21:39 PM PDT by SkyDancer (If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers you are misinformed)
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To: TADSLOS

>>> Backyard tackle football, too.<<<

Which sometimes devolved into smear the queer.

Good times.


46 posted on 06/01/2014 8:28:23 PM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: SkyDancer

There are no girls in those pictures!!!! LOL! We played with the boys.

I don’t know if it still is being played the way we did, I left Brooklyn in ‘82. I do remember seeing a bunch of kids with a football in the street one weekend I was visiting back home in ‘85 or ‘86.

I was back there last September and took my almost 16yo daughter through my old neighborhood - didn’t see a single kid playing in any of the streets where we always played. I was sad to see the basketball courts/outside gym of my Catholic elementary school was a parking lot.


47 posted on 06/01/2014 8:30:10 PM PDT by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: SkyDancer

dude hitting a golf ball in the neighborhood would be big trouble.


48 posted on 06/01/2014 8:35:58 PM PDT by Undecided 2012
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To: Gabz
Thomas Wolfe wrote "You can never go home again" - my g'dad did once and he regretted it. He wanted to remember it the way it was. As for girls, well, there is this:

 photo tumblr_mpi8j6esEl1rl5twmo1_500_zps6eadc5a6.jpg

49 posted on 06/01/2014 8:36:38 PM PDT by SkyDancer (If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers you are misinformed)
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To: Undecided 2012

Yep.


50 posted on 06/01/2014 8:37:28 PM PDT by SkyDancer (If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers you are misinformed)
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