Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 12

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 12

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post was published February 12, 2019 as an entry for Irene Waters’ “Times Past” Challenge. I always enjoyed participating in these “look back” challenges, as they fit right in with my diary 2.0 theme. With this one in particular, I am struck by how “tales of fear” from parent to child have changed over the years. Now there’s a virus added to the ever growing list.

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Tales of Terror: Times Past

Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for February is: Tales of Terror

Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. 

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jungle gym
on top of the world circa 1962

As a baby boomer growing up in the USA suburbs, I basically roamed the tree lined streets of my working class neighborhood. On foot. On my bike. On my skateboard. On roller skates. I specifically remember the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 11. There were woods to explore at one end of the street before it curved uphill to circle around to the next block. Houses lined up close together and near to the street.

My mother issued two clear directives to keep me safe:

 Don’t take candy from strangers.

This was in the context of a stranger driving around the block, who might stop, open the door and try to lure me into his car with a Nestle’s Crunch. I would then never be seen again. And terrible things would happen…which were never spelled out in any detail, but an implied tale of terror just the same.

I will admit I considered possibly grabbing the candy and making a run for it. However the opportunity never presented itself.

Being the immortal child that I was, I was unafraid to ride my bike for hours at a time…for long distances that perhaps would have been prohibited if I had advertised my adventures. Which I didn’t.

A favorite trip: to “the little store” on the other side of town…saved my allowance and bought my own candy. Smarties, Mary Janes, Mounds, tiny wax bottles (remember those? argh), button candy, Bazooka Bubble Gum. No strangers needed. Sometimes I let my younger sister tag along, swearing her to secrecy.

Interesting side note: when we first moved there, my sister was 3 years old. One day she packed a lunchbox with napkins, hopped on her tricycle and took off…without telling anyone. Her destination: where we used to live…a long car ride away. A dozen houses later – almost a quarter mile – she arrived at the far end of our road, about to pedal down the cross street. A dangerous intersection at the crest of a hill. The neighbor on the corner stopped her in time and called the police.

So my sister got a ride in a police car…which is where she was eventually spotted by my frantic mother. Who had grabbed me and my infant brother and probably went looking for strangers with candy. An actual tale of terror thankfully averted.

Don’t go near Tony M.

Tony was a mentally challenged teenager who lived a couple of blocks away. At least I think he was a teenager…to my young eyes he could have been in his twenties. He lived with his parents and sometimes wandered around looking somewhat disheveled.  It was never explained to me what he might do. Or say. But the look in my mother’s eyes spoke fear. My questions about why went unanswered. I rarely saw him, but when I did he mostly looked lonely and sad.  I wonder what happened to him.

554 calvin 1958030
Family gathered safely on the front porch – 1958

15 thoughts on “Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 12

  1. Your sister was very adventurous. Your house looked a lot like mine back in the day when I was 10.

    It’s interesting to me how our parents just told us what we could and couldn’t do and left us to it. That’s not the world of today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that was my sister’s one and only adventure, but it certainly became part of family lore (for better or worse). 🙂

      Yes, I agree, those were different times. Outside play was totally unsupervised and I thrived in that setting. Not available to kids in today’s world much at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope. I feel sorry for the kids up the alley and also somewhat burdened that for them to leave their yard, they have to have an adult with them and that adult has proven to be me. I don’t want the job for many reasons, not wanting to be responsible in case they get hurt for one, but also because I believe kids need to be FREEEEEEE! My stepsons (now in their 40s) didn’t know what it meant to take off on their bikes, either. I had to go with them. It all seems wrong to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It seems totally wrong to me too – to miss experiencing that kind of freedom when young. I look back and marvel at how much it meant to feel that sense of freedom and connection with the outdoors. It was crucial for me personally. A child has a unique window of time for that experience that can’t really be made up for later…in the same way. Your young friends up the alley unfortunately have lots of company.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think it’s a real shame. When I was a kid and an adult (my aunt) wanted to go with us it was a real EVENT. A lot is lost in our world to kids, I think, things they’ll never have like showing a grown up person all their cool discoveries. Everything now seems to trickle from the grown up down or can be interrupted by the grown up. Maybe I’m wrong… I hope so.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think so too. Very sad. I remember there were a few friends of my parents who would make it a point to sit and talk with me and my siblings (during a social event or visit) when we were kids. They’d really listen and seem interested in what we were doing. Sincerely interested. It was very special. I do think there are some kids now who have that kind of experience, but not enough. I know of a few, so I think there’s hope.

        Liked by 1 person

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