This post inspired by One Word Sunday
Throughout the ages…
Birthday parties for 5 year olds.
Pointy hats, drinks and treats.
Excitement…tinged with more than a bit of chaos.
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.
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.
Cee’s Challenge topic this week is Bicycles, Tricycles, Motorcycles, Wagons
My first 2 wheel bicycle was a pink Schwinn.
Zooming down our neighborhood street – with my sister in hot pursuit on her tricycle – was a common occurrence.
As the older sister, I was honor bound to win the race…training wheels and all.
Everyone has one. Whether they choose to admit it, announce it or celebrate it.
When you’re a little kid – and your parents are into the celebrating part – you might get a party. And then…decades later…if you are really lucky, you will unearth old faded polaroid black and white party photos – of yourself plus those who attended your 5th birthday party. In my case it included my brother and sister and random neighborhood kids. Former neighborhood kids as well. Family friend kids from out of town. Five year olds don’t often take kindly to standing still for very long (Polaroids took several minutes each). Never mind smiling on cue.
Being corralled on a tiny front porch with a latched gate at least kept everyone in one location. I do wonder if this was before or after the cake….
Try as I might, I can’t recall the names of most of these party guests. Besides my brother and sister (who, despite the ever present fact that I was the oldest, got invited to my parties for years…thanks to my mother-the-only-child), I do remember Joanne, the girl with the coat on. She lived down the street and whatever the weather (this was in May), she always wore a coat. Fun fact.
One other thing.
Seeing traces of my kids in my 5 year old face?